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Research Findings Of Parents' Print Literacy Engagement

By Author: carling
Total Articles: 129

A modified print literacy questionnaire developed by Purcell-Gates, Degener, Jacobson, & Soler (2002) was used as the basis for interviews with parents. The items included were those found to be most reliably documented in their study. Parents were asked 26 questions about their print literacy engagement over the last year and the frequency of the engagement and were asked to show or present examples of the types of print literacy materials. There were 17 questions that focused on reading and 9 that focused on writing. A selection of sample questions is listed in Figure 1.

Most of the parents agreed to have the interview audio taped and chose their home as the site for the interview for economic or convenience reasons. Parents were assured that there were no correct responses to the questions. Although most of the parents chose to have the interview conducted in English, 15 migrant parents requested that the interview be conducted in Spanish as they seemed to have limited English language proficiency. Therefore, the questionnaire was translated into Spanish, and a bilingual assistant was employed to conduct those interviews with myself in attendance. Parents were asked to include all print engagement regardless of the language used, and all print engagement over the last year was recorded. In most cases, migrant families claimed to engage in literacy events reported in Spanish.

Migrant families in this study traveled to the Midwest from southern states to work on the crops from spring to early fall (generally from May to September). They often lived in trailer parks at the end of the farmers' land or a short distance away from the farmland in grouped temporary accommodation. Urban and rural families typically lived in small houses or apartments. Some of the homes had displays of print in the common areas (kitchen, living room) where the interviews were conducted, while others had none. Although formal questions about parents' job status were not asked in the interview, many parents stated that they worked in the fields (migrant parents), were unemployed, were working part time, or looking for employment. Many parents stated that the reason they participated in this study was to support their children's literacy development.

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