Breaking the barrier of blame

Parents as literacy brokers

Authored by: Victoria Purcell-Gates

The Routledge International Handbook of early Literacy Education

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138787889
eBook ISBN: 9781315766027
Adobe ISBN: 9781317659204


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Central to this chapter is the concept of home literacy culture, which I developed to describe the patterned ways that reading and writing are used within homes as literacy mediates social lives. I illustrate the different ways that home literacy cultures vary across different social, linguistic and geographical groups, and review the research that supports the argument that parents can and do serve as brokers – cultural brokers as well and linguistic brokers – for their young children as they develop early literacy concepts and skills in families and homes, outside of formal instruction. I cover the research on parent–child book reading through this cultural lens and broaden it to include the many additional and different literacy practices to be found in homes and families. The chapter concludes with descriptions of research that is beginning to document the positive effects of family literacy programmes that work dialogically with parents to embed early literacy learning activities within everyday (i.e. culturally congruent) family practices.

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