AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Parent-involvement in children's reading development: Parent and teacher perceptions, and child reading outcomes

by Philippa Jill McDowall

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: parent-involvement; literacy; child development; education; New Zealand
Record ID: 1298218
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4926


The purpose of this PhD research was to investigate dimensions of parent-involvement in children's reading during the first two years at school. Given that the development of reading skills is the key instructional task during this period, the research focused specifically on involvement practices that support children’s acquisition of literacy. A multi-informant and multidimensional research design was used to describe parent and school practices and perceptions of parent-involvement in children's reading in two research projects. The practices used by school principals and teachers to invite parent-involvement may determine whether such collaboration is effective. The first research project involved evaluating, then refining, measures developed to describe the ways used by schools to encourage parent-involvement in children's reading development. Two representative samples of New Zealand primary school principals and teachers of students in their first year of school were then surveyed. These educators were asked to record the strategies used at their schools to encourage parent-involvement in children's reading, and to rate the helpfulness of each practice. Participants’ perceptions of the helpfulness of parent-involvement practices were strongly associated with their reports of the actual practices used. Educators' responses were then used to develop constructs to describe different ways that schools communicate with parents, encourage parent-involvement in children's reading at school and at home, and communicate with parents. The next part of this project investigated whether educators’ perceptions about parent-involvement in children's reading development were associated with school characteristics, including school community resources, school population, ethnic composition of students, community size, and educational region of New Zealand. The main findings were that educators in schools serving more affluent communities believed more strongly in the ability of the parent community to contribute to students’ learning, and principals’ from smaller schools were more positive about the helpfulness of communicating with all families from the school community. This study concluded that educators’ perceptions about parent-involvement in children's reading development are many and varied, and in the first 2 years of primary school may have only modest associations with school characteristics. The second research project was a longitudinal investigation of the associations between parent-reported involvement in children’s schooling, family and parent demographics, teachers' reports of their practices to encourage in children's reading, and children’s literacy development during their first 2 years at school. Four schools were included in the sample, and school principals, teachers, parents, and children from the school community were invited to participate. The reported practices and perspectives of teachers in this sample varied within schools, but were similar overall to those of their peers in a National survey.…