Assessing Early Childhood Classrooms

Authored by: Jessica E. Vick Whittaker , Robert C. Pianta

Handbook of Family Literacy

Print publication date:  April  2012
Online publication date:  August  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415884570
eBook ISBN: 9780203841495
Adobe ISBN: 9781136899126

10.4324/9780203841495.ch26

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Abstract

Family literacy programs are based on theories positing that children’s early learning is supported through interactions with adults—parents in the home environment and caregivers in early learning environments. Most family literacy programs include the provision of services for parents to learn about how to support children’s language and literacy through effective parenting and structured literacy interactions, as well as an early childhood education component that provides supports directly to children (St. Pierre, Ricciuti, & Rimdzius, 2005). Evaluations of family literacy programs show only few, scattered effects on child outcomes (e.g., St. Pierre et al., 2003). In order to better understand why these programs do not have greater impacts for young children, it is imperative that evaluators broaden their focus to include measures of not only the literacy skills the program is targeting, but also the processes that are hypothesized to lead to those outcomes. Given their centrality in fostering children’s language and literacy development, it is critical that evaluations of family literacy programs include assessments of the quality of adult-child relationships.

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