A Qualitative Study of Teacher Practices and Family Perspectives on Incorporating Funds of Knowledge in Early Literacy Learning.




O‟Looney, Jennifer A. Magaha

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This study examined teacher and parent perspectives of early literacy learning to begin to document practices that are used to teach literacy to culturally and/or economically diverse kindergarten students. Through individual interviews with kindergarten teachers and classroom visits to collect observational and artifact data, teachers were provided with an opportunity to articulate practices they believe have been effective in teaching early literacy skills. Using a voluntary written survey, the parents of children in the teacher participants‟ classes were provided an opportunity to share their perspectives on early literacy learning, their connections with the school and teacher, and what home activities they believe have been and are most important to prepare their children for school-based literacy learning. The data were analyzed using a constant comparative method and grounded theory. Findings showed that both the teacher and parent viii participants‟ ideas about the early literacy skills children needed to be successful in kindergarten were aligned. Teachers reported using both informal and formal assessment measures to determine a baseline of student knowledge and to measure student progress. The teachers also described engaging in a number of strategies, including literacy, oral language, and multimodal, to allow students to use their funds of knowledge to make connections to the school curriculum. Parents reported their involvement in their children‟s education, including documenting a number of strategies that they used at home to build early literacy skills. Implications of the study for research and practice were also provided. These included the possibility of using dramatic play as a curriculum strategy to gain information regarding students‟ funds of knowledge and the need for greater accessibility to quality preschool programs for all young children.



Early Literacy, Funds of Knowledge, School Readiness, Literacy Learning, Family literacy, Culturally-Responsive Teaching