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Snapshots : three children, three families - literacy at home, in the community and at school Frett, Marsha Diana 2008

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SNAPSHOTS: THREE CHILDREN, THREE FAMILIES - LITERACY AT HOME, IN THE COMMUNITY A1D AT SCHOOL by MARSHA DIANA FRETT B.S., Southern Connecticut State University, 2001 A THESIS SUBMITTED iN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Language and Literacy Education) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) September 2008 © Marsha Diana Frett, 2008 Abstract The purpose of this study was to document the literacy practices of three 5-7 year old boys who were in the formative stage of formal schooling. The study took place in the British Virgin Islands, a group of 60 or so islands, cays, and islets located in the Caribbean. I examined these boys’ literacy practices in three contexts — home, community and school. Through observations, interviews and samplings of conversations at home, I found that school literacy dominated all three contexts and was used similarly in all three contexts. Additionally, parents were consciously reinforcing school literacy in the home. The three boys were reading, writing, speaking and listening at their expected grade level and appeared to be steadily progressing. Religion appeared to play an important role in supporting the children’s literacy development, consistent with the country’s Christian heritage. As previous research in other contexts (e.g., Marsh, 2003) has shown, home and community literacy practices remain largely unrecognized and untapped at school. 11 Table of Contents Abstract.ii Table of Contents iii List of Tables v List of Figures vi Acknowledgements vii Chapter 1 Introduction 1 Background 1 Purpose and Research Questions 1 Chapter 2 Review of Literature 3 Theoretical Perspectives 3 Related Literature 9 Chapter 3 Method 26 Participants 26 Context 28 Recruitment 30 Data Analysis 43 Chapter 4 Results 44 Aidan 44 Braden 60 Caleb 69 Aiclan, Braden, Caleb: Similarities and Differences 73 Chapter 5 Conclusion 93 Discussion 93 Summary 101 Significance 101 Implications 103 Future Research 104 111 Bibliography .105 Appendices 111 Appendix A 111 Appendix B 112 Appendix C 113 AppendixD 114 Appendix E 116 Appendix F 117 Appendix G 118 Appendix H 119 Appendix I 123 Appendix J 124 Appendix K 125 Appendix L 127 AppendixM 129 iv List of Tables Table 1 Ms. George’s Read/Write List 44 Table 2 Aidan’s interactions across contexts 49 Table 3 Roberts’s Read/Write List 61 Table 4 Braden’s interactions across contexts 63 Table 5 Mrs. Smith’s Read/Write List 70 Table 6 Caleb’s interactions across contexts 71 Table 7 Children’s literacy artefacts in the home 75 Table 8 Literacy artefacts in Aidan’s classroom 78 Table 9 Literacy artefacts in Braden’ s classroom 78 Table 10 Environmental print list 79 Table 11 Environmental print II 80 Table 12 Literacy artefacts in Braden’s church 82 V List of Figures Figure 1 Spelling Test 46 Figure 2 Caleb’s writing in the home 77 Figure 3 Literacy through the eyes of the boys 81 vi Acknowledgements First, I offer my profound gratitude to my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for without him none of this would be possible. Next, to my mother, siblings, nephews, my love and immediate family and friends; thank you for your verbal, emotional and financial support during this process. My enduring gratitude goes out my advisor, Dr. Jim Anderson who encouraged me to stick with my work in this field, and also to Dr. Kenneth Reeder and Dr. Margot Filipenko. To those who made it possible for me to attend UBC and complete my thesis, my heartfelt thank you: CBIE Ministry of Education and Culture Department of Education and Culture Dr. James Rhodes Mrs. Dahlia Henry Bishop John I. Cline Hon. J. Alvin Christopher Principals, teachers, parents, family ofland my three focal participants Professors, staff, students and visiting scholars of LLED. vii Introduction Background “I HATE READiNG,” “THIS IS SOO BORING,” and “AHH, WRITING AGAIN.” These were responses thrown at me daily as a teacher in my high school English class, all before the lessons began. This open disdain for all things pertaining to literacy caused me to wonder if these sentiments were particular only with English class or were they school wide. In speaking with colleagues outside of the English department, I found that they too frequently heard many of the same comments. That was astonishing and disheartening because literacy is important in the life of every individual, young and old, and it permeates our lives from birth to death. Interestingly, the majority of students expressing their distaste for literacy activities were males. Questions then formed in my head and took up permanent residency: “Did these boys at 11, 12 or older wake up one morning with an adverse reaction to reading and writing, or did it occur sometime earlier in their lives? What were the circumstances that surrounded this apparent disengagement with literacy? What context should be examined for the answers to these questions-home, school, or community? Should these three contexts be examined in concert with each other for possible answers? Most importantly, how would I find the answers to these questions?” Purpose and Research Questions The purpose of this thesis was to document the literacy practices of young boys, who would later attend high school, in an attempt to understand possible roots of the apparent antipathy to literacy that many of the male students I worked with displayed in the English classroom. This study documented in an exploratory, case study approach, 1 family and community literacy practices as well as school-based literacy practices of three boys aged 5-7, in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). This research study was guided by the following questions: (1) How do family members (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins) caregivers and teachers of these three boys, in this community define and use literacy? (2) What literacy activities do these 5-7 year old male children engage in at home, in the community and at school? With whom, when, how and for what purpose do these activities occur? (3) What are the similarities and differences among these children’s literacy practices at home, in the community and at school? This thesis is organized as follows. In Chapter 2, several theoretical perspectives that inform this study, along with a review of relevant literature are examined. An in depth description of the methodology employed is presented in Chapter 3. Results of this study are presented in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, the findings are discussed and suggested implications for practice and for further research are presented. 2 Review of Literature Theoretical Perspectives Socio-cultural Theory. Several intersecting theoretical perspectives informed this study, including socio-cultural theory, literacy as social practices and emergent literacy. Socio-cultural theory is based itself on the premise that “higher functions originate as actual relations between human individuals” (Vygotsky, 1978, p.57). Children develop cognitively and communicatively when they interact with others in social situations. Those types of interactions usually occur in the home, school and the community. Children learn and develop as they are held, fed and talked to, from birth. This early socialization is the catalyst that produces literate beings; they are products of their environment. Vygotsky (1978) stated that a child’s development occurs socially, then reoccurs individually because of higher order functions evolving from interactions with others (e.g., Wertsch & Rogoff, 1984). To attain that higher intellectual level, social interaction is integral propelling a child to his/her zone of proximal development (ZPD). A child’s zone of proximal development is conceptualized as learning that is not too hard or not too easy, but for which support from a significantother is important. As Vygotsky wrote “learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers” (p. 90). It is through these social situations with family and others that the ability to understand is cultivated. For example, children learn early in life through tone of voice and actions when to cease behaviour or when they need to explain themselves. 3 Comprehension, a higher order functioning skill, involves thinking, knowledge, teaching and experience, which depend heavily “on knowledge — both about the world at large and the worlds of language and print” (Fielding & Pearson, 1994, p. 62). By definition, socio-cultural theory supports the notion that a child needs to be an active participant in his or her learning, as s/he learns analytical and inferential thinking through interactions in his or her natural environment. For example, my 2-year-old nephew knew when to correct his behaviour and how to behave at church simply by his name being called and through attending church before he was 1-year-old. Jerome Bruner (1985) stated: Any model of learning is right or wrong for a given set of stipulated conditions, including the nature of the tasks one has in mind, the form of the intention one creates in the learner, the generality or specificity of the learning to be accomplished, and the semiotics of the learning situation itself — what it means to the learner. (p. 5) As children’s learning is supported or “scaffolded,” they learn to reach a point where cultural tools or ways of attending, questioning, explaining and so forth are internalized. Parents provide their young child(ren) with an academic edge when they discuss things the child sees, hears and does while in the car, grocery store, church and so forth. Those cultural tools (cultural, historically and institutionally situated) are synonymous with “linguistic and cultural-historical repertoires” that Rogoff defined as “ways of engaging in activities stemming from observing and otherwise participating in cultural practices” (as cited in Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003, p. 22). Development is contextually 4 situated, and a researcher can only understand it in the context in which it appears. According to Salijo (as cited in Hatano & Wertsch, 2001): (a) Interaction with other people and artefacts plays an important role in learning and in the development of the mind, and (b) what occurs in the microenvironment in which the individual learning is affected by larger contexts, both at community and global levels. (p. 81) Social interaction not only reflects the “intellectual tools and skills of the culture” but the child’s ability to excel in other contexts outside the home because of what is being learned in the home (Rogoff, 1984, p. 4). Duke and Pearson (2002) stated that in order for a child to perform well in reading comprehension exercises in school, s/he must possess out of school experiences. Those out of school experiences convert to in school comprehension skills. For example, if a child from the Caribbean took a trip to the United States by airplane, when that child returned home, s/he now had an experience of travel that theoretically will enable him to comprehend and produce texts about travelling with greater facility than a child who did not have that experience. Prior to that, Reeder and Shapiro (1996) in their chapter titled “A Portrait of the Literate Apprentice” presented Sally a 3 Y2 year old and her interactions within her home. Sally’s home was filled with literacy materials she used and interacted with on a daily basis by herself or with her parents and older brother. This literate socialization these children experienced showed that when tested “the extent of experiences our children have with literacy and the understandings they acquire make a difference in their language development, a difference that may enhance the likelihood of success with school tasks in general” (p. 126). Children have been taught many concepts in the home and educators need to be 5 aware of those teachings, so that learning can be built upon them. Socio-cultural theory suggests that families should be viewed from the context in which they are situated and not from a deficit stance (Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003). That is, families should not be viewed as deficient but different in terms of the learning opportunities they provided for their children. Literacy as Social Practices. Social practices “are particular ways of doing and being as well as particular ways of acting and talking that are rooted in life experiences” (, March 23, 2004). In this context, literacy as social practices is defined as a community’s (and family’s) ways of engaging in literacy, based on their identity and histories. A literacy-as-social-practices perspective suggests that in order to understand a family’s literacy use, one need to “capture” families as they engage in daily literacy events determined or defined by their social situation. Barton and Hamilton (1998) stated that “the notion of literacy practices offers a powerful way of conceptualising the link between the activities of reading and writing and the social structures in which they are embedded and which they help shape” (p. 7). Reading and writing in each family is embedded in daily life and adjusts and changes when life circumstances changes. For example, a non-secular family who “found” religion would engage in new activities different from those of the past. Where reading was fictional novels, it may change to Christian themed books. Families are diverse and people differ, so their life and literacy experiences, as well as their access to literacy are different. This means that groups and individuals possess and access different “literacies” depending upon their ethnic/cultural identity, social status, age and so forth. They engage in literacy activities for different reasons and purposes. For 6 instance, a family of five living in the British Virgin Islands on a $15,000 per annum salary would probably have different priorities from one living on a $50,000 per annum salary. Street (1984) explained that literacy is not defined by one single feature; it is social, therefore multifaceted. Reading, writing, speaking and listening are facets of literacy that change depending on the context in which they appear. According to Gee (1989), children learn different “discourses” based on the social situation they are a part of. Gee (1989) further stated that discourses are “a sort of identity kit which comes complete with the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk, and often write, so as to take on particular social roles that others will recognize” for each person (p. 127). Children learn communication skills as a result of the social situations they are a part of at home, out in the community and at school. They then emulate these learned literacy practices while at home, in the community and at school. Children live what they learn and learn what they live, and what they learn is filtered through family practices. As Barton and Hamilton (1998) stated, “literacy practices are culturally constructed, and, like all cultural phenomena, they have their roots in the past. ... literacy practices are fluid, dynamic and changing as the lives and society of which they are a part” (p. 13). As Clay (1993) put it, the meanings ascribed to literacy, its functions and purposes, and how it is learned and taught vary across socio-cultural groups. Emergent Literacy. Smith (1989) defined emergent literacy as “a child’s early experience with reading and writing, experiences that begin to shape the child’s view of print” in the home and later outside the home (p. 528). It refers to the literacy that a young child learns before preschool or elementary school and this literacy knowledge 7 makes the transition to school literacy easier. As Sulzby and Teale (1991) stated, “reading and writing develop concurrently and are interrelated in young children, fostered by experiences that permit and promote meaningful interaction with oral and written language” (cited in Gunn, Simmons & Kameenui, 1998, P. 1). Previous research showed that children develop considerable knowledge outside of school as they watch TV, listen to the radio, play with other children and talk to adults (e.g., Clay, 1967; Dickinson & Tabors, 1991; Hiebert, 1988). Purcell-Gates (1996) sought to “further explore the relationship between home/community learning and school learning by young children learning to read and write” (p. 308). She documented the home literacy experiences and the early literacy knowledge of children in 20 low SES families in an urban area of the U.S. She found that the texts that surrounded these children came from the families’ daily routines that helped adults and children accomplish things (Heath, 1983; Hiebert, 1988; Morrow, Paratore, & Tracey, 1995; Purcell-Gates, 1996; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988). Purcell-Gates found children’s emerging literacy knowledge to be a good predictor of literacy success in school. Purcell-Gates (1996) stated, “by living and participation in an environment in which others use print for various purposes, children infer the semiotic and functional nature of written language” (p. 426). By living in high literate homes, children were privileged and once they entered school and began using school literacy they tended to be more advanced in their literacy development than their counterparts who had little to no exposure to literacy in the home. Britto (2001) investigated, “the association between family literacy environments and the emerging literacy skills of low-income, African-American preschool and school-aged children” (p. 346). The sample consisted of 126 children of mainly single mothers and their young 8 children. Britto concluded that “in terms of children’s emerging literacy, several dimensions of the family literacy environment come together to weave a complex tapestry of activities, experiences, and opportunities to promote the acquisition of these skills” (p. 347). Smith (1989) concluded that surrounding, “young children with books and with storytelling” in the home privileged them in learning conventional literacy at school (p. 528). Rather than direct teaching Smith suggested allowing children to experiment and to represent and construct meaning through different modalities (e.g. Kendrick, Jones, Mutonyi & Norton, 2006). Through emergent literacy, children develop a sense of self-sufficiency and pride and internalized tools which can be used to learn conventional literacy at school. These perspectives - socio-cultural theory, literacy as social practices and emergent literacy - suggest that children learn language and literacy from an early age as a result of interactions with members of their family and out in the community. Family members initially socialize them into their society. Children are transmitters of their family’s identity, therefore, literate apprentices of their ethnic/cultural group, which is displayed through the literacy practices that they participate in daily. These practices are taken up and displayed by children. Families use and take up literacy in ways that differ from group to group. Therefore, when conducting research with families it is important to capture a portrait of each family as a socially situated entity. Having outlined the theoretical perspectives that informed this study, I now turn to research that documented literacy practices of families. Related Literature Marrow, Paratore and Tracey (1995) defined family literacy in the following way: 9 The ways parents, children and extended family members use literacy at home and in their community. Sometimes, family literacy occurs naturally during the routines of daily living and helps adults and children “get things done.” These events might include using drawings or writing to share ideas; composing notes or letters to communicate messages; making lists; reading and following directions; or sharing stories and ideas through conversation, reading and writing. Family literacy activities may also reflect the ethnic, racial or cultural heritage of the families involved. (p. 3) Based on her work with middle class families in the United States, Taylor (1983) stated, “literacy is a part of the very fabric of family life” (p. 87). She also suggested that literacy can be central to a child’s “personal, familial, and social histories” (p. 98). As Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988) proposed: Ours is a literate society, and at some level, by studying the manner in which print is used by ordinary people in both ordinary and critical situations, it is possible to gain a view of the workings of a social system and of the ways in which it can impede, constrain, or enhance our everyday lives. (p. 199) Leichter (1982), in her critique of family literacy studies, stated families were complex and in order to comprehend that complexity, information about literacy must come from the families while it occurred. It should be collected while literacy events happen, between or among children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so forth. She admonished researchers to undertake research in such a way as to allow literacy to be judged on its own merit or in “family terms” and not be compared, contrasted or overlooked because of what was done in schools (p. 38). She cautioned researchers to 10 “remain aware that they can rarely enter a family beyond certain layers of communication and awareness,” but in order to learn of family’s complexities, true ethnographies have been the best way to learn (p. 47). Families are often described as a child’s first teacher: “The family provides the most essential educational environment for children” (Delgado Gaitan, 1990, p. 58). To allow for an effective and efficient reciprocal transition, between home and school learning, schools must learn, recognize, and value “children’s home culture in its curriculum and its communication with parents” (Delgado-Gaitan, 1990, p. 60). She elaborated: First, all families have strengths. 2) Literacy is a process not only of building skill but also of developing social competence through interaction with text in context with others. 3) Social interaction is a vehicle in helping to understand the socio cultural learning process. 4) Changes in the home pertaining to schooling cannot be made without the school’s cooperation. (pp. 60-6 1) A number of approaches have been used to document family literacy practices. For example, Taylor (1983), Heath (1983), Wells (1986), Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988) and Gregory (2001) employed ethnographic approaches while Bissex (1980), Noll (1998) and McTavish (2007) conducted case studies to document family literacy practices and traditions in their natural environment on families terms. Taylor (1983), intrigued with family and literacy as a teacher in London and later as a doctorial student in the US, sought to “develop systematic ways of looking at reading and writing as activities that have consequences in and are affected by family life” (p. xii). As a result, she studied the literacy practices of six white, middle class families (Dawsons, Lindells, Farleys, Simms, Langdons and Kings) in a New York suburban town 11 for three years. The main criterion for participation in the study was that parents needed to indicate that a single young child was learning to read and write successfully. It was also important for Taylor that the chosen families interacted socially on a regular basis because she viewed literacy as a social process. This would help researchers understand literacy as a social practice because it showed how the families’ past literacy experiences and living situations helped to explain their present literacy practices. Taylor coined the term family literacy to describe the study. Documentation of these families’ literacy practices was done employing direct observations, conversations, audiotape and photographs. Taylor found reading and writing were used on one level to preserve literacy traditions of the family and on another level to create new traditions. This was evident when parents read to their children and the book triggered a personal memory of being read to. For the most part, transmittal of literate traditions was of a spontaneous nature; however, if parents sought to change certain traditions, it was done deliberately. For example, Laura Lindell naturally read to her children because her father read to her, but Barry’s (her husband) father never read to him. However, being educated on the importance of reading to children coupled with his wife’s literacy experiences, he made reading to his children a priority. Family literacy according to Taylor can be viewed “as a filter through which the social organization of the everyday lives of the families is accompanied” (p. 26). Parents’ reading and writing were deeply rooted in their daily role as adults. Likewise, in the homes, parents read and/or wrote newspapers, taxes forms, junk mail, letters and so forth. However, parents did not view these instances as lessons of reading and writing for their children. Although these instances of modelled literate behaviours were unrecognized, reading and writing were found to be integral to the daily 12 lives of children, both in and out of school. Likewise, writing was used among siblings and friends since “it was one means of forging links and of effecting the social organization of group activities” (p. 39). For example, children passed notes to each other. These children were using print to relay messages to each other or to express emotions, and they also used print in a business sense. They created beauty salons, restaurants and a water stand; they organized “their environment through the use of print” (p. 54). Parents stated that they were not teachers of reading and writing to their children and they were unaware of the daily lessons being transmitted. Taylor found that families’ literacy practices changed to accommodate the day-to-day experiences of all family members as a social process organizer. Taylor concluded that researchers need to focus “on the ways children, growing up in a variety of social settings, initiate, absorb, and synthesize the educational influences in their environment” (p. 114). Heath (1983) studied the literacy practices of three South-Eastern communities in the U.S. The Townspeople was comprised of black and white middle class families, Roadville was a white, working class community of Appalachian origin and Trackton was a black mill community of recent rural origin. She employed an ethnographic historical stance and documented how culture determined children’s language and behaviour. She found the three communities differed considerably in the way language was used, but literacy was present and prominent in all of them. Trackton children were explorers of their community and were taught to jump right into a conversation, but their dialogue had to be creative and strong to keep the attention of others. Through examination, listening and trying, Trackton children learned how to speak and read in their community. Parents did not “consciously model or demonstrate reading and writing 13 behaviours,” but print was present in the home and community (p. 190). Accuracy was highly emphasized when children read anything aloud. No books were purchased for Trackton children by their parents. However, reading was classified as a “social activity” and talk was central to their literate traditions (p. 196). Children were expected to be a part of these reading-speaking events. They were expected to read in groups, and if they did not, they were viewed as social misfits. Since reading was such a socially situated process, Trackton children learned to “read to learn” before they went to school so that they would “learn to read” (p. 191). In order to know what print said, Trackton children had to read the material themselves (without assistance from an adult). For example, the children were sent to the store from the time they could walk and were expected to purchase goods listed. They were expected to read the prices and ensure they bought the listed goods at the same price or lower. In order to share the information from print, Trackton children had to read to understand so they could share that knowledge with others. As young children, they converted the print they saw in the community to symbols in their heads; they used characteristics of print to help them distinguish between the different types of writing they saw. Writing to them carried “messages with varying internal structures, purposes, and uses” (p. 195). Roadville children, on the other hand, were reserved and learned that they must speak only when spoken to. They learned through scripted interactions or “orchestrated preparations” with their parents (p. 346). For example, Roadville children were not allowed to make-up stories and the stories told must represent a bedtime story pattern. Roadville’s literate traditions were private and limiting. Members used writing as written conversations to stay in touch with others. Letters were written with the writer 14 performing the function as both questioner and answerer; “how are you,” “fine I hope” (p. 213). Then, the writer continued the letters in a one-sided conversation as they chose to discuss acceptable, safe topics like family life, neighbours and so forth. Children were not encouraged to experiment with writing at home, although, if they were asked by a teacher to write a story, they were free to be as creative as they wanted in their writing. On the other hand, reading was deemed a high priority of this group and was evident by the number of reading materials present throughout the homes and community. Children here placed a high value on reading because of their parents. Talk was central to a child’s development with the Townspeople where children were treated as conversationalists from the time they were in the womb. This interaction between children and mothers, along with a highly physical literate environment with a wide array and large number of reading and writing artefacts were expected to produce readers who were interested and educated. Additionally, reading and writing were modelled and their importance reinforced by parents and children learned from this modelling. Heath commented, “the modes of speaking, reading, and writing are tightly interrelated as children learn to recognize, link, talk about, and ‘read’ ... and to separate this [imaginative] knowledge from the real-world knowledge” (p. 256). Children in all three communities learned literate behaviours, although differently. Literate behaviours were acquired in a social setting among family members and reinforced by the community. Although literate by their community’s standards, each group of children fared differently when they entered and continued school. The Townspeople children did the best because their home literacy closely resembled literacy in school, while Trackton children fared the worst of the three since their home/community literacy differed 15 dramatically from school. Heath concluded that literacy was socio-culturally situated in these individual comnnmities and families and schools needed to recognize and build on the knowledge that children took to school from their homes and communities. She argued that, through learning about these communities, teachers learned to teach students to switch effectively between their social and cognitive systems while at school. In a classic study, Wells (1986) randomly selected 128 preschoolers in Bristol, England using a Health Department list of a 1,000 children. Of those 128, thirty-two children were chosen for observations, tests, assessments by teachers and interviews with parents, teachers and children from age 15 months until their last year of primary school. Wells sought to document the stages of development of those English speaking British children. The aims of the project were to: (1) Document how children initially crack the language code. (2) Determine whether parents should deliberately set out to teach language, or whether their children would learn to talk whether the parents did or did not. (3) Describe the possible difference in linguistic development and consequences for school progress. (4) Explore what could be done at school to extend children’s command of language to include the written. (pp. x — xii) Wells proposed that in order “to understand children’s language development ..., we need to study it in its content of interaction of people talking to each other as they go about their normal business” (p. 15). Furthermore, he argued, the study of language acquisition needed to be socially situated within the context of individual families, so that language and literacy development of individual family members be understood. Wells 16 measured children’s literacy development using Marie Clay’s literacy test (1972), which measured concepts of print, book knowledge and alphabet knowledge. Wells theorized that parents who displayed a high interest in literacy and owned a large number of books were more likely to have children who would do well on school literacy assessments and tasks. Likewise, children who had an interest in literacy, owned a large number of books, were interested in written language and were captivated with literacy should also perform well on school literacy measures. Wells found that children who spoke about what was seen while looking at a picture book, listened to a story, drew and coloured, and wrote tended to score higher on the Clay test than children who did not exhibit these behaviours. Of the four variables, listening to stories was the activity that correlated the highest with test scores. Wells hypothesized that by listening to books being read to them, children experienced meaning behind written language, as well as the rhythm and structures present in stories, both written and oral. Children’s background knowledge and vocabulary were also developed through shared stories. Stories told orally to children were comparable to conversations as they provided an opportunity for children to interact with and question another person. This differed considerably from a child reading by him/herself, because self reading offered no opportunities to help build or expand on information obtained during book reading. Differentiating between oral and written modes, Wells claimed that speech served to “make the words fit the world” while writing served to “use words to create a world of meaning” (p. 156). Wells concluded that all children need the experience of participating in oral story telling sessions in that, this type of interaction was vital for later school success. 17 Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988) studied the literacy practices of four, black inner-city families living in poverty in a U.S. city for three years. The focal child (a first grader) in each family needed to be classified as successfully learning to read and write in order for the family to be included in the study. The parents involved in the study knew and interacted with each other. Data were gathered through participant observation, recorded conversations, photographs, observations of children at home and at school and a collection of literacy artefacts. In these families, survival and to a degree, optimism dictated their literacy experiences as they interacted almost daily with notices, bills and classified ads. Surrounded by this type of literacy from a young age, children drew, wrote and read without being asked to. Although each family dealt with very difficult living conditions, all four focal children at age 12 excelled in school. The researchers found that these children were constantly surrounded by, and engaged in literacy in their homes and it was “as an integral part of their personal, familial, and social histories” (p. 98). The reverence for knowledge and skills at home that these families held was often overlooked at school, which showed the disconnection between home and school. It was evident in this study that the children suffered from “the fragmentation that takes place as they move from the hopes of their families and the promise of their early years through an educational system that gradually disconnects their lives” (p. 121). Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines concluded that policies needed to be constructed which “enable teachers to create classroom environments in which the nurturing of young children is not separated from their academic instruction” (p. 210). Gregory (2001) studied the “synergy” between siblings over a year period with 46 children in 16 families in two East London, economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods, 18 Spitalfields and St. Georges. Both Spitalfields and St. Georges were comprised mainly of immigrants. Families were selected from one school per town. The Bangladeshi London children in the study attended school in Spitalfields while the Anglo London students attended school in St. Georges. Eight Bangladeshi- and eight Anglo-Londoners participated with each family having a child aged 9, 10 or 11 and at least one younger sibling. Living accommodations in both neighbourhoods were cramped and some children were unable to play in the streets. Data collection consisted of audiotapes, / observations, interviews and collection of artefacts. For both groups of families, Gregory found that older and younger children facilitated each other’s literacy learning and development in a reciprocal manner as they played. Both the Anglo-Londoners and Bangladeshi-Londoners children engaged in reading frequently. Both sibling dyads learned and taught literacy behaviours simultaneously. The Anglo-Londoners reading was embedded in bedtime storybook sharing with the older sibling reading to the younger. The older sibling was developed his/her reading skills by choosing to read a difficult text in a comfortable environment, while the younger sibling learned to listen and respond to a book. On the other hand, the Bangladeshi-Londoners’ reading was embedded in playing school. The older sibling considered herself a teacher and would question the younger sibling on the text which was read Gregory commented: Thus a task ‘taught’ through play, whereby the older child encourages and praises as well as teaches and the younger child nudges the older to think, explain and assist epitomizes what enables both siblings to practice what they have already learned together. (p. 320) 19 The difference found in literacy practices displayed by the two groups of immigrants were a result of cultural identity of the families, the size of the families and the religious and community language classes presented. Gregory’s study showed that children/siblings are viable transmitters of school literacy in the home. Within these sibling dyads, reciprocal learning occurred as questions were asked and answered and behaviours learnt and adjusted, an unconscious transmittal of literacy done through play. On the other hand, parents served as conscious transmitters of family literacy as the children were sent to language classes and Church/Sunday school. Bissex (1980) in the role of parent as researcher documented and analysed her son’s literacy development from age five to seven. Employing a case study design, Bissex observed extensively, took notes and examined Paul’s literacy artefacts such as written messages, banners, notes and so forth. For example, at age 5 Paul delivered a note to his mother using his rubber letter stamps, “RUDF” (are you deaf?), when he was unsuccessful in capturing her attention (p. 3). He created other notes, lists and stories employing his own invented spelling or requesting the spelling of words. Paul’s home was a highly literate environment. Print was everywhere, he was read to and he witnessed his parents reading and writing regularly. He had sets of magnetic, wooden and stamp letters, paper, pencils, crayons and magic markers and he watched Sesame Street. Bissex explained that no formal instruction was given to Paul by his family on letter sounds or letter formations. Paul was an only child and the family lived in the countryside, so he interacted with adults often. Paul used writing for “making and sharing meaning” (p. 107). He engaged in “experimenting and finding things out for himself’ (p. 169). Bissex concluded that although Paul, 20 Was surrounded by many potential influences [hie was in control of his own learning, seeking out certain information and experiences, ignoring or avoiding others; and so, although he was not in control of his own environment, he acted on it. (p. 212) Paul was a product of his environment. Bissex suggested that “rather than generalizations to be ‘applied’ to other children,” her study should be used as “encouragement to look at individuals in the act of learning” (pg. vi). Noll’s (1998) case study of two American Indian adolescents was conducted over a seven-month period both in and out of school employing observation, interviews and examination of literacy artefacts (e.g., school work, personal journals and artwork) and field notes. She employed purposeful sampling and examined the role literacy played in the lives of these two adolescent Indian youths (former students of hers) both in and outside of school. The relationships each adolescent encountered were particularly rife with struggles as they represented two cultures, Native American and White. Daniel, 13 years old, lived with his Sioux father, Caucasian mother and two siblings. Theirs was a close family, who shared and laughed with each other daily. His Indian pride was evident in his appearance and in the activities in which he participated. However, this pride at school subjected him to verbal and physical abuse. Being half-white did not alleviate this abuse. Zonnie, 14 years old, lived with her full-blooded Indian parents and three brothers. These two youths’ cultures (American Indian, school and mainstream) were reflected in their written and oral language activities such as art, dance and music. Daniel and Zonnie were able to “explore and express their sense of identity and they also examined critical issues related to prejudice, racism, and discrimination” through literacy 21 (p. 226). Both youths’ identities were tied to reading, writing, dance and music. Daniel, as a drummer and dancer with his Indian group, was influenced by the music of Elvis Presley, which propelled him to teach himself to play the saxophone. Also a writer, his stories incorporated a main character (Benny B) who resembled Elvis. Zonnie was a poet, who not only created poems but melodies influenced by country music, that allowed her to “describe herself, her relationships with others, and her views of the world” (p. 227). Literacy played a major role in their lives and identity. As such, Daniel fashioned himself becoming a children’s author and illustrator, while Zonnie aspired to be a songwriter and singer. Instances of prejudice, racism and discrimination experienced by Daniel and Zonnie were evident in their writing. Daniel used his character Benny B and wrote about a personal discriminatory incident and used his prose writing skills to bring about an amicable resolution, unlike the actual incident. Zonnie, whose father was incarcerated for 12 years, wrote of his arrest and subsequent imprisonment in her journal. The home and community supported the literacy development of these youths, encouraged them through praise and being an energetic audience for their cultural pride and school success. However, these strengths were not fully drawn on in school. Instead, school literacy tended to focus on monocultural, Eurocentric skills. Noll suggested a need for a broader literacy definition and an integration of school and home literacy, so that the curriculum would tap individuals’ “funds of knowledge” (Mo!!, Amanti, Neff & Gonzalez, 1992). Noll concluded: By validating expression of cultural knowledge, perspectives, and persona! experiences through language, art, dance, and music, the literacy strengths that 22 exist in the lives of Indian youth outside of school might be more clearly revealed within school. (p. 230) McTavish’s (2007) case study examined the relationship within a working class family; the way a young girl’s (Katie) literacy was supported by her parents (Nadine and Bruce) and older sibling (Sally). With evidence from various studies conducted on the fruitfulness of the family as a vehicle for sufficient literacy development (Compton-Lilly, 2003; Purcell-Gates, 1996; Purcell-Gates & Dahi, 1991; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988), McTavish employed observations, interviews with Nadine and Katie, field notes, video tapings in the home and Katie’s drawings and writings as her data sources for this study. The data was then classified “under the themes of foundational concepts of emergent literacy as per Purcell-Gates and Dahl (1991) and Purcell-Gates (1996)” (p. 478). Through Nadine, Bruce and Sally’s use of literacy in the presence of or with Katie, she learned intentionality, written register knowledge, concepts of print, concepts of writing and alphabetical principle. Katie learned that written language carried a meaning when she viewed Nadine using a calendar and a bulletin board at the home for organizational purposes, while Sally was assisted with her homework, when greeting cards were completed, when Bruce completed invoices at home and when nursery rhymes were sung in the car. Through stories, Katie learned the difference between written and oral language. She also learned the difference in text from the different genre’s read to her by her parents. Through the story sessions and seeing the family engaged with print, Katie displayed “many of Clay’s (2002) concepts of print, including front of book, directionality, and concept of word” (p. 480). Based on Katie’s spelling list done at home and her constant queries on what does a group of letters she wrote meant, McTavish 23 believed that Katie understood the concept of letters and writing. Finally, instances where Nadine had Katie “read” words on the shopping list while in the supermarket showed that Katie grasped the grapheme-phoneme relationship. McTavish commented that “literacy is literally woven throughout Katie’s day: in the car, in the home, at preschool, in the neighbourhood” (p. 483). Katie was also a contradiction to the assumption that children who come from a low-SES community are not exposed to literacy or do not engage in the “right kind” of literacy. Within her family, Katie learned through the numerous literate activities directly and indirectly directed toward her by family members. McTavish concluded: That some children from diverse homes and socioeconomic areas are able to develop as readers and writers, despite contrary assumptions. Given the complexity and individuality of families, we need to be mindful that the home, school, and community can serve as co-constructors of all children’s literacy knowledge. Working together, all young children will be able to construct the big picture. (p. 484) Taken together, the studies just reviewed provide a picture of families that clearly show families purposefully engaged in an array of literacy practices in a range of situations. These practices permeated daily-lived experiences of members of the family. All these studies show the importance of literacy being embedded in the daily lives of family members. Specifically, the social interactions among these individuals were the backdrop that allowed further development of families’ literate processes. Gregory showed that children (younger and older) are also transmitters of literacy to each other and develop reciprocal lessons on different topics. Clearly, adults are not the only 24 transmitters of literacy knowledge and practices in some families and communities. Although literacy differed among the families studied, members were engaged in reading, writing, teaching and learning as they interacted socially. There seemed to be an unawareness by parents and significant others that they are teaching their children through meaningful family literacy events, for example, as they wrote a cheque or listened to the child’s recounted day’s event. Families are diverse and so are their literate behaviours, therefore, the educational system need to build on the “funds of knowledge” children bring into the classroom to align it with school literacy. In the next chapter, I describe the method employed in this study. 25 Method The primary purpose of this case study was to document and describe the literacy practices of three 4-7 year old males at home and in their community, and at school. In this chapter, I first introduce the participants and then describe the contexts in which they are situated. I then describe the data collection procedures. Participants Aidan’ was 6 years old and in his second year of primary school. He attended a private school that consisted of a day care, pre-school and two years of primary school education, called Kindergarten I and II. At the end of his second year, he would have to transfer to another school to complete his primary school education. He was an only child and lived with his mother; his father did not live on the same island. His mother worked in the Financial Services industry and attended college by enrolling in on-line courses. Aidan attended two years of pre-school and was monolingual, speaking English. He attended a class after-school on Wednesdays where he was taught reading skills because his mother felt he needed additional help with his reading and attended a karate class on Saturdays. Most weekends he slept at his grandmother’s (father’s mother) house and attended Sunday school and church with her. His great-aunt (caregiver) took him to and from school from her house and he spent the hours after school with her (along with his younger female cousin) until his mother collected him on her way home. He was a member of the Boy’s Brigade where they learned camping and survival skills and was about to join a Library Programme, which was run by the Public Library where he would learn to use the library and find resources in the community. Both his class teacher and ‘Names have been changed to protect the identity of the families in this study. 26 caregiver (great aunt) categorized him as a very good persuasive speaker. His mother, Mrs. George, categorized him as shy and sociable. Braden was 5 years old and in his first year of primary school. He attended a public primary school that offered a Stage 1 through Class 5 education (seven years of primary school education). He was a middle child with a sister a year younger who attended pre-school and a brother aged 7 who was in Class 3 at the same school as him. The three children lived with their mother and father. Mrs. Roberts was a public school teacher, while Mr. Roberts was a banker. Braden was also monolingual (English) and had attended 2 years of pre-school. Classified as a timid child, he would be joining T Ball the next term. He attended Sunday school and church regularly with his family. Caleb was 4 years old and in his first year of primary education. He also attended a public primary school on Camanoe, which offered a Stage I to Class 5 education. Both of his parents possessed graduate degrees. His mother worked in the Financial Services industry and his father worked at a University in a supervisory position. Caleb had two homes on two different islands (Camanoe, BVI and St. James, USVI). This meant he was a BVlslander and an American. This family living arrangement was not uncommon to the BVI, living on one island with one parent and travelling to visit or be visited by the other parent. He was monolingual, English. He also attended pre-school for 2 years and would be joining T-ball the next term. His mother classified him as assertive, bright, outgoing, sociable and a good listener. All three boys were born to British Virgin Islander mothers; therefore, they were British Virgin Islanders. 27 Context British Virgin Islands. Located 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is comprised of 16 inhabited islands and 45 + uninhabited islands, cays and islets. The British Virgin Islands was settled by the Dutch in 1648, and then acquired by the English in 1672. Although granted autonomy from Britain in 1967, the British Virgin Islands remains a territory of the United Kingdom, but has a self-governing body voted by the citizens of the British Virgin Islands. Because of the close proximity to the US Virgin Islands, the islands changed to use United States currency in 1959. Tourism and financial services are the twin pillars of the British Virgin Islands economy and as a result the territory boasts one of the most stable and prosperous economies in the Caribbean, including the United States Virgin Islands. Average family income is $37,000. About one-fifth of the population of 23,000 are aged 14 or younger. There is a 1.03 male to female ratio for children aged 15 and under. All three boys resided on the main island of Camanoe which is 24 square miles. Although there are villages on the island, the small size of the island ensures that culturally the villages are all similar. Each village is within a 5 minute drive of a church and primary school. Home. The participants were all of African descent, as are 83% of the population. The adults who participated in this study were representative of the 97.8% of the population who are literate. The parents in this study all worked outside the home. All three homes had a large number of books and all of the parents reportedly read to their sons at home and began doing so before age one. Each boy had access to a computer with internet access and/or other electronic tools such as video games, DVD’s, cell 28 phones and the telephone. Children viewed their parents consistently interacting with literacy items as they read and wrote while managing the household, completing courses and working on projects brought home from the workplace. Community. The British Virgin Islands is a predominately Christian community with Methodist, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Church of God, Seventh - day Adventist and Baptist being the largest denominations. The first schools were started by the Methodist and Anglican churches at the end of slavery in 1834. Religious education continued for the next century. Today, churches are among the territory’s most historic and beautiful structures. The remains of the first church for freed African slaves in the Western Hemisphere is found in the British Virgin Islands. However, religion now has a more limited presence in the schools; although, children are required (unless they are practicing Rastafarians or Jehovah’s Witness) to participate in songs and prayer at the start of the school day (primary and secondary), prayer at lunchtime, and the end of the school day (only primary). Interestingly enough, these school religious practices are done in other Caribbean islands, like Nevis and Dominica. After-school programmes are a vital resource for parents as most finish work at 4:30 or later. An assortment of after-school activities are offered by various Government departments, private enterprises and individuals. The Sunflower Programme is a government sponsored programme located in various schools. Parents need not worry about collecting children at the end of the school day as this programme “kept” them until 5:00 p.m. Activities in this programme included homework sessions, tutoring, art and craft lessons, steel pan, a percussion instrument common in the West Indies, made from an oil drum divided into sections producing different notes when struck and so 29 forth. Private enterprises and individuals offered music lessons, tutoring classes, dance lessons and sporting activities. In addition to programmes offered during the week, activities are also offered on the weekends. The Public Library offers a programme that focuses on library use and community resources. The Boy Scouts programme teaches survival skills among other things and meetings are held on Saturdays, as is the case with a karate club. Churches offer Sunday school and Children’s Church on Saturdays and Sundays. Schools. The Department of Education and Culture, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Education and Culture, provide the administration, management and maintenance ofpublic schools, and the monitoring of private schools. The Department is responsible for one pre-primary, one special education, 14 primary and four high schools in the Territory, including private schools. Of these there are 11 private primary schools and two private high schools. British Virgin Islanders choose whether to send their children to public or private school as a matter of personal choice. Legal non-residents must send their children to private schools because there is no space for them in public schools. The system is a mixture of British and Caribbean models, with the exception of one private high school which is based on an American model. The primary system is composed of a Stage 1 (4.6 years) through Class 5 (approximately 11 years) education (7 years of primary education). Children must pass the Primary V Examination to enter high school. Recruitment At the time I submitted my application to the Ethics Board at University of British Columbia, I also penned a letter to the Department of Education and Culture requesting 30 permission to conduct this study in the schools, which I was granted. I travelled to the Department of Education and obtained a copy of the directory listing all day cares, pre primary, primary and secondary schools in the BVI (public and private). I then randomly selected seven primary schools, avoiding my alma mater, my sister’s alma mater and private schools. My personal observations of underachieving males had been in the public school system; therefore, I preferred to conduct the study in this type of school system. I began telephoning schools on August 22, 2005 and spoke to the principal of Elvis Frett Primary School2at that time. I introduced myself and gave a brief overview of the project, ending with a request to meet. We scheduled a meeting for August 25th at 2:00 p.m. For the next four days, I telephoned the remaining six schools and was able to schedule a meeting with the principal of Larry Franklin Primary School for August 31st The week of August 28th, I spoke to two other principals, but unfortunately, the principal of Debbie Williams Primary School politely declined to participate as she was newly appointed principal and was in the midst of orientation. The principal of Mark Kimble Primary School asked that I call back in two weeks when things would be less busy after the initial two weeks of the school year. I called the remaining schools and Mark Kimble and was only able to schedule two meetings for September 20th and 21st• scheduled meetings with the principals of Louis Cape Primary School and at Martin Stoutt Primary School, respectively. Although the principal of Martin Stoutt wanted to participate, she was hesitant to assure me the letters would be given to parents by the class teacher as required. Being optimistic, I left the meeting with hope. I was unable to speak to the principal of Barnes Bay Primary School because the telephone at the school was out of 2 Pseudonyms are used for all schools. 31 order, so therefore, on September 28th, drove to the school and was able to meet with her. At the designated time, I attended each meeting at the respective school. For each meeting, I took along a package that contained letters of introduction for parents, a criteria list for selection of participants and a thesis abstract (Appendices B — D). I provided the principals with the thesis abstract, then provided background information on the project and myself. Principals were encouraged to ask questions at any time during the meeting. Next, we went over the criteria for selection of participants and the letter of introduction. Principals were asked to distribute the letters to parents/guardians who met the criteria, the best way they deemed appropriate. By September 30th there should have been a pool of 25 potential participants had the entire set of letters been given to parents. When I called the six principals, however, I was informed that some letters could not be distributed to parents because a large number of the boys were not born to native mothers, a criterion for inclusion in the study. I then instructed principals to give the letters to parents if the boys’ father was native. I telephoned the schools again the week of October 3 and most principals were surprised that parents had not responded. Due to phone problems, I had to drive to Martin Stoutt Primary School in order to check on the status of the letters. The principal assured me that she would personally distribute the letters. With no parental contact by October 1 6th, again consulted the list of schools and selected another seven schools. I chose the pre-primary, two public primary and four private schools. Of the four private schools, I left messages on the school’s answering machine for the principals of St. Ursula Academy and Academy of Excellence. The 32 principal of St. Ursula Academy returned my call, but after hearing the purpose of the call, she politely declined to participate in the study. I called the other two private schools the next day and was able to make an appointment to meet the principal of Hope Alive School on Friday(21st) Although, she was busy with phone calls and meetings, we managed to sit and discuss the project. I left her with the recruitment package. I was finally able to speak with the remaining private school principal (St. Michael’s Academy) and arranged a meeting with her on 26th• The day I arrived at the school for the meeting, the principal was in a teacher’s conference; we rescheduled the meeting to the following day. I arrived at the designated time, and again, the principal was busy, this time organizing a field trip. We discussed the project under those circumstances and I left her with the packet of information. I contacted the pre-primary school principal (J. Conrad Primary School) and arranged a meeting on October 18th• arrived at the meeting and met with the principal. However, during my time there, she was dealing with a break-in at the school that night. We still managed to discuss the project and I left her with the packet. I then contacted the other two public schools. I was able to arrange a meeting with the principal of James Fahie Primary School; the other principal (Bay View Primary School) was busy with concert preparations. In the end, I met with only four principals and each received a packet. By the beginning of November, 2005, I sat and waited for three parents to contact me, out of a possible pool of 40 participants. Despite the challenges in recruiting participants, I was able to commence data collection November 4, 2005. I believe the novelty of research with such an intimate aspect made participants initially wary; (i.e. the 33 thought of have one’s actions viewed and recorded). These challenges did not compromise my research; however, they did cause an extended research period. Voice recorders were used to collect information as the children interacted with their parents and/or siblings because I felt it would not add to parents’ already busy schedule by asking them to document minute by minute activity, especially during hectic mornings when everyone was getting ready for school and work. I was especially interested in documenting any literacy events or any discussion about literacy that took place during a “typical’ day in each child’s life. With the exception of Caleb, each recorded session was separate and distinct in time; therefore, the recorded session was read as one meaningful segment. Caleb’s first set of recordings were all taped in one day from the time he woke up on Camanoe until he arrived at his father’s office on St. James. He did not attend school that day, so the interactions could not be meaningfully compared to the other subjects. Therefore, I requested additional tapings from Mrs. Smith when school resumed in January, 2006. Data collection procedures for each child are presented in the subsequent paragraphs indicated by each child’s name. Parents provided audio taping done within the home and car trips to or from the home. Observations were done of the children at school and in the community. Notes were taken of the observed activities. Interviews were conducted with subjects, parents, teachers and caretaker. Extensive notes were taken during these interviews when the voice recorder was not permitted. Additional data was collected from parents in the form of a questionnaire, written lists, samples of children’s drawing and writing. 34 Aidan. I was contacted via telephone on November 4th by Ms. George, Aidan’s mother. Immediately an appointment was scheduled. We met on the 7th and Ms. George was given a packet that included copies of the thesis proposal abstract, consent letters and sample interview questions (Appendices D and E). We discussed the project in-depth, primarily her role and that of her son. I discussed the purpose of the study, and Ms. George read the abstract. I expanded on the abstract and answered her questions. We then went through the consent forms and I asked her to distribute the forms to any adult (19+) who she felt played role in her son’s literacy development, to include his present teachers (school and community). Sensing her hesitation on the aspect of taking pictures in the home, I assured her that in lieu of pictures, she could generate lists of books, magazines, pictures, games, videos, DVDs and so forth found in her home. To assist the transition to being observed and/or interviewed, I asked Ms. George to arrange meetings and observations times of her son at school and in the community. I explained that any child under the age of 19 would have to give verbal assent, which meant I was to sit down with the child and explain the project to him/her and ask for his/her verbal assent to participate in the study. Next, we moved on to the interview section of the project, which I explained would be more like having a conversation on/about literacy. I then pointed to the sample interview questions and reiterated that they were to be used as a guide only, as the list was not exhaustive. Next, I spoke about the duration of the observations. The period of study would be for one week; preferably Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ms. George stated that Aidan spent the weekends with his paternal grandmother, which I assured her was fine, if his paternal grandmother were to do the audio tapings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ms. George was of the opinion that the 35 time spend at his grandmother’s was more for pleasure and relaxation. I left it at that and continued with times of preferred recordings (Appendix F). I empathized with the chaotic order of weekdays when school was in session, but asked for recordings when Aidan woke in the morning leading up to when he was dropped off at school (including while they were in the car) and then upon his return from school to bedtime on the preferred days. Ms. George informed me that she did not transport Aidan to and from school. Sensing her hesitation to ask his caregiver to do the tapings, I agreed to let her tape him when he awoke up to the time she dropped him at his caregiver’s house in the morning and when she picked him up in the afternoon until he went to bed at night. I provided the voice recorder with instructions and would transcribe their interactions recorded on tape. After transcription, I would forward her a copy to read, review and edit. During the period of the study, Ms. George was asked to collect and save any literacy artefacts completed by Aidan, such as drawings, writings, paintings, pictures of craft projects and so forth. These would be given to me and I would make copies of the ones that she desired to keep for herself. Ms. George was asked to generate a list of all the reading and writing activities she engaged in for the week of the study, while at home and out in the community. At the end of the meeting, she reaffirmed her eagerness and willingness to participate. We scheduled a meeting in three days where I would give her the voice recorder, instructions, collect her consent form and seek Aidan’ s assent. I also provided a written list of preferred taping times. On November 15th, obtained Aidan’s assent and conducted the interview with him, with the assistance of the voice recorder. It was during this interview, based on his answers when asked about print around him, I decided to add a hands on, fun activity for 36 the boys. I asked Aidan, “where do you see words?” and he replied “in books.” We were sitting at the dinner table, so I asked him where else and he began naming off items in the kitchen, “microwave,” “Capri Sun,” “Broyhill,” and so forth. I then asked him, “Where, outside of home and school, do you see reading and writing?” and he was silent. I asked him if he went to the supermarket and he said yes. I then asked, which supermarket and he said “Whole Foods,” so I asked, is that a word and he said yes with a smile. I gave the boys a disposable camera and told them to take pictures of reading and writing they saw outside of the outside of the home and school, without their mothers’ or anyone’s assistance. These samples will be included in the next chapter. I observed Aidan in school on November 21 and interviewed his class teacher that same day. I arrived at the school at 8:25 a.m. and introduced myself to Aidan’s class teacher. We talked about my positioning in the class, and I received her signed consent form. When Aidan arrived at school, he joined the rest of the class in Assembly. My presence was not a distraction to him or the others in the class. I sat and observed Aidan from 8:25 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. During his lunch break, I was able to initiate the interview with his class teacher. Ms. Davis was a bit nervous about being interviewed. To ease the nervousness, I allowed her to view a copy of general questions. I then asked the questions on the paper and asked for expansion when I felt it was warranted. She did not want to be taped, so I took notes as she answered the questions. Before the children’s return to the classroom, we decided that she could take the questions home to complete and I would collect them on Sunday. This teacher felt she needed more time to express herself accurately. However, later analysis showed that she did not add any additional 37 information to the answers I recorded. I continued with my observations of Aidan until the end of the school day. On November 24th, I was able to interview Aidan’s caregiver at her home, while Aidan was with her. Miss Isaac, was Aidan’s great aunt and cared for him in the morning and after school. She took him to school and collected him at the end of the school day. We sat down at her kitchen table and I collected her signed consent form. With this interview, I had to write her responses as she did not feel comfortable being taped. While conducting the interview, I observed Aidan watching TV and playing with his pets. Due to scheduling conflicts and her unavailability, I was unable to have a sit down interview with Ms. George. As a result, I gave her a list of questions, which I felt covered the significance of her role in the study (Appendix G). I informed Ms. George that she could forward her answers via email. I collected the voice recorder on November 30th At this point, Ms. George was to forward me her answers, the Read/Write list, list of literacy artefacts in the home, any literacy artefacts of Aidan’ s she wanted to share and the disposable camera. I received Ms. George’s answers, the disposable camera and Aidan’s literacy artefacts on December 16. I received her Read/Write list a few weeks later. Ms. George did not provide a list of literacy artefacts in the home. However, since I needed this list so that I could compare and contrast all three boys, I used information on her Read/Write list and interview questions to construct a list of literacy artefacts in her home. This method proved unsatisfactory so I decided to use a modified version of Shapiro’s Home Literacy Index (Appendix H) as a tool to further help parents provide the necessary information needed for this study, such as “information regarding the literacy environment and interaction with literacy materials in 38 the home” (Shapiro, 1996, P. 33). The Home Literacy Index was received on May 12th from Ms. George. After several attempts, I was finally able to meet and interview Aidan’s reading tutor on March 3, 2006. Aidan attended a class where he was by Mrs. Lewis’s who assisted him in “becoming a better reader” through direct instruction in a smaller class setting. I was allowed to tape this interview, but no photos were allowed. I collected her consent form that day. Braden. Mrs. Roberts, Braden’s mother, contacted me via email on November 13, 2005. We traded emails for a week then arranged a meeting for November 23rd The meeting was rushed as she had just ended her workday (as a public school teacher) and needed to collect her children from their respective schools. We reviewed the copies of consent letters, the thesis abstract, and sample interview questions as I did with Ms. George. Although the meeting was hurried, I left her with the knowledge that she could contact me at any time with questions. I also left the voice recorder, instructions for its use and the list of preferred taping times. Through email, we arranged two more meetings between her, Braden, Hakeem (his older brother), Faith (his younger sister) and me where I would seek and subsequently get the children’s assent. At the second meeting that was held in a park, I collected the consent form from Mrs. Roberts and obtained verbal assent from Braden and Faith (Hakeem was not present). Mrs. Roberts arranged for me to observe Braden in church on December 4th and school on December 14thi conducted the interview with Braden and Faith on December 22h1 using the voice recorder and received the list of literacy artefacts found in the home. At this meeting since we were outdoors, when I asked Braden about print outside the home, he too 39 paused for a moment. With a soda can in his hand, I asked him, “What are you drinking?” He said, “soda.” I asked him where they purchased the soda and he said the supermarket. At that moment, Braden started naming of the names of several supermarkets and other stores and I gave him the disposable camera with the instructions to take pictures of reading and writing he saw outside the home and school. These pictures will be included in the next chapter. On December 4th, arrived early at church and positioned myself to observe Braden and his siblings during Sunday school. While the children prayed, sang choruses, practiced for the Christmas Concert, I also made a list of the literacy items present in the church. At the end of Sunday school, I collected Mrs. David’s (the Sunday school teacher) consent form and interviewed her up to the time church began, taking notes as we talked. I then switched seats, as church was about to begin, so that I could observe Braden and his entire family during church. Mrs. David emailed further explanations on the questions asked prior to Church. I arrived at the school at 8:30 a.m. on December 14th and Braden was present. I observed from my vehicle as he played with others (including his brother) on the swings. I went to his classroom and with the help of the teacher, located a seat. We discussed the project some more and the bell rang. All the students of the school gathered in the hallway as they began the school day with assembly (prayers, songs and announcements). After assembly, all the children went to their respective classes and I took my seat. As the school term was a week away from ending, the other classes were having their End of Term examinations. Braden’s teacher constructed a mock examination by combining various worksheets to simulate an End of Term exam. I observed Braden as he took the 40 exam. The first part of the exam ended at morning recess, at which time, I observed as Braden ate his snack and then left the classroom to play. As I could see Braden from my seat, I observed him and wrote out a list of literacy items present in his classroom. Braden’ s teacher pointed out that the sparse walls were a result of the dampness of the walls. It was hard to keep things stuck to the wall. The children returned to class after recess then completed the second and fmal part of the exam for the day. At lunch, Braden’s teacher marked his exam and gave me a copy; we also used this time to conduct the interview. I took notes during the interview, as Mrs. Evans did not want to be taped. I left at noon with the consent form, as she preferred I not observe in the afternoon since there was no work planned. Again school was a week away from ending therefore; contact teaching periods were concluded the week before. Due to scheduling conflicts and time constraints (End of Term examinations), I was unable to collect the disposable camera, parent’s interview answers and ReadlWrite list. However, Mrs. Roberts FedExed the listed items to me. The Home Literacy Index was emailed to Mrs. Roberts and it was returned to me two days later, via email. Caleb. Caleb was the last to enter the study and there was a week and a half left in the first school term. When Mrs. Smith called me, we arranged to meet at her home on December 12th I took along the consent letters, thesis abstract and sample interview questions and explained everything to her. At the end of this meeting, we arranged another two meetings where I would seek and consequently obtain Caleb’s assent, along with Mrs. Smith’s consent. During the meeting on December 19th, I also gave the voice recorder and the disposable camera (both with instructions) to Mrs. Smith and Caleb, respectively. Although, I went through the same question and answer scenario with 41 Caleb on environmental print as I did with the other two boys, when I collected and developed the photographs they were mostly of Caleb’s family members. I gave him a second camera with explicit instructions of “no pictures of people’s faces, unless they have words written on them.” The pictures taken on the second camera were pictures of the reading and writing Caleb saw outside of school and home and these will be included in the next chapter. I was unable to observe Caleb at school and at his after school activity because his teacher did not want to be a part of the study. I collected the voice recorder and realized that all the recordings were done on one day (a day he did not attend school). We arranged for Mrs. Smith to provide additional recordings (in the morning and at night of a school day) when school reopened for the second term. When I collected the additional recordings at Caleb’s home on February 28, 2006, I was also able to interview and interact with him. I observed him as he wrote letters and numbers on a sheet of paper during the interview when I prepared to leave. At the end of the interview (which he timed), we played Blue ‘s Clues Memory, a board game that helps with memorization. He gave me the sheet of paper he wrote on during the interview. I left another disposable camera with him, again explaining that he needed to take pictures of reading and writing and not of people’s faces. Though many reminders were sent to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I only obtained Mrs. Smith’s ReadlWrite list but not Mr. Smith’s. Due to limited time and Mrs. Smith residing on Camanoe and Mr. Smith on St. James, interview questions were emailed to them and they provided me with typed answers to the questions. I was also given a list of literacy artefacts present in both homes, constructed by Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith completed the emailed Home 42 Literacy Index and returned it to me via email on May 26, 2006, while the second disposable camera was FedExed to me. Data Analysis Data analysis focussed on the definition and use of literacy by the children, family members, community members and school personnel and how children acquired and used it. The reader is reminded that literacy has recently been conceptualized beyond reading and writing print to include various modalities of symbolic representation (e.g., Kress, 1997). The audio taped interactions were transcribed and typed for readability, coherence and comprehension. Parents were given a copy of these transcripts, to edit (if necessary). Observations, interviews and lists were also typed for readability, coherence and comprehension. All the typed data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) as data were sorted into categories and arranged into themes using Appendices I and J as guiding tools. A second person checked the soundness of the data. I gave him 10% of the data to code. There was a 90% agreement on the data and differences were resolved through discussion. The data tables were edited accordingly. These were then sent out to parents again for their information and input. In the next chapter, I present the results of the study. 43 Results In this chapter, I present the information gathered on the three boys and their families across the three contexts. It should be noted that circumstances beyond my control limited data collection with Caleb in the school context. I then compare and contrast the boys’ literacy experiences in the home, community and school contexts. The following research questions guided this study and data will be presented as such: 1. How do family members (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins)/caregivers/ teachers of these three boys, in this community define and use literacy? 2. What literacy activities do these 5-7 year old male children engage in at home, in the community and at school? With whom, when, how and for what purpose do these activities occur? 3. What are the similarities and differences among these children’s literacy practices at home, at school and in the community? Aidan Literacy definition and use. Ms. George, Aidan’s mother, in her interview defined literacy as learning to become a proficient reader. The information from the Home Literacy Index (see Appendix K) and the Read/Write list displayed below showed that Ms. George read for pleasure at home and also to further her own education. Table 1- Ms. George’s Read/Write List Personal/Pleasure Work Reading: The Maintenance Man, The Reading & Writing: IBC requests, email, Broker, Working Mother and Child telephone messages Reading & Writing: grocery list, email, letter to imprisoned friend Technology Information Email Island Sun Newspaper Texting BVI Beacon Newspaper 44 For example, while Aidan worked on his homework at night with Ms. George’s help, she also completed assignments by reading her class textbook and responding on her college’s message board or emailing classmates about the assignment. Furthermore, Ms. George paid electricity, telephone and credit card bills, created grocery lists, shopped on line, wrote and read letters and emails. During the evening and in the mornings, Ms. George participated in conversations on the telephone and read and responded to text messages. Rent cheques along with bank statements were examples of literacy used by Ms. George in the organization of the home. Ms. George indicated that she wanted Aidan to be a gifted reader and attempted to direct and support him toward that end. She read Aidan’s homework in the evenings and sometimes in the morning and gave directions for its completion. If Aidan resisted her directions, Ms. George provided a written model for him to follow. For example, one morning after explaining to Aidan how the words should be spaced in the sentences he had to rewrite, she wrote them on a separate piece of paper and gave it to him; then she told him to copy them in to his notebook. She presented Aidan with a model to be followed. From the audiotapes, it was apparent that Ms. George spent considerable time working with Aidan on his spelling ability by having him repeatedly practice spelling words assigned by his teacher. As shown in Figure 1, Aidan’s spelling was progressing, as the words he misspelled were incorrect because of one out of place or incorrect letter that in some cases was written backward, as for example the word “zebra,” where the letter “Z” was written backwards. 45 Figure 1 - Spelling test Additionally, Aidan’s oratory skills were heavily emphasized. Ms. George insisted that Aidan speak “properly.” He needed to enunciate so that he could be heard from the back of the room. As he had two recitations (one for church and the other for school) to prepare for, she reinforced proper oratory skills through repetition and critique. Ms. George further emphasized correctness through repetition and critique in Aidan’s presence as she spoke on the phone to the young woman she was chaperoning and tutoring. The young lady needed to memorize her opening speech and her talent segment routine for the “Miss Saba Rock” pageant and be prepared for critique when Ms. George visited Saba Rock. This pageant followed the format of beauty pageants, in that young women competed in introduction, casual wear, talent, eveningwear and a question and answer segment, vying for the title of “Miss Saba Rock.” Ms. George believed that through emphasis and conventions of oracy, Aidan’s literacy skills would develop. A 46 r i( .anr ..v L It;.. - r :- i - — - - — - r . - Z1 :. fL \/:rZ .-- ...J;_.z - qiL:<- z. competent speaker was a competent reader. That emphasis on accuracy and precision was consistent with the instruction Aidan received in school and after-school, as will be discussed later. It should be pointed out that Aidan was reading adequately at his grade level. In her interview, Ms. George mentioned that while growing up, she was not afforded the luxuries of a literacy rich home; as a result this strong emphasis on correction and precision was her way of creating what she saw as a literacy rich environment in which she thought Aidan would flourish. Miss Isaac, Aidan’s caregiver, was the person who took Aidan to school in the mornings, collected him after school and kept him at her house until he was picked up by his mother in the evenings. She defined literacy in her interview as the ability for Aidan to learn as he reads, to gain experiences that foster local knowledge and to stimulate discussions and create experiences that will propel his growth and joy as a boy and eventually as a man. Miss Isaac further stated in her interview, that she told stories (oral tradition), read to Aidan, baked cookies with him, gave directions on how to make things, such as a sandwich and simply talked to and with Aidan and his younger cousin, all in her attempt to support and encourage Aidan’s literacy knowledge and preserve cultural knowledge. Ms. Davis, Aidan’s teacher at school, indicated that she taught students to read and write in order to create a solid educational foundation. On my visit, she taught lessons in reading, writing, mathematics and classification and sorting skills. Those lessons will be described more fully on pages 50 to 58. Mrs. Lewis, who taught Aidan reading after-school, stated her purpose was to stimulate Aidan and make him a better reader. Mrs. Lewis’ interview provided all the 47 information on the after school reading class Aidan attended, as I did not have the opportunity to observe him in that context. On Wednesdays, after-school Aidan was taken to Mrs. Lewis’s home where he and a small group of children his age were taught reading by various methods. Mrs. Lewis indicated that she employed the “phonetic approach” or taught phonics or letter-sound combinations to the group of students including Aidan. However, Mrs. Lewis stated that as our British Virgin Islands dialect was non-standard, she used common dialects at times to assist children’s understanding. For example, when the word “forty” was pronounced as suggested by the reading programme, the children did not understand it and Mrs. Lewis had to use her BVlslanders’ accent and say “fah-ty,” and then they understood. Mrs. Lewis indicated that she employed the “whole language approach” sometimes. That is, she indicated that if the children came to an unknown word when reading, in some instances she told them the word instead of having them try to sound it out phonetically. Those words became a spelling list and given to the students to learn to spell. The children were tested on the spelling of these words the following Wednesday. Mrs. Lewis believed that in addition to enhancing the student’s spelling skills, the practice helped children to learn to recognize words holistically, on sight. Literacy practices. Table 2 displays Aidan’s interactions at home, at school and in the community; this information was summarized from interviews, voice recordings and observations, which will be followed by a detailed description of a day in Aidan’s interactions at home (morning and evening), in school and at his caregiver’s home. 48 Ta bl e 2 - A id an ’s in te ra ct io ns a c ro ss co n te xt s W he re W ith W he n W ha t W hy W ho m H om e M ot he r B ef or e 8: 00 Sp el lin g pr ac tic e, o ra to ry pr ac tic e, - w an ts hi m to lo ve re ad in g an d w rit in g a. m . an d af te r pl ay in g v id eo ga m e, w at ch in g TV , - w an ts hi m to be ab le to le ar n fro m re ad in g o n hi s o w n (e. g., 6: 00 p. m . ho m ew or k, co n v er sa tio ns : b oo ks , di re ct io ns ) M on da y — sc ho ol & ho bb ie s, st or yt el lin g, w rit in g - w an ts hi m to ha ve m o re an d be tte re x po su re to lit er ac y m at er ia ls Fr id ay pr ac tic e in th e ho m e th an sh e di d - w an ts hi m to ex ce l i n sc ho ol - w an ts hi m to ta ke hi s w o rk se rio us ly - be a be tte r a n d ef fe ct iv e sp ea ke r - co m pe te nt sp el le r Ca re ta ke r 8: 00 a. m . to St or yt el lin g (fr om bo ok s o r o ra l - ex pr es s h im se lf cl ea rly 8: 30 a. m . an d tr ad iti on s), re ad in g, - in -d ep th lo ca l a n d in te rn at io na lk no w le dg e ba se (w ell ro u n de d 2: 30 p. m .t o co n st ru ct io n/ bu ild in g th in gs : b lo ck s ed uc at io n) 6: 00 p. m . an d st ic ks ,T V , - le ar n to re ad an d le ar n fro m re ad in g co n v er sa tio ns /d isc us sio ns , b ak es - re in fo rc es w ha ti s l ea rn ed in sc ho ol an d at ho m e co o ki es , m ak es sa n dw ic he s, ta ke s ca re - en co u ra ge hi sp hy sic al as w el l a s m en ta ld ev el op m en t t hr ou gh o f p et s, dr aw s pr og ra m s an d ac tiv iti es Sc ho ol Cl as s 8: 30 a. m . to A ss em bl y, ch or al re ad in g, v o ca bu la ry - ro le o f r el ig io n in hu m an s’ liv es Te ac he r 2: 30 p. m . ex er ci se , s pe lli ng , m at h se qu en ci ng , - bu ild in g a st ro ng lit er ac y fo un da tio n m at h ga m e, m at h bi ng o, so rt an d gr ou p - en co u ra ge an al yt ic /p er su as iv e sk ill s an im al s, sil en tr ea di ng , p la yi ng w ith - im pr ov in g w rit in g sk ill s se lf an d o th er s (im ag ina tiv e g am es , - im pr ov in g re ad in g sk ill s, w hi le n o t d ra w in g at te nt io n to w ea k sh us h ga m es & rid dl es ), Ch ris tm as re ad er s co n ce rt re he ar sa l - de fin iti on o fw o rd s u sin g ba ck gr ou nd kn ow le dg e an d co n te xt - in cr ea sin g co rr ec tn es s in sp el lin g - in cr ea sin g m at h sk ill s - cl as sf fic at io n sk ill s - pr ef ec t p er fo rm an ce fo r c o n ce rt Co m m un ity Su nd ay sc ho ol , C hu rc h H ar ve st , B oy ’s - G od ly pr in ci pl es an d be ab le to re ad an d u n de rs ta nd H is w o rd B rig ad e, K ar at e Cl as s, pe nd in g Li br ar y - pa rti ci pa te s in “ bo y lik e” ac tiv iti es ,w hi ch al so re in fo rc e Pr og ra m m e st ru ct ur es an d di sc ip lin e R ea di ng W ed ne sd ay s, R ea di ng (ph on eti c & so m e w ho le - st im ul at ed an d be tte r ( pro fic ien t) re ad er Te ac he r 1h ou r la ng ua ge ), w rit in g, re ad in g ga m es an d - co m pr eh en d w ha t i sb ei ng re ad ac tiv iti es ,s pe lli ng - co m pe te nt sp el le r 49 For Aidan, a school day began with him being awakened by his mother at 7:15 a.m. He received a series of commands to get up, bathe and eat so that they could leave the house on time. Aidan was a slow starter in the morning and Ms. George shouted commands to get him in to the bathroom to bathe and brush his teeth. Conversation between the two was sparse; Aidan used his imagination as he created a series of games, such as making noises with his mouth directly into the voice recorder, while taking a bath and then brushing his teeth. Ms. George knew Aidan’s imagination was vivid and his ability to create a game was instantaneous, so she kept him on task by shouting, “Wha going on?” Once his bath was over, he was fully awake and began to ask questions whenever his mother was physically next to him. He questioned his mother about the voice recorder in the bathroom and then the origin of holes he noticed on the bathroom walls. After he finished with his bath and teeth, he moved to his bedroom, as commanded, to get dressed. Ms. George took the voice recorder from the bathroom to Aidan’s bedroom and he asked another round of questions while dressing. Aidan was particularly interested in the purpose and the positioning of the voice recorder, which was being used in this study to tape the interactions between himself and his mother. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control, there was no time for Aidan to develop a familiarity with the tape recorder since the school term was less than two months from closing and Aidan had also completed his End of Term examinations. When Ms. George left the bedroom, Aidan immediately stopped dressing and made “Darth Vader” type noises in to the voice recorder, which he did for approximately 2 minutes. At 7:30 Aidan was not fully dressed and Ms. George was annoyed: 50 Hurry up Aidan, you suppose to be ready by now. Come, come bedroom, your bedroom Aidan. Stop it. You take everything like a sport. Lotion your skin, powder your skin and get on your school clothes. ... Get your lotion, get your powder. I ain’t helping you do nothing this morning. At this time Aidan asked another question and I believed this was Aidan’s way of calming his mother down when she became annoyed with him. His tactic worked because Ms. George’s tone was milder when she answered his question: A: Whathisis? M: That’s to wash your hands. That’s yours. That’s powder. Aidan then busied himself with getting dressed while Ms. George watched him. During that time, Aidan asked questions on various topics such as where his mother learned the song she sang and an old wound he had on his body. These questions also appeared to serve as a technique of keeping his mother close to him as he got ready for school. Amid his questions, Ms. George asked a few of her own so as to keep Aidan focussed on what he was doing, for example, asking if he lotioned his hands. While Aidan dressed, Ms. George reminded him that he had homework, which needed to be completed before they left the house that morning. While perusing Aidan’s notebook, Ms. George asked him if he had words to learn for spelling and why he did not write on each page in his notebook (front and back). Sensing his mother’s annoyance again, Aidan asked about the voice recorder and then shifted the subject to driving. Ms. George answered his questions and left the room still annoyed and Aidan stopped what he was doing and began playing a game (whispering and counting). Ms. George returned and helped Aidan with his shoes. As she did that, Aidan focused on the voice recorder again and read the words “play” and 51 “rec” on the recorder. Ms. George told him “rec means record” and he was told not to touch the tape recorder and was directed to the dinning table to complete his homework. He was told to get all 20 spelling words correct when tested in school. Ms. George then explained to Aidan that he had to rewrite the previous day’s date in his notebook because he wrote it on two lines, and she wanted it written on one line. She further explained that he had to re-write the words because they were written too big. Aidan expressed confusion when his mother explained the need for him to rewrite sentences he had copied from the blackboard, as well as about the need to rewrite the date. She re-wrote the sentences so that Aidan could copy them correctly spaced and sized in his notebook. Next, he worked on his homework filling in the blank spaces on an exercise he had written in his notebook that seemed to be for Social Studies. For example, “My mother’s mother is my ________“and he correctly said “grandmother” and was told to write it in the space. After he completed several of those types of sentences on his own, Ms. George read the rest aloud, Aidan supplied the missing answers and wrote them in the correct space in his notebook. As Aidan worked, Ms. George praised his work and encouraged him to concentrate so that he would not mix up the letters “b,” “d” and “p.” During this time, Aidan began to complain about the “hard work” he was forced to do daily in school. Ms. George did not acknowledge his complaint, so he switched topic to an ice pop because he was drinking ice water. He was told to eat his breakfast and then finish his homework. Aidan ate and then informed his mother he could write in cursive. She commented that she was proud of Aidan’s writing skills. At this point, the telephone rang for Ms. George. Ms. George removed herself from Aidan’s side as she spoke on the phone and Aidan used the time to play (again making Dark Vader noises). The music 52 and the DJ’s voice were heard from the radio and Ms. George hung up the telephone and proceeded to get dressed for work. During that time, she was not close to Aidan, so he continued to play imaginative games and did not complete his homework. Aidan continued to play for another 8 minutes after which Ms. George returned to his side and saw that he had only completed two sentences. Ms. George was displeased and again Aidan complained that the work was difficult. Ms. George ignored his comment and read Aidan’s two sentences and noticed he made a mistake in one of them by writing the word ‘to’ instead of ‘of.’ For example, “The name to my school is _________.“ This was further evidence to Ms. George that Aidan was not concentrating, which further annoyed her so she reminded him that he needed to “focus more and play less.” At 8:15 a.m., Ms. George and Aidan left the house. Aidan arrived at school at 8:30 a.m., proceeded to his labelled cubby-hole and placed his bag in there, and then joined assembly. Assembly was a gathering of Stage 1 and Stage 2 students in the back of the classroom where they sang, prayed and shared information about themselves. It was led by the Stage 2 teacher. The teacher began the assembly with a question to the entire gathering about their weekend and Aidan excitedly raised his hand to answer. He was not called on and raised his hand without emotion when the next question was asked about the weekend again. That time he was chosen to share and Aidan told the gathering about the karate class he attended on Saturday. Next, Aidan was reverent and still as the class prayed along with the teacher. After prayers, the teacher asked another question about sharing and Aidan again raised his hand and told about how his cousin treated her younger sibling. As the other children shared, Aidan used the time to survey the room, raising his hand every time a question was asked. At 53 9:00, he participated in a stretching exercise that the teacher led. Assembly ended at 9:07 and Aidan took his chair from the stack in the corner and placed it by the table where he sat down. The teacher began the lesson by having the students read aloud the words written on the board. The children read the list in unison without assistance until they came to the word “quite” which they pronounced as “quiet.” Ms. Davis asked them to look at the word again and pronounced it for them, which they repeated. “Quiet” was added to the list of words to be learned for spelling on the board. Ms. Davis asked what “quite” meant and Aidan used it correctly in a sentence: “I’m quite happy.” After Ms. Davis provided the definition of the word, the students read the remainder of the story aloud as a group from the handout each student had which was taken from the book When Lion Could Fly: And Other Talesfrom Africa. As Aidan read, he used his finger to point at each word. The class was stopped at the end of the sentence where the phrase, “Prime Minister” appeared. Ms. Davis then asked for a definition of Prime Minister. Aidan used his experiences and knowledge from church as he stated, “like someone who preaches in church.” Ms. Davis told him be was not quite right and then asked the students, “Who is the Chief Minister?” The children said, “Dr. Smith,” so she asked what his job was. The children fumbled for an answer, and she said that a Chief Minister was the person in charge of a country, like a Prime Minister. Each child read one sentence from the story on his or her own. Aidan read his without miscues. The class read the last sentence of the story together in chorus. The teacher asked the children orally what was a chimpanzee and Aidan said, “Like a monkey.” He happily and confidently gave an answer because he loved to hear and read about animals. The children were told to write the words from the board into their notebooks, as they would be used for spelling. With 54 permission, Aidan went and retrieved his notebook out of his backpack and wrote the spelling words. While writing, he played the “shush” game with his desk mates. The children looked at each other, said “shush” and laughed quietly. He copied a word incorrectly in his book and Ms. Davis told him to correct it when she viewed his book. After making the correction, he returned his book to his backpack and retrieved his math workbook from the shelf. He turned to page 56 as instructed and spelled the numbers I — 10 aloud with the whole class. Ms. Davis then assigned pages 67 and 68 in the workbook. Aidan worked silently as he completed the exercise of spelling the names of numbers without the assistance of any word banks, dictionaries or the teacher, filling in missing information using the name of colours and sequencing. After he finished, he took his book to Ms. Davis to be checked and Ms. Davis pointed out that one item was incorrect, so he returned to his seat and made the correction. As he worked, Aidan spoke in riddles such as, “What has wings and can’t fly?” to his desk mates and quietly sang songs such as, “Hey Diddle Diddle” along with his desk mates. Amid playing, he tried to arrive at the correct answer in a sequencing activity by using a think aloud strategy (counting out loud quietly so as to arrive at the missing number). After 14 minutes of working and playing, Aidan took his book back to be checked but the answer he wrote was incorrect. Ms. Davis helped Aidan arrive at the correct answer, asking him what should come after 14 but before 16. He counted from 10 to 16 and came up with the correct answer. He took the book back to the shelf and it was time for break. Students’ break time lasted for 20 minutes, at which time Aidan ate his snack and then went outdoors and played with his friends in the school’s yard. The children played tag and ran around the school’s playground for 15 minutes. 55 At the end of break, Ms. Davis called the students to class and they settled in their seats. Ms. Davis began the lesson by asking all the children to stand, which they did. For 6 minutes they engaged in an interactive math lesson. The children were told that they would have to buy their seats in order to sit down. Each child had to provide two numbers that, when added, would equal the number Ms. Davis called. For example, 7 could be 3 and 4; 2 and 5; and 1 and 6. When called on, Aidan promptly and correctly provided his answers. After all the students were seated, Ms. Davis asked Aidan to help distribute the math workbooks. He retd the child’s name written in each book on his own and gave it to the correct student. The children turned to page 106, in the workbooks as instructed and they read and followed the directions in that section, which was comprised of finding number combinations. Each child worked on exercises where they had to find two number combinations that would total the number given, the same as they had done physically and orally at the beginning of the lesson when they were told they had to “buy” their seats. For example, 4 could be the given number and the answers 1 and 3 and 2 and 2 would be provided by the students. While reading the directions, Aidan asked for the pronunciation of the word “ways” but his teacher reminded him that he needed to spell the word, sound it out and then pronounce it using the letter sounds, which he did correctly. He quickly completed the assignment on the page and then moved on to the next assignment. The students read the instructions out loud and followed them. The lesson was on “more than” and Ms. Davis chose to use an interactive approach again to help the children understand what was expected of them for the exercise. The children stood as directed and were asked, “How many more girls are there than boys in the class?” To demonstrate this word problem, a girl was sent to stand next 56 to a boy and each pair (1 girl and 1 boy) was asked to sit. The students then counted the number of girls left standing and that number was the correct answer. Children gave the answer in a complete sentence. The children were then directed back to the page in the workbook to complete exercises on “more than” (>). Again, Aidan finished his work quickly and provided all correct answers. He was the first to finish, so he made faces and played with others sitting next to him. At 11:23 a.m., the children returned the workbooks to the shelf and Aidan played word games with his desk mates of their own volition. For example, ice + cream equalled ice cream. The class then played math bingo with the teacher giving the clues until lunch time at 11:55 a.m. During lunch, Aidan ate his lunch and then played “freeze tag” and other outdoor games in the schoolyard with his friends. Lunchtime ended at 1:00 p.m. The afternoon session began with Aidan colouring a page from a colouring book, which Ms. Davis gave to him. Next, he played handclap games with another student (Pat-A-Cake type games). The teacher sent the students to their seats and gave them a handout with animals and boxes on it. This was a sorting activity that tested students’ knowledge of animal classification. The teacher told the students to cut out the animals and place them in the appropriate boxes on the page. Aidan cut out his animals neatly and quickly and placed them where they belonged. He showed them to Ms. Davis and she gave him glue to stick them on the paper. Aidan was the first child to finish this activity so he started to help a desk mate. Ms. Davis stopped him from helping and sent him to the reading corner to pick a book from the bookshelf and read it. Aidan was the only child in the area for 9 minutes and he chose a book, Hennypenny and read for approximately 6 minutes. He then elected to play with a small toy car, until another 57 student joined him on the mat. That child took up the book Aidan was reading and Aidan chose another book, Jamberry from the bookshelf and read for another two minutes. Then he stopped reading and began playing with his shoe. By 2:05, all the children were finished with the cutting and sorting activity, so those gathered in the reading area were told to put the books back on the shelf. The other students joined Aidan and the readers and practiced for the Christmas concert under the leadership of Ms. Davis. Aidan recited his recitation when he was called on and sang the songs the class would sing at the concert. When he spoke and sang, he stood straight and in a straight line with his classmates. Rehearsal ended at 2:30 and the children went to the bathroom to wash their hands and then to the media room to watch PBS on television until they were picked up by parents or others. The children watched Between the Lions, a puppet television show produced in the US about two lions that go on various adventures through and for books. Ms. Isaac collected Aidan at 3:00 p.m. Aidan spent approximately 2 1/2 hours in the afternoon at Miss Isaac’s home. While there, I observed Aidan channel surf for a few seconds, then turned the television to Telemundo (a Spanish television channel) and watched a Spanish cartoon for 5 minutes. He then went outside and fed and played with his pet cat and dog. When he was through, he remained outside and played with a toy airplane by himself. After playing, he returned inside and watched the Discovery Channel up to the time I left the house, which was approximately 15 minutes. At home that evening, Aidan tried on an outfit he was to wear to his school’s Christmas concert. After Aidan took the clothes off, Ms. George told him to retrieve his backpack so that she could see what he had done that day in school and if there was 58 anything to be done that evening. While retrieving his books, Aidan told Ms. George he had no homework, so Ms. George stated that they would concentrate on practicing and learning his spelling words. While checking Aidan’s notebooks, Ms. George found errors in Aidan’s work he did at school that day. She scolded him for his mistakes. For reading practice and to help Aidan discover those mistakes, Ms. George decided she would have Aidan read out the sentences he had written at school that day. While reading, he discovered his mistake of using the wrong preposition, “for,” when he should have written “of.” I believe that upon realizing his mistake, Aidan felt embarrassed so he wanted to read the remaining sentences, “In his head.” He was told to read them out loud, which he did reluctantly. He mumbled as he read, so Ms. George told him to go take a bath. Aidan did not want to go, so he read the sentences loud and clear. He continued reading the sentences from his copybook and pronounced “grateful” as “grapeful.” After being chastised for not being careful with his school work, Aidan had to spell the word “grateful” and pronounce it (as was done in school). He then pronounced it correctly and Ms. George provided a definition for the word “grateful.” The conversation then shifted to the upcoming beauty pageant and Aidan’s Christmas vacation. Again, Aidan asked about the voice recorder and was sent to bathe. While bathing Aidan sang Christmas carols such as “Jingle Bells.” When he finished, he called his mother to bring his towel and he spelled towel “torwel.” Aidan resumed singing “Jingle Bells” and neither Ms. George nor Aidan acknowledged his spelling mistake, so I can not ascertain if it was said in jest or not. No observation was done on Aidan in the community because there were too many conflicts in scheduling between myself and the adult Aidan was with at that time to 59 permit this. For example, at one point he attended church with his grandmother and his mother previously suggested that I not interview her. Next, information on Braden’s literacy at school, at home and in the community is reported. Braden Literacy definition and use. Mrs. Roberts, Braden’s mother, defined literacy as the ability to read books (including picture books), comprehend and relay information through speech or writing, and actively seek information for oneself. Mrs. Roberts was quick to point out in her interview that literacy cannot exist solely in school, but that its acquisition must be assisted by the home. This family engaged in literacy for multiple purposes. Mr. Roberts shared books and stories with the children. Mrs. Roberts pointed out in her interview that she was “not a reader”, but she recognized that as a unit, both parents must model reading to the children so that they could develop healthy reading habits. Therefore, Mrs. Roberts read books like the Purpose Driven Life, a religious text, at home. The results from the Home Literacy Index revealed that in terms of her own literacy practices, Mrs. Roberts, who wasa high school teacher, created and corrected examinations for the students she taught and created lesson plans and projects for her classes. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts used literacy to affirm and express their Christianity and the children participated as well. They read the Bible, prayed, sang and listened to Christian radio daily. According to the Read/Write list (see Table 3) and Home Literacy Index (Appendix L), the Roberts also engaged in literacy as they created budgets, paid bills and communicated via email and internet messaging. 60 Table 3— Roberts’s Read/Write List Mother Personal/Pleasure Information Reading: The Purpose Driven Life Reading: Island Sun Newspaper, BVI Beacon Newspaper Father Personal/Pleasure Information Reading: Fatherhood Reading: B VI Beacon Newspaper, Island Sun Newspaper, VI Daily News Sharing Reading to the children: Oh, The Things You Can Say, The Vei’y Hungi’y Caterpillar, Mickey and The Magic Cloak, Robin Hood, Bears on Wheels, Storiesfor One Year Olds, Barbie, The Enchanted Garden, Little Life Lessons, Character Building Stories (Life of Jesus and His Disciples) This family’s tape recorded interactions centred on a literacy game aimed at Braden and his younger sister, Faith. 1-lakeem, Braden’s older brother, provided verbal assistance to Faith when the family played a sight word card game at night and to Braden when helping him remember information. The game involved the use of cards with one sight word printed on each of them. The aim of the game was to have the children recognize sight words instantly. For example, Mrs. Roberts said a word out loud and had the children find it or he put a string of words together and had them read the sentence. At church, Mr. and Mrs. Roberts silently read the church bulletin, which gave information on the daily and weekly activities of the church and its members. They sang songs from memory and used the hymnal and Bible for songs or vocal readings of scripture, when the song leader, reader or minister directed (the latter who they referred to as “Reverend”). 61 Mrs. Evans, Braden’s school teacher defined literacy, in her interview, as knowing letter names and sounds, reading sight words, reading and writing full names, verbally expressing oneself clearly and reading books (including picture books). Mrs. David, Braden’s Sunday School teacher, defined literacy as a child’s ability to read and understand fun books by him/herself. She stated that the church “is the ideal place for character building from the Bible perspective” (G.D., personal communication, 2/23/06). While in church, she read Bible stories, the church bulletin and the Bible to and in the presence of the children. Literacy practices. Table 4 displays Braden’s interactions at home, at school and in the community; this information was summarized from interviews, voice recordings and observations and a detailed description of a day in Braden’s life of his interactions at home (night), in school and in the community (church). 62 Table 4 - Braden’s interactions across contexts Where With When What Why Whom Home Father At nights and Beach, baseball, - reinforce what goes on in weekends reading, games the classroom - encourage the children to explore new ideas - teach by example - become better readers - become better at comprehending text . -be able to recognize sight Mother Afternoons, Homework, reinforce words evenings and school work (word -learn by weekends game), singing, reading/observations discussions - explain and reinforce Christian knowledge Siblings Brother — all Video games, board - to share/be apart of each day games, playground other’s life Sister — games, read, draw, fight - to poke fun at each other morning, and argue, computer - to help with word evenings games identification School Class 9:00 a.m. Assembly, oral Students should know Teacher 3:00 p.m. speaking/recitation - letters names and sound exercise, Play Doh, - 50 basic sight words games and - names of colours manipulatives, story - numbers time - things in the classroom - 3-letter words - read grade appropriate books - read and write full names - speak and express self clearly - create accurate descriptors from pictures Community Sunday Sunday Singing, praying, - read and understand fun School Christmas concert books by self teacher, practice, giving offering, - character building from parents, class assignments, Bible perspective adults and completing Sunday other School Bulletin, children listening to oral Bible stories, reading No voice recordings in the home were provided for the morning. I believe since there are three children to get ready in the morning, there was not enough time to 63 remember to start and stop the voice recorder or position it so that taping was done of the family in the morning. When I arrived at Braden’s school at 8:30 a.m., he was playing around the swing set with his brother and other children. At 9:05 a.m., the school bell rang and all the children gathered in the centre of the school buildings for assembly. The assistant principal hosted assembly and everything was done orally without any books or any form of text. The children recited the Lord’s Prayer when told to do so. They were then directed to sing a church chorus. The assistant principal made an announcement about the school’s upcoming Christmas concert and then dismissed the children to their respective classes. The entire school was having End-of-Term examinations, so assembly was short and ended at 9:10 a.m. Once inside the classroom, Mrs. Evans told the class to recite the days of the week and the months of the year, which they did from memory. Next, the students prepared themselves for their examination, which was in fact a number of worksheets pooled together to create an examination for the children. The worksheets consisted of figures and names (numbers), making number sets, number sequencing and spelling numbers. Mrs. Evans sharpened a supply of pencils and Braden sharpened his while quietly speaking to his desk mates. Mrs. Evans distributed the examination at 9:40 and Braden did as instructed and wrote his name at the top of the first page. Mrs. Evans then began to read the directions for the first exercise and subsequently read all the directions for the test. Braden and his classmates followed silently along on their examinations as she read the instructions. Mrs. Evans only read the directions; she did not provide any other assistance. After the directions were read, the students were allowed time to complete the exercise that followed the directions. 64 Braden complied with all of Mrs. Evans’s directions and instructions. For example, after Mrs. Evans read the directions, Braden correctly read the numbers and drew the correct set of objects for the number given (e.g., six was written on the paper and Braden drew six circles in the blank spot next to it). Braden was one of the first to complete the first half of the exam at 10:12 a.m. For the last exercise in this half of the exam, Braden completed the section before Mrs. Evans read the directions to the class. Braden’s paper was collected and he was given a piece of Play-Doh. He created capital and common letters of the alphabet (e.g., L and A) with the Play-Doh. The Play-Doh was collected at 10:35 a.m. and it was break time. Braden sat at his desk and ate his snack, then went out to the swing set area and played with the other children. Break ended at 11:00 a.m. and Braden and the other children returned to class. Mrs. Evans returned the exams to the students so that they could complete the second half; however, the children were unsettled. To help the children settle, Mrs. Evans had the children do a stretching exercise while in their seat: “Hands up high and clap three times up high.” At 11:09 a.m., the children were directed to the exam and the first section was on number sequence. Again Mrs. Evans read the directions to the students, but this time she demonstrated on the board, with an example on how to complete the exercise. For example, she wrote on the blackboard “1,2,3,4, “and the children supplied the correct answer “5” and she wrote it in the blank space. Braden followed all the directions read by Mrs. Evans and completed the exam at 11:30 a.m. At that time, he was instructed to sit with his head on the desk and his eyes closed. Mrs. Evans collected his exam. At lunch, Braden ate at his desk, then went out and played for the bulk of the hour allotted. While the children were having lunch, Mrs. Evans graded Braden’s exam. 65 No data was collected during the period between lunch and late afternoon as Mrs. Evans asked that I not observe in the afternoon. Braden did not attend any after-school activities, so there was no observation to be made in that context. Braden usually took the bus (along with his brother) from school at approximately 3:20 p.m. and was dropped off at his mother’s work place. He remained there until they went home. In early evening, Braden and his siblings drove home with Mrs. Roberts, and their conversation in the car was centred on the Christian radio station the radio dial was tuned to. Braden listened attentively to the sermon playing on the radio and participated in the conversations that took place in the vehicle. He listened as questions were asked and answers given. Braden joined in the conversations when necessary to seek clarification of terms used on the radio that he did not understand. For example, he asked, “Mommy, wha he means about flesh?” Braden asked another question that related to the same radio programme, “What is unshackled?” and was provided with an explanation of the words from Mrs. Roberts. Hakeem then changed the topic and all the children asked their mother to stop at their grandmother’s house to say hello before they went to their house. They did stop, but only spent a short time there. Back in the vehicle, the radio programme was hosted by a husband and wife team and the children did not ask any questions about the programme on the 5 minutes ride to their house. This time Mrs. Roberts lead the conversation so as to organize the children once they got home. While Faith verbalized all the things she needed to do once she was inside the house, Mrs. Roberts asked Braden about his water bottle. Braden expressed disbelief for not having it and Hakeem joined in the conversation to assist Braden in remembering where he left it. As Hakeem used his BVI dialect to help, Mrs. Roberts let him know her displeasure by 66 mocking him; “Whe you had fine yuh wartah bottle?” When Hakeem spoke thereafter, he used Standard English. Mrs. Roberts also questioned Braden to help him remember where he left the water bottle. Braden remembered the last place he had it, which was by the swing set. After being told to “Bring it home,” Mrs. Roberts focused on Hakeem and asked if he had a spelling test at school. He informed her that he had had his spelling test already and he did quite well. They arrived at home and each child was reminded of his/her tasks that needed to be completed after they entered the house that evening and before they ate dinner. Mrs. Roberts, Hakeem, Braden and Faith had dinner together that night. Braden had to be called to the table, so he was the last to sit. He also did not eat all of his dinner. Mrs. Roberts, Hakeem and Faith conversed about Hakeem’s friend, Faith’s school and Hakeem’ s desire to eat out of everyone’s plate as they ate dinner. As they neared finishing dinner, Faith requested they play the sight word card game. Mrs. Roberts was tired but agreed to play. Braden did not want to play, but he was told he must by Mrs. Roberts. After cleaning up the area where they ate, Mrs. Roberts told Braden and Faith to call out any word they recognized as she placed the cards on the floor. Braden recognized the words, “am,” “four,” “play” and “blue.” Mrs. Roberts decided that she would create sentences with the cards on the floor and had the children read them. The first sentence she created, Braden and Faith read it together, “Come to play here.” They continued to read the sentences Mrs. Roberts created. Braden then complained about Faith being hugged and kissed for being correct, while he was also correct but not receiving these types of rewards. He then correctly recognized the word, “help” and he received a hug from his mother. Braden and Faith continued to read the sentences 67 created, but Braden was sidetracked by Hakeem who apparently was playing the CD ROM game Caillou on the computer. At this point, it was clear why Braden came to the table late and only ate some of his food; he was playing that same game on the computer and wanted to get back to use the computer without his siblings around. Also, Hakeem’s computer use at the time the others were playing the card game may have been a distraction for Braden as he incorrectly identified the word “we” as “me.” Mrs. Robert helped him to correct himself by pointing out the letter the word began with. The children continued to read sentences. At 7:45 p.m., Braden was apparently still distracted by Hakeem being on the computer and spoke about “sharing with others” and “taking turns on the computer.” Hakeem was not affected by the speech and did not move from the computer. Annoyed, Mrs. Roberts reminded Braden that he used his turn during dinner time. Not to be deterred, Braclen continued to protest why he should be allowed more time on the computer that night. This resulted in Mrs. Roberts putting a restriction on computer time for the children during the school week. Braden then read the last sentence, “Who will look at me” of the sight word game and Mrs. Roberts packed the cards away. Mrs. Roberts sent the children to bed. On Sunday, the children were dropped off to Sunday School which began when an elder from the church directed the children to sing choruses from memory. Then, they opened with a word of prayer spoken by the elder again without using a text. Next, the children placed their monetary offering in the baskets that were passed around and it was blessed by the elder. While the other children rehearsed the Christmas play (the children had memorized their parts), Braden looked on. Braden did not have a part in the play. Sunday School ended with a spoken prayer by the elder, and Braden and his siblings 68 joined their parents at the front of the church for service. Again, he participated as the congregation sang from memory or he looked at the hymnal when a song was chosen from there. The Minister then preached and Braden worked on activities like tracing, filling in missing letters using a key, and matching objects (example sheep) to numbers in his Sunday School Bulletin, without assistance. Braden was among the children who went to the altar when called by the Minister and listened attentively as the Minister delivered his “Children’s Message.” He sang and prayed from memory as church came to an end and left with his siblings and parents. Finally, Caleb’s literacy engagement at home and in the community is presented. Caleb Literacy definition and use. When asked their definition of literacy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith stated, “The ability to read.” Mrs. Smith spoke about household bills, purchasing a new vehicle and using the ATM machine with Caleb as examples of daily literacy activities. Recipes, school and community notices, manuals, budgets, grocery lists and books on pregnancy were also ways Mrs. Smith used literacy in the home. Mrs. Smith communicated with others through letters, notes and daily telephone conversations, as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family members on island and off. According to Mrs. Smith’s responses on the Home Literacy Index (Appendix M), Caleb viewed her as she engages in a number of literacy events such as completing a certificate course, reading pamphlets and handouts from seminars and workshops and perusing technical reports and bills, weekly. Again, reading was more frequent than writing in this home, but both were present in Caleb’s presence daily. Mrs. Smith indicated in her Read/Write (see Table 5) list that she read Archie comics, novels, the Bible and loved the 69 puzzle book, Sudukofor Dummies. Although I requested a Read/Write list from Mr. Smith, I did not receive it; therefore, I can not report on his reading and writing in the presence of Caleb. Table 5— Mrs. Smith’s Read/Write List Mother Personal/Pleasure Work Reading: Archie Comics, Romance Novels, Offshore Aert Newspaper, magazines, Dan Brown novels, Financial Times magazine cooking recipes Reading & Writing: Suduko for Dummies Storytelling Information Mother Goose stories Island Sun Newspaper, BVI Beacon Newspaper, VI Daily Newspaper Literacy practices. Table 6 displays Caleb’s interactions at home, information gathered from interviews, voice recordings and observations. No data were collected during the school day because Caleb’s class teacher did not want to participate in the study. Mrs. Smith advised me that although Caleb attended an after-school programme, she felt the teacher would not be interested in participating so I should not ask. Unfortunately, Caleb and his family joined the study the last week of the school term, so I was unable to observe him at church because he travelled to St. James on the last day of school and spent the Christmas holidays there. Following the table is an outline of Caleb’s life during the school week at home (morning and evening). 70 Table 6 - Caleb’s interactions across contexts Where With When What Why Whom Home Father Weekends, Reading, sports - be able to read simple some week (recreational), video sentences days games, TV, - to support and reinforce conversations his development Mother Mornings, Reading, writing, board - be able to read and write evenings and games, TV, simple sentences weekends conversations, spelling - to teach and sponsor his literacy development - money functions - good speech habits - responsibility and relationships in the home Caleb awoke to his mother’s gentle teasing in the morning, then tickling which evolved into a conversation about what he wanted for breakfast. As Mrs. Smith made breakfast, the conversation was filled with teasing about Caleb sucking his finger. Caleb ate his requested pancakes at the breakfast table, while Mrs. Smith packed both their lunches for the day. He answered questions about his snack preference while he ate. His mother gave directions on where he should collect his lunch and he was told to take a bottle of water to school. After he finished eating, he put his dirty dishes away, cleaned the table and went to get dressed for school. Caleb asked his mother if he could watch cartoons but Mrs. Smith told him, “Cartoon way down on the list.” He began to dress and told Mrs. Smith about his previous day at school when the class worked in the school’s garden. While dressing, Mrs. Smith sent him for his school bag so that she could look through his books. Caleb was chastised because he apparently had incorrectly copied “February” in his book from the chalkboard. He was praised, however, for not losing his pencil. His raincoat was missing, so he was scolded for that. He resumed dressing for school, while Mrs. Smith spoke on the phone for five minutes. When she was through with the call, she praised Caleb for tying his shoelaces and tightened them 71 without a comment. While tightening them, she began singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” and Caleb reminded his mother about the movie Spiderman and how Spiderman fell when it rained. Caleb was almost ready for school, but he had one task left to complete, but he could not remember what: What’s next? You have your clothes on, you have lotion on, socks, shoes, you brushed your teeth, you had breakfast. One more thing, let me see if you can remember what that one thing is. I’m not telling you what it is, cause we go through this routine every morning that I feel you should know. As this began as a game, Caleb gleefully called out “school,” “cartoons,” “bathe” and “sleep” as possible answers to what was forgotten. Mrs. Smith soon grew irritated with Caleb and decided to give him a clue and touched his head. Still in game mode, Caleb giggled and provided an incorrect answer to the clue. That brought the game to a close and an upset Mrs. Smith sent Caleb to brush his hair. She then left Caleb and got dressed for work. Caleb watched cartoons as his mother dressed, but only managed to view the last 10 minutes of Teen Titans on Cartoon Network. As mentioned previously, no data were collected during the school day because Caleb’s class teacher did not want to participate in the study. Mrs. Smith advised me that although he attended an after-school programme, she felt the teacher would not be interested in participating so I should not ask. When the tape recording commenced in the evening, Caleb was in tears because he had a minor wound on his foot and knew it would hurt when he took his bath. Mrs. Smith encouraged Caleb to be brave and he got in the tub, screamed when the water touched him and whimpered while he bathed. He played with his toy boat in the tub as 72 he bathed and broke it after a few minutes into his bath. Mrs. Smith asked what he wanted for dinner and then asked what he did in school that day. He told her he painted a blue and red car, which he called, “blue-red.” Mrs. Smith reminded him that he needed to speak clearly. He continued playing with his broken boat and started to sing. Mrs. Smith reminded him of his purpose in the tub and proceeded to outline what his next steps were, “You have to bathe, to eat and we have to see what homework we have from school even though you don’t like that word.” Caleb continued with his game in the tub and finally rinsed off, got out, packed his toys away and squeezed out his washcloth as commanded by his mother. Mrs. Smith turned the recorder off. In the next section, I examine the similarities and differences between Aidan, Braden and Caleb and the contexts in which these literacy events appear. Aidan, Braden and Caleb: Similarities and Differences In this section, I compare and contrast the literacy activities and events the three boys participated in. I then compare and contrast literacy across the three contexts: home, school and community. Literacy Perceptions. Gunn, Simmons and Kameenui (1998) posited that emergent literacy “generally, ... refers to a child’s knowledge of the forms and function of print” (p. 5). Purcell-Gates (1996) in her research on the “relationships between home literacy experiences and emergent literacy knowledge” stated that children learned that a word, phrase or clause, used in the home carried meaning, which meant “print is linguistically meaningful” (p. 420). This “intentionality of print” was borne out of how often literacy events occurred in a child’s home and the child’s participation in these events (p. 407). Aidan, Braden and Caleb’s were read to from the time they were infants 73 and this reading continued in the home while they attended formal school during the course of this study. Reading was reported as the most important literacy skill all three mothers expected their sons to possess by the end of the school year. Awareness of the function of print was developed in the home through family interactions and as the boys viewed family members reading and writing in their different roles in their homes and communities. Ms. George, Mrs. Roberts and Mrs. Smith modelled reading and writing as they performed the functions of mother, career woman and household manager in the presence of their Sons. For example, telephone, electricity and gas bills were perused and paid using cheques. Cheque books were balanced and assignments and projects related to their respective professions were worked on at home. Parents read books, newspapers and magazines for pleasure in the presence of their sons (Taylor, 1983; Taylor & Dorsey Gaines, 1988). Additionally, Aidan was present as Ms. George read and completed assignments for her college degree on the computer. Despite these activities being done consistently in the presence of the boys, when questioned about literacy forms and the functions of literacy, the boys’ answers were limited to books; workbooks, storybooks or a page from a book. I found that books were heavily emphasized as all three mothers reported they read to their sons before they were age one and at the time of the study 2-3 times per week, for approximately 30 minutes a day. Interestingly, all three boys reported that they preferred stories to come from books, as opposed to DVDs and CDs which they had a lot of at home. A list of the boy’s literacy artefacts, which were collected from parents with the exception of Aidan (see note below), in the home is provided in Table 7 and shows the types of books they read at home. Please note that 74 Mrs. Roberts used the word “favourite” when listing artefacts for Braden because she had three children living in the home. Parents read the listed books with and/or to their sons. Table 7 - Children’s literacy artefacts in the home Aidan* Books Disney books Children’s Bible Practice workbooks Colouring books Number tables Book about electric eels Games Imagination Video games *This list was compiled by me from Ms. George’s interview and the taped recordings between her and Aidan because she did not provide a list of her own. Braden List of Favourite Books: Dr. Susse Collection especially - Wacky Wednesday - Green Eggs and Ham Disney Collection Character Building Stories Little life Lessons Bernstein Bears Collection The Young Lemer’s Bible Story Book Christopher Church Mouse List of Favourite DVDs Aladdin Dora The Explorer Sleeping Beauty Clifford the Big red Dog The Incredibles Inspector Gadget Madagascar Websites (games) CDROM Caillou Indoor Games Candy Land Cards Shoots and Ladders Sorry Monopoly Dominoes Trouble Play Station 2 — Baseball Lego Caleb Books Angel Bear Off to school we go Green Eggs and Ham Storytime for 4 year olds I don’t like peas First dictionary and thesaurus Preschool sticker fun book: Shapes Animal alphabet stories Jumpstart (Kindergarten): Time and Measurement Teddybears: Opposites Read and learn with classic stories (K) The Oreo cookies counting book First steps w/Ladybird: Time DVDs Talking word factory (Leap Frog) Letter factory (Leap Frog) Math circus (Leap Frog) Lady and the Tramp II Let’s play school (Barney) Preschool songs (Cedarmont Kids) Silly song (Cedarmont Kids) Sunday school songs (Cedarmont Kids) Bible songs (Cedarmont Kids) 102 Dalmatians The Emperor’s New Grove Lilo and Stitch Brother Bear Spongebob Squarepants Christmas Shrek Shrek II Mulan Mulan II Each boy mentioned seeing a family member(s) reading books in the home. Although, all three preferred books, Aidan was the only child who initiated shared book reading as stated by his mother during her interview. This was supported in the audio 75 recordings of Ms. George and Aidan in the home. In the evening as Ms. George cleaned the kitchen, Aidan picked up one of his books and as he read it he began a conversation with his mother on the book’s content (electric eels). A: Mommy an electric eel. M: Yeah, you know what it can do? A: Shock you. [Yep] Shock your heart. Shock your heart. Although reading appeared to play a more prominent role than writing in the three families, there was evidence that all three boys engaged in a significant amount of writing, mainly of their own volition on occasion. Braden assisted his younger sister in creating and producing a short story and viewed his older brother complete homework at night. Braden’s interactions at home with his siblings was an example of Gregory’s (2001) “synergy” as these children wrote stories together and engaged in school-like literacy activities. Mrs. Smith showed Caleb, his father’s name (also Caleb) in one of the local newspapers and on his volition Caleb took a sheet of paper during our interview and began writing strings of letter and numbers in the living room. He then went and retrieved the newspaper from his mother’s bedroom and proceeded to copy and print his name from the newspaper (Figure 2). 76 Figure 2 - Caleb’s writing at home Mrs. Smith told me after the interview that she had pointed out his father’s name in the newspaper the day before, and Caleb pulled out the newspaper several times and read the section about his father. Aidan and Caleb also completed homework assignments with parental assistance. Aidan had to complete fill-in-the-blank responses to questions about his school and his family tree. Braden used the computer to complete similar exercises. Print was prominently displayed throughout the school on various signs and charts. Each boy saw the name of his school each time he travelled to and from his school. As mentioned previously, I was unable to observe Caleb in school; however, Tables 8 and 9 listed literacy artefacts in Aidan’s and Braden’s classrooms, respectively. Both tables were created by me while observing in the boys’ respective school’s classroom. 77 Table 8 - Literacy artefacts in Aidan’s classroom Table 9 - Literacy artefacts in Braden’s classroom Charts in the classroom Furniture 1. Blackboard 2. Mario, Jessica, Carmen, Lisa 3. Welcome 1. Numbers 1-100 2. Adding up 3. Ordinal Numbers 1-20 4. Short Vowels 5. Five Senses 6. My Body 7. Members of Legislative Council 8. Fun Box 9. Class Schedule 10. World Map 11. Giant Calendar 12. Pronouns 13. The Continents 14. Colours and Shapes 15. My Skeleton 16. Seeds Art Work Video 1. The Jungle Book Games 1. Look Inside The Ocean 2. Math Bingo 3. Easy Sight Words 4. The Reading Box Books 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Who will read to me — Delores Lowe Friedman Ian’s Pet — Delores Lowe Friedman Chicken Liken— Ladybird Series Jambeny - Bruce Degen George and Martha— James Marshall Max the Nosy Bear— Golden Fragrance Series Beach Fun — Brooke H. Kelly Sue likes Blue — School Zone Minnie Mouse The Guinea Pig ABC— Kate Duke Curious George Visits the Zoo— Margeret & HA. Rays The Miracles of Jesus— Leap Frog Overnight at Mary Blooms— Aliki Workbooks Mathematics — Scott Forseman & Addison Wesley World ofLanguage World of Language Teacher Resource Kit 1 World of Reading Teacher Resource Kit 1 All Through the Town Access to a Computer Room and a television and videos right across the hail from the class. Alphabet Capers Days of the Week Months of the Year Count the Numbers In the Kitchen How do you feel today Nursery Rhymes Numbers 1-100 ABC Learning Watch Me Grow Welcome Donovan, Bobby, Christopher, Suzanne In The Dinning Room I Know I Can Charts 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Bulletin Boards 1. yellow, zero, one, pencil, girl, three, books, four, red, boy, orange, five, grean, chair 2. chair, pencil, book (along with pictures of these items) 3. circle, triangle, rectangle, square (along with the actual shapes) Miscellaneous 1. Crayon Box 1. Window 2. Superman 2. Kitchen Corner 3. Mathematics Work Kit 4. Microwave ____________ 5. Fruits Snacks 6. Uniform 7. 3 6 9,12 8. BVlPhonebook 9. Workbooks 10. Copybooks 11. Yellow Paint Arts & Crafts 1. Paintings 2. Drawings 3. Crafts 78 Both classrooms had charts displayed on the walls that reminded children of basic information such as number charts, names of body parts and calendars. Students had labelled cubby holes for their backpacks and/or lunch bags. Braden’s classroom contained a word wall with removable words such as “eat,” “play,” “book” and “cup” stuck on it. It was constructed to allow words that dealt with various topics to be removed and posted with ease. Aidan’s classroom contained a bookcase with quite a number of books as listed in Table 8. In their communities the boys viewed print on a daily basis and examples of environmental print are shown in Table 10. These lists were generated as I drove from each boy’s residence to their school, church or any other noted community activity they attended. Table 10 - Environmental print list ______________________________ _____________________________ Aidan Braden Caleb Parking for Tenants Only Stop Silver Star Restaurant Absolutely No Dumping of Garbage in Freedom Happy Festival this Area Neighbourhood watch and Police Patrol Seminole STOP Texeco Mike’s Jeep & Car Rental NAPA GMC Trailblazer Seminole Trailer RVI Police Station White Squall II Hess Oil Speed Bumps Ahead Saba Rock Island Resort Church at Home Mexi’s Food Stop Patouche Charters Delta Gas station Multi-Sports Complex Aristocrat day sails STOP Irene Smith Primary School Long Islands Church No Parking to Corner Seven Wonders Hall Apartment for Rent Mary Charles Primary School SLOW Sandy Hill Primary School Apartment #1 Mooring’s Marina Inn Do the right thing Mazda Water & Sewage Slow, Children playing Sail away with us Hope’s Alive School __________________________________ Caution Speed Bumps ahead Bar: Budweiser, Coors Light, Heineken 79 As all three lived on the small island of Camanoe, it was possible that within a two week period they had the opportunity to view all the print listed in Table 10. Caleb frequently travelled to St. James because Mr. Smith lived there and a list of the print on the ferry boat he sails on to St. James is shown in Table 11. This list was constructed by me as I travelled to St. James on the same ferry. Table 11 - Environmental print II Sailing Experience Emergency Exit: Do Not Block Notice of Maritime Security Measures in effect, Level 1 Please Use Hand Rails Adult Life Jackets No Smoking Warning How to Use a Life Jacket Boat Harbour Welcome to Paradise Islands The audio recordings did not provide any examples of parents drawing their son’s attention to any environmental print. However, when the boys were given the disposable camera (as explained on pages 37 and 39-41) the pictures showed that they were able recognize environmental print as seen in Figure 3. Figure 3 included some of the items listed in Table 10. 80 92 Braden was the only child observed in the community context. At church, Braden was exposed to print in various forms that were evident throughout the church in addition to the different types of books present in church (Table 12). Figure 3 - Literacy through the eyes of boys Appendix 0 S’hrc,uh the t 81 Table 12 - Literacy artefacts in Braden’s church Posters/Drawings 1. Our church 2. Hymn 3. ‘A Potpourri of Praise and Thanksgiving’ Print 1. Altec Lansing 2. GDMC 3. Bulletin Board 4. Picture of a dove 5. 236 6. Church Bulletin 7. Sunday School Bulletin 8. Hymnals 9. Holy Bibles The conversations about literacy and later the photographs of literacy by the boys was evidence that the boys were aware of literacy outside of books and internalized what others taught them about literacy. Religion. Religion was an important part of the lives of each of the families and provided a context in which the three boys engaged in literacy. For example, as indicated in Table7, during my observations, Aidan interacted with a children’s Bible, Braden was read Bible stories and Caleb watched and heard Christian songs for children. Further, from the tape recordings, Aidan and Hakeem (Braden’s brother) sang popular contemporary religious songs in the presence of their mothers while working on homework or using the computer, respectively. Ms. George and Mrs. Roberts sang Christian songs in the presence of their sons. The Bible and church hymnals was the source for religious praises and prayers verbalized in most settings. While at school all three boys participated in religious activities as well. In the mornings, before classes began group assemblies were held. During this time the boys sang and prayed along with the other children without using texts. Braden and Caleb, 82 since they attended public school, also prayed before lunch and before they left school at the end of the school day. Although all three boys participated in religious activities, religion played a far greater role in Braden’s life at home, at school and in the community than was the case with the other two boys. Vocabulary words were added to Braden’s repertoire as he heard words used in religious contexts. For example, while in the car on their way home the Pastor on the radio broadcast used the words “flesh” and “unshackled,” and Braden asked for their definitions. M Your flesh about things that make you have, like how, like how you all concerned about eating off my cinnamon roll and although you all had your own thing you still craving and wanting my thing. That’s the flesh. That is craving things for your own self and not thinking about other people. That is selfishness. When you thinking about your own flesh. Your own self and you’re not thinking that I am hungry and I didn’t eat anything for the day. I bought you donuts, Hakeem you had your cinnamon roll, I bought myself something. You ate all of yours and then you come and ate mine. That’s selfish, that is H But I didn’t eat your’s M Didn’t? You keep aslcing for it all the time. That is selfishness. You have to think about other people and not only yourself. So it’s not like you all don’t know, I didn’t tell you about my long day, that I didn’t get to bed until after 12 o’clock, that I was up having classes all day, that I’m hungry, I didn’t eat any lunch. I told you this. But it didn’t matter to you. 83 Additionally, in the home religion was alluded to in order to assist Braden and his younger sister locate words as Mrs. Roberts, Braden and Faith played the sight word card game at night. For example, Mrs. Roberts called the word “away” and while Braden and Faith looked for it on the floor among the other cards, she sang “Away in a Manger.” Braden was the only child who was observed in a community activity and it was Church on Sunday. During church, Braden read and wrote in his Sunday School bulletin completing activities such as matching numbers, connecting dots to make a pattern and a maze directing the sheep to the Sheppard, all without any assistance. Whatever the congregation was asked to do by the person in the pulpit, Braden complied. For example, when the song leader gave the name of the song and page number (it was also displayed on the Hymn sign), Hakeem found the page in the hymnal and Braden looked on and sang. Religion dictated many of the literacy practices of Braden’s family and served as an important context for him to participate and to practice literacy skills. School literacy was consciously reinforced at the same time as the family engaged in those religious activities. Correctness. The emphasis on correctness was striking for all three boys across all three contexts: home, school, and community. For example, the parents corrected their child(ren) when they did not conform to what the parents regarded as “proper” speaking standards. Ms. George was very expressive and commanding as she repeatedly had Aidan rehearse his Harvest (church programme) and later Christmas (school programme) recitations. With commands to speak properly, clearly and loudly, she reinforced what his teacher did during the day (as the children rehearsed) and used 84 her experience as a pageant chaperone in an attempt to ensure that Aidan became the best public speaker. Mrs. Roberts did the same, while in the car one day on their way home. Mrs. Roberts asked Braden for his water bottle. Hakeem chimed in and tried to help him retrace his steps. In talking to his brother, Hakeem used his BVI dialect and immediately Mrs. Roberts repeated what he said verbatim (including tone). Recognizing the signal to not speak that way, Hakeem repeated his question to Braden, using Standard English from then on. H Whe you had put yuh wartah bottle. M (mimics H’s words and tone) Whe you had find yuh wartah bottle? H Where did you find your water bottle? Likewise, as Mrs. Smith and Caleb drove to the ferry boat, he was reminded not to speak with his thumb in his mouth because it obscured his words: “When I speak to you, I always tell you don’t put your fingers in your mouth, cause I don’t understand you.” Although, parents did not always use Standard English when speaking to their sons, they recognized and insisted that their children use Standard English, perhaps because they perceived it as a necessary tool for today’s world. Literacy tasks were brought home and parents demonstrated concern for correctness during spelling practice and writing. Ms. George checked Aidan’s school book every evening and/or in the morning. Spelling was the main focus and Ms. George commanded him to “get every one correct.” Ms. George also assisted Aidan as he completed his social studies homework. For example, “The name of my school is ____ Additionally, as she checked Aidan’s copy books she found he needed to make a number of corrections in his day’s work at school. Ms. George had Aidan rewrite the previous 85 day’s date because it was written on two lines when customarily it would be written on one; corrected the use of the wrong preposition in an assignment (“to” instead of “of’) and pronounced the words “grateful” correctly instead of”grapeful.” Likewise, while checking Caleb’s book one morning, Mrs. Smith chastised him for not correctly spelling “February” and had him write the word correctly. Again, because the term was nearing closure (among other reasons stated previously) Braden and his family recorded no homework sessions. For Aidan, the emphasis on correctness in school occurred when the students were given work to complete from a World ofMathematics textbook. Aidan could not return his math textbook to its designated space on the shelf until he fmished all the assigned exercises and they were all correct. Additionally, while Aidan and his classmates rehearsed their respective parts in the upcoming Christmas concert, Aidan was required to stand at attention while he recited his recitation and be articulate and correct in his delivery of the lines. With Braden, outside of assembly at the start of the school day, no other evidence was present in school because the class took an examination that day. No observation was done on Caleb at school. Central to the concept of emergent literacy is the notion that children’s attempts at reading and writing will be approximations and for example, children will make meaningful miscues in reading and utilize invented spelling in their writing. However, the data suggests that for these three boys, form and correctness were emphasized. Support at home. Primarily, mothers provided support at home for the boys. Parents (mostly mothers and sometimes fathers who lived in the home) consciously and unconsciously reinforced school literacy in the home. Ms. George and Mrs. Smith 86 checked and assisted with homework at night and some cases in the mornings. Ms. George helped Aidan learn his spelling words by role playing with Aidan. She told him she was now his teacher and they would be having a spelling test. He was told to sit in front of her and she called out each word and he wrote them on a sheet of paper. At his request, she graded the test and praised his good spelling ability. Mrs. Smith checked Caleb’s homework and reminded him that they were to complete it that night. Braden’s ability to recognize basic sight words was reinforced at night by the sight word card game Mrs. Roberts insisted he play along with his sister (when he did not want to). Technology was used to support literacy in the homes (see Table 7). Aidan was allowed to watch more than an hour of television per day and chose to watch Discovery Channel most evenings. For example, it appeared that the information he learned from nature shows on that channel aided him in giving correct answers when asked about animals while reading that day in school; he also appeared to recall information from his television viewing when he spoke to his mother about his book on electric eels. Caleb learned as he used his Leap Frog system on DVD to count and letter/word identification; this technology also appeared to support vocabulary development. For example, the Talking Word Factory taught vowel and consonant sounds, building words, vocabulary and rhyming while three characters visited a word factory and saw the machines churn out words. This was done amid humour as the machine acted and sang songs. Although it appeared from the responses on the Home Literacy Indexes that each boy had computer access, only Braden used the computer at home during the period of the study and Table 7 contains a list of the websites he visited. Braden’ s interests in and use of the computer appeared to support his literacy development. He not only visited 87 parent approved websites, but also played games without the assistance of his parents or his older brother (Table 7). In one instance during the study, Braden preferred to use the computer rather than eat his dinner. Braden learned to count, match and spell on websites like PBS Kids. In addition to technology, Braden played a number of games with his siblings in a more traditional format that required literacy and numeracy skills such as dominoes and monopoly. With monopoly, he not only had to be able to read the number on the die, but count the spaces on the board to move his playing piece. Then he had to read the print on the space on which his moving piece had been placed. The use of context clues was another way parents supported their son’s literacy development in the home. Although presented in different forms, the clues were important to the boys’ literacy development as it helped them remember, recognize and define words or phrases. Ms. George used sentences to assist Aidan with spelling practice. When quizzing Aidan on spelling, Ms. George called out the word “stare” and created the sentence, “I stare at you” so that he spelled the correct word as opposed to its homophone “stair.” Mrs. Roberts sang familiar gospel songs that used the word she asked the children to locate. When Mrs. Roberts called out the word “away” for the children to find, she sang Away in a manger; “yes,” I’ll say yes Lord; “down,” Go down Moses, way down in Egypt’s land” and so forth. Mrs. Smith on the other hand helped Caleb associate his experiences with new information when trying to get him to understand a new word or concept. While trying to catch the ferry boat to St. James and after leaving the ATM machine, Mrs. Smith and Caleb encountered an inconsiderate driver. Although Caleb did not ask about the situation, Mrs. Smith used the opportunity to define “selfishness,” 88 I have a ferry to catch and you here holding up the traffic. Lord, how people could get so selfish. He park in the middle of the road. That’s very selfish because when he parks in the middle, no one can pass. Comprehension skills in the home. Children who enter school with certain sets of experiences and particular “ways with words,” tend to be more successful at school than children who do not come with those experiences (Heath, 1983). Duke and Pearson (2002) identified developing/building prior knowledge, making predictions, vocabulary development, think aloud, story structure, summarization and questioning as areas that positively improve students’ reading comprehension. Aidan, Braden and Caleb were exposed to story structure, vocabulary development, think aloud, summarization, developing/building prior knowledge and questions/questioning as they interacted with others in their home environment and these will be presented in the aforementioned order (Duke & Pearson, 2002). As was evident from Table 4, Disney stories were prominent for all three boys. The boys were learning story structure as they read or viewed these types of stories. Caleb’s Disney stories came in the form of movies on DVD’s. Braden had a mixture of books and DVD’s while Aidan’s exposure to these stories were solely through books. Sharing in these stories was a social event, where the boys either viewed or shared with their parent(s) and/or siblings. These types of stories taught the boys about adversity and over coming it while providing a positive ending, as for example, “The Emperor’s New Grove.” Again in the home, parents promoted vocabulary development in various ways. Aidan learned about homophones (stare and stair), abbreviations (rec) and the definitions 89 of the words “grateful” and “cleanliness.” Apart from the sight word card game, “flesh,” “unshackled,” “distracted,” “focussed,” “selfishness,” “deception,” “forgiveness” and “eavesdropping” were added to Braden’s vocabulary as he heard the words used by others. His mother always defined the words when the children asked. Mrs. Roberts provided the definitions of these terms using terminology Braden was familiar with. Likewise, in the home Caleb was exposed to and learned the definition of words Mrs. Smith used while speaking to him. For example, “culprit,” “defeats,” “clue,” “purpose,” “assuming,” “complaining,” “antiseptic” and “shoe tote.” Duke and Pearson (2002) indicate that “think-alouds” support children’s literacy learning. (p. 215). Aidan used think-aloud as he learned to spell his spelling words when his mother was out of the room. For example, “this word is bear. This word is there. This word is ... swam. This word is de- de- dear.” Braden heard his mother when she said, “I’m looking for something” while she looked for words to create a sentence for Braden and his sister read as they played the sight word literacy game. Braden used a think aloud strategy as he tried to remember where he left his water bottle when his mother asked him for it; “swingers. Where the blue railing, that’s which part it is.” Caleb heard Mrs. Smith do a lot of think-aloud as she worked in the kitchen, in the bedroom and while in the car. The morning of travel to St. James, Mrs. Smith set Caleb’s clothes out on his bed, but when Caleb came to get dressed there was an item missing. Instead of asking Caleb, Mrs. Smith retraced her steps verbally; “I just had a brief in here for you. Where is the brief?” Through these instances children were learning to verbally work through problems, which would transfer to comprehensions skills as stated by Duke and Pearson (2002). 90 Aidan used summarization and sequencing as he told his mother one night how to make an ice pop. The easier way is to put some water in there for a long time, then in the freezer. [eh heal Then you take it out. [eh heal The you push a stick in it. [eh heal Then you put a lii juice in it to make it a flavour. Koolaid. ... Then that’s how you make ah ice pop. Mrs. Roberts had the children sum up all they had to do when they got home that night before having dinner: “pack our bags, unpack our bags, take out our snacks.” Mrs. Smith gave Mr. Smith the short version of her sister’s pending trip to St. James while all three were in the car. Aidan learned about water conservation as he used the bathroom in the morning; “Why you turning on the water for? You waste water. Turn on the, use the water how you need it. Aidan stop have it running like, like it’s a river.” As the family played the sight word game nightly, Braden was learning through repetition and would be able to identify the words when used in school and church. Caleb now had the repertoire of the use of many math based concepts like the use of the ATM machine and the process of purchasing a vehicle (Vygotsky, 1978). When using the ATM machine an individual needed to follow the directions on the machine’s screen in order to get the desired amount. Additional evidence of Caleb’s ability to make connections because of background knowledge was found as he repeated the nursery rhyme, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” with his mom. M [singing] The Itsy Bitsy Spider, went up the water spout, down came the rain and 91 C Wash the spider out M Up came the sun M/C dried up all the rain C Spiderman fall when it was raining M Yeah, he did fall when it was raining. You remember the movie. Questions were asked by the boys, parents and/or siblings as the families interacted. Not only were they learning and gaining information, they were giving information and most importantly they were learning about question types. Summary. As a result of daily interactions with adults and other children, across the contexts, the boys’ literacy development was supported and enhanced. Religious practices, whether done privately in the home or with others outside the home, supported the boys’ literacy development. However, it is important to remember that this support was done in contextually specific ways, and for example, the emphasis on correctness or on repetition probably would not occur in a middle class, Canadian family (e.g., Anderson, 1995). The next chapter will discuss what the information suggests about the boys’ literacy development and offer recommendations for stakeholders in the territory. 92 Conclusion In this chapter, the results of this study are summarized and discussed. The significance of the study, implications for parents and teachers and future directions for research are also presented. Discussion Because of the limited number of participants and the unavoidable difficulties I encountered during data collection, the reader is again reminded to interpret the results of this study with caution. Are there any similarities and differences in how family members (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins) and caregivers/teachers in this community define and use literacy? Literacy was defined similarly by parents and teachers in that the mastery of reading and writing skills were thought to be essential to the boys’ literacy development. When asked for their definition of literacy, all three mothers reported that they wanted their sons to become competent readers indicating that parents felt that the ability to read well was key to their son’s educational success. Although not identified by parents, writing was frequently used in the homes of the three boys. The study showed mothers worked with their sons on homework assignments, provided reading materials and engaged with literacy activities such as paying bills, corresponding by email, puzzles, interacting with business materials and so forth. The importance of literacy in the home in these boys’ literacy development is consistent with previous studies (e.g. Wells, 1986) that show that parents’ and a children’s interest in and engagement in literacy at home is a good predictor of subsequent school success. The parents in this study engaged in 93 literacy activities on a daily basis, and their sons did the same (sometimes with prompting and most times without). Ms. Davis and Mrs. Evans, the classroom teachers interviewed defined literacy as reading and writing, suggesting a slightly broader conception of literacy than the parents who talked only about reading. Although parents and teachers emphasize reading and writing when asked about their perceptions of literacy, analyses of the literacy practices in which they actually engaged suggest more expansive notions of literacy. For example, Ms. George read local newspapers, novels and parenting magazines but she used the computer to keep in contact with family members via email. Ms. Isaac, in her interview, stated that she read stories to Aidan, and in her living room there were over 100 books ranging from Dr. Seuss to the Bible. She also told folk tales, oral stories from the past, which were passed down from generation to generation verbally. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts also read local newspapers for information on what was happening on and around the islands, they read various inspirational books and Mrs. Roberts communicated via email and internet, messaging often with family and friends. Braden saw his siblings using the computer often to play games on approved websites and for checking email. Since Hakeem was in Class 3, he completed homework assignments at night that included spelling words. Faith liked to create/write stories, with Braden’s help. Mrs. Smith’s read “Dan Brown” novels, local newspapers, Archie comics, technical reports from work and she was a Sudoko enthusiast. As with the middle class Townspeople in Heath’s study, and the families in Purcell-Gates’ (1996) inner city study, the participants in this study engaged in a variety of literacy practices. Although the parents tended to equate literacy with reading, it was 94 obvious that they also engaged in writing on a fairly regular basis. Furthermore, a variety of genres and text formats were present in the homes of all three children. Literacy tended to be very functional in nature in these homes and was purposefully embedded in each family’s daily routine. For example, Ms. George assisted Aidan with his social studies homework assignment, did her own homework assignments by reading the text and writing a paper to be sent to her professor overseas and paid household bills like rent, electricity, telephone, credit cards. Mr. and Mrs. Roberts read Bible stories, bedtime stories and sang religious choruses with the children. As a teacher Mrs. Roberts, created and corrected assignments for her classes; as a banker Mr. Roberts worked with a lot of financial reports. Both of the Roberts parents read the Bible and dealt with bank statements, household budgets, paying electricity and telephone bills and so forth. Mrs. Smith used an ATM machine, read pamphlets and handouts from business seminars, completed a certificate course for work at home, paid household bills like water and electricity, created a household budget and wrote grocery lists. As with the families in Taylor’s (1983) and Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines’ (1988) studies, reading and writing were done for functional purposes and were framed by one’s position in life. As the children in Taylor’s study were read to and parents used literacy to relax and to organize the home, so did the individuals in this study. All the parents in this study and others mentioned that they had to balance parenthood and professional/personal ambitions. The functionality of literacy was also present at church when Mrs. Davis read and wrote from the Bible while the children prayed, sang and practiced for the church’s Christmas programme. During the service, she read, sang and prayed as directed by the Minister. 95 Literacy was prominently embedded in religion for the families. Braden and Aidan participated in various forms of literacy and learned about various types of text in religious activities in the home, through their participation in church and at school. For example, Mrs. Roberts engaged the children in singing religious choruses as they played the sight word card game. The word she asked the children to locate was the impetus for the chorus she sang. Additionally, Mr. Roberts read Bible based stories, the parents read religious texts in the presence of the children and discussions were borne out of listening to a religious radio station in the car. Ms. George and Aidan also engaged in singing religious choruses at home while cleaning the apartment and completing homework, respectively. Braden participated further in literacy activities while at church by singing choruses, hearing prayers, hymns, Bible stories and so forth. At school, all three boys sang religious choruses and prayed, at least three times a day. Aidan, additionally, practiced two religious recitations for school and church. BVI society was founded on religious principles and doctrines and today religion is still present and prevalent in daily activities. For example, prayers are still said at the start of the school day, Government begins every session with prayer, and themed weeks (such as Education Week or Customs Week) all have a church service either at the beginning or end of the celebrated week. Just as the families in Gregory’s (2001) study wanted their children to retain their cultural identity through classes or church, Braden’s family wanted the same as they attended church and used religion extensively at home. Thus religion is a context of many of the literacy practices in which the families engaged and also help define the meanings of literacy for them. 96 Accuracy and precision was also emphasized by the adult participants in the study. Teachers and parents consistently corrected “errors,” for example, conventional spelling was emphasized even though the three boys were at an age when “invented spelling” would be considered developmentally appropriate. The education climate in the BVI is not one that encourages invented spelling. Both teachers described literacy more broadly than reading and writing, but taught it using fill in the blanks and through skill and drill practice. Teachers expected children to correctly spell assigned words, complete math sums in workbooks, match words to objects and so forth. The varied use of literacy in the homes of the boys was consistent with studies such as Taylor (1983) and Taylor and Dorsey-Gaines (1988). The boys’ literacy learning was supported in the home in various ways and school literacy was reinforced and practiced. At school, literacy was more limited and narrow with a focus on workbooks and drills. Although school literacy was incorporated into the daily routines of the homes, there was very little evidence of home literacy practices being incorporated at school. March (2003) also found that although school literacy practices infiltrated the homes of the young children with whom she worked, there was a noted absence of literacy practices or artefacts from children’s homes in the nursery school. Taylor (1983) commented on this bifurcation of home and school literacy and the tendency of schools to favour decontextualized skill and drill approaches to teaching literacy as follows: If one subscribes to the position that the activities of young children must have some intrinsic relationship to their immediate situation, then the idea that reading 97 and writing should be taught as a series of skills (the traditional approach) becomes less palatable (p. 91). It is beyond the scope of this study to determine whether the dissonance between home and school literacy negatively affected the boys’ literacy development. Are there any similarities and differences in the literacy activities 5-7 year old males engage in at home, in the community and at school? As was mentioned previously, literacy used for functional purposes tended to be dominant in all three of the boys’ homes. That is, the boys saw significant others engaged in a variety of literacy tasks that entailed a range of different texts for different purposes. This finding is consistent with previous research (e.g., Bissex, 1980; Heath, 1983; Taylor, 1983; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988; Gregory, 2001; Mctavish, 2007). Literacy served to help organize the home, define professional duties, solidify educational goals, and for recreation or pleasure and thus demonstrated to the boys, the importance of literacy in everyday life. Both the informal and formal literacy activities in the home likely contributed to the boys’ literacy development. In the community and at church, literacy was also used for the functional purpose of transmitting religious doctrine to the congregation. As in most literate societies, the children were also surrounded by environmental print and community texts, in the form of signs, logos, notes and so forth. At school however, there was very little evidence of functional uses of reading and writing and decontextualized activities tended to dominate. For example, Aidan and his classmates were given an exercise where they had to cut out animals from a handout, then glue them on the correct spot on the paper under the headings ‘wings’ or ‘no wings.’ 98 While there was little evidence of literacy from the homes or community being recognized and built upon at school, the opposite was true in that school literacy was reinforced at home and at church.. For example, in addition to written homework, school-like tasks such as attending to story structure, emphasising vocabulary development, developing/building prior knowledge, thinking aloud, summarizing and questioning, were present as the boys interacted with their family at home. At church, the boys used their school literacy skills to fill in the blank and complete puzzles in a Sunday School Bulletin, in addition to scripture reading and singing hymns from the respective religious texts. The exposure to explicit comprehension skills in the home has been said to provide school aged children with an academic edge (Duke & Pearson, 2002). Environmental print was present throughout the community and outside the school buildings. In the community, all three boys viewed environmental print and because of the small size of the island, they all viewed the same ones. However, when all three boys’ were questioned on environmental print at the beginning of the study they did not appear to be aware of how much print surrounded them which suggested it was not mediated. Women played the dominant role of helping children become literate in all three contexts. In the home, mothers helped with homework, at church women were the Sunday School teachers and at school the teachers were also female. In the BVI, women have traditionally spent the most time with children at home, at church and in schools. Thus this finding is consistent with other studies that showed the central role of mothers in young children’s literacy development (e.g., Bissex, 1980; Taylor, 1983; Sulzby, 1986; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988). Of course, put differently, the responsibility for 99 educating children in this context lies with women, and some would raise questions about gender equity in this regard. However, fathers played a role by assisting and supporting the three boys’ literacy development. Braden and Caleb’s father were physically in the home and read to and played with them. Although Aidan’s father was not in the home, he bought books and greeting cards for his son. At this age, the boys’ literacy development was supported at home by both males and females; as a result the boys embraced reading, writing, speaking and listening in whatever context it presented itself, unlike their high school counterparts who rejected it at school. Researchers (e.g., Taylor, 1997; Gestwicki, 2004) have argued for the importance of reciprocity of literacy practices between the contexts of home, community and school. Religion is central in defining who these boys are and it is an important part of their identity. Because of the centrality of religion in BVI society, it serves as a meaningful and important context in which literacy is purposeful and functional and as a site where children can learn about print and its functions. Religion was important for all three families in this study and in all three contexts. During the 1700’s the island’s churches assumed responsibility for educating the people and religion was central in the curriculum. Although, schools were later built, religious education remained a part of the school’s curriculum. All that remains in the school today are scripture readings, prayers, choruses and recitations. It is important to identify, relate to and make an effort to understand a child’s true identity and his or her knowledge developed at home and in the community. Interestingly, none of the participants (i.e., parents, teachers and the boys’ themselves) appeared to be aware of the literacy events and the teaching and learning that 100 occurred in the home and community. While school-like literacy activities were evident in all of the homes, there was very little evidence of the teachers incorporating or building on the boys’ out of school literacy experiences. Summary Consistent with a socio-cultural learning theory, the findings of this study demonstrate the important roles of significant others in helping these young boys learn to read and write. Mothers in particular, play a major role both in supporting and encouraging school literacy but also by providing role models and by engaging their children in myriad literacy activities and events. Religion serves as a site or context for literacy learning for all three boys at home, in school and in the community. Furthermore, precision and accuracy are emphasized from the beginning and approximation and risk taldng are discouraged. Anderson (1995) reported a similar orientation to teaching and learning in the communities in which he worked. While this orientation is not consistent with mainstream, North American perspectives on early literacy, Clay (1993) reminded us that the value ascribed to literacy, how it is mediated, and indeed, what counts as literacy are culturally determined and vary considerably across socio-cultural milieus. Significance This study contributes the understanding of literacy development of three young boys in a specific cultural and social milieu. In particular, it examined how the confluence (or lack therefore) between home, community and school literacy practices possibly affect the children’s literacy development. Parents articulated fairly traditional and narrow perspectives about literacy, but engaged in a wide variety of literacy practices themselves and supported and engaged their children in “multiple literacies” (Cope & 101 Kalantzis, 2000). Women were the main transmitters of literacy to the boys, and men also made a notable contribution at this age. However, literacy in school was more narrowly enacted and consisted mostly of skill and drill exercises. The role of religion as a site for literacy learning and engagement was particularly important because it defined these families and the community. While the families encouraged their children to practice literacy from school at home, there was very little evidence that a child’s out of school literacy experiences were recognized or built upon at school. For example, Braden was proficient on the computer, his classroom had no computer nor was there a computer lab at the school. Additionally, religion was a major component of Braden’s life, yet at school it was only used during assembly and to bless meals because less time devoted to religious activities was mandated by Government. This study is the first that I know of that has documented the actual literacy practices of young children in the British Virgin Islands. Although the results cannot be generalized because of the factors previously discussed, the study provides insights into early literacy development in this context and thus can serve as benchmark for further work. It again demonstrates the importance of the socio-cultural context in literacy learning and shows how literacy involves social and cultural practices and not only cognitive and linguistic skills. The study should also provide important information for those involved in family literacy and for those who work in the area of curriculum development in the British Virgin Islands. It should also provide important information to teachers who wish to reflect on their own practice as they attempt to provide optimal learning experiences for all children. 102 Implications Based on the lack of data on the taping of the boys’ funds of knowledge in the school, yet keeping in mind the small sample size and the unavoidable difficulties in data collection, I propose that the Ministry and Department of Education and Culture offer professional development courses to practicing teachers and implement changes to the present teacher training program in the British Virgin Islands, especially with regard to the important roles of families and communities in supporting children’s literacy acquisition and development.. A course in family literacy with a research element will help teachers recognize the importance of home/community literacy and teach them how to use that knowledge in school to further children’s literacy development should prove beneficial. Although the data showed parents supported and encouraged literacy through spontaneous use, parents need to recognize, in order to use, the importance of home/community literacy practices and their importance in teaching their children about identity and furthering school literacy. This would best be done initially with a family literacy workshop aimed at parents of 1-2 year olds and later a family literacy program with children aged 4—6. Through such a programme, parents and children will become aware of their family/community literacy, their identity. Previous research (Purcell Gates, 2005) suggests that as parents become aware of their in young children’s literacy development, they tend to increase the frequency and the type of literacy activities they engage their children. 103 Future Research The question remains do boys at 11, 12 or 13 wake up one morning with an adverse reaction to reading and writing or does it occur sometime earlier in their lives? This study was an inquiry into the literacy practices and development of 5-7 year old males at home, in the community and at school and it showed that these boys embraced literacy activities. Although the majority of girls in my classes liked reading and writing there were a few who reacted as the boys did. It would be interesting to conduct a study using the same methods, with girls to compare and contrast the results to see if gender affects literacy practices. 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The meaning makers: Children learning language and using language. to learn. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books, Inc. Wertsch, J.V., & Rogoff, B. (1984). Editors’ notes. In J.V. Wertsch & B. Rogoff(Eds.). Children’s learning in the “zone ofproximal development” (pp. 1-6). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. Wertsch, J.V. (1984). The zone of proximal development: Some conceptual issues. In 109 J.V. Wertsch & B. Rogoff (Eds.). Children ‘s learning in the “zone ofproximal development” (pp. 7 - 18). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. http://www.ncte.orgJlibrary/files/storelbooks/sample/29676intro.pdf, March 23, 2004 http://www.unm.edukdevalenz/ -handouts/sociocult.html, March 23, 2004 110 Appendix A UBC Ethics Board Approval Certificate UBC The University of British Columbia Office of Research Services and Administration Behavioural Research Ethics Board Certificate ofApproval PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DEPARTMENT NUMBER Anderson, J.G. Language and Literacy Educ B05-0483 INSTITUTION(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED OUT Other, CO-INVESTIGATORS: Frett, Marsha Diana, Education SPONSORING AGENCIES TITLE: Snapshots: 3 Children, 3 Families - Literacy at Home, in the Community and at School APPROVAL DATE TERM (YEARS) DOCUMENTS INCLUDED IN THIS APPROVAL: c 1 July 7, 2005, Consent forms / June 22, 2005, ContactJUL 1 1 200-i letter / Assent form / Questionnaires CERTIFICATION: The protocol describing the above-named project has been reviewed by the Committee and the experimental procedures were found to be acceptable on ethical grounds for research involving human subjects. Approval ofthe Behavioural Resear/h ,thics Board by one ofthefollowing: Dr. James nkish, Chair, Dr. Cay Holbrook, Associate Chair, Dr. Susan Rowley, Associate Chair This Certificate of Approval is valid for the above term provided there is no change in the experimental procedures 111 Appendix B Letter of Introduction THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Department of Language and Literacy Education _________ 2125 Main Mall _ Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Tel: (604) 822-5788 Fax: (604) 822-3154 Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s): As a Masters student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), British Columbia, Canada, in order to obtain a degree in Literacy Education I must complete a thesis. A thesis is a paper based on original research; research which I choose to conduct in the British Virgin Islands so that it can benefit British Virgin Islanders. The purpose of the study is to learn how family and community members support the development and growth of reading and writing in male children in their first year of school. Prior to attending UBC, I taught English at the BVI High School and found that generally males were the ones who seemed less interested in reading and writing. As a result, I would like to understand why this happens so that preventative measures can be developed and implemented. In order to do this a starting point must be established, therefore it must begin with a study of young males. I would love your help in establishing a foundation of male literacy development from the family and community literacy point of view. I welcome your questions and comments and can be reached at 495-9394 or email Confidentiality is of utmost importance and will be upheld to UBC’s high standards. This is an incredible opportunity for the British Virgin Islands and I hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Marsha D. Frett Page 1/1 Email: LLED.educ( Courier Address: 2034 Lower Mall Road, Room 100 Web Site: UBC, Vancouver, B.C. V6T IZ2 Page 1/1 112 Appendix C Criteria for selection 1. Males. 2. Must be between 5 - 7 years. 3. Must be entering Stage One, the first year of primary school. 4. Must be Virgin Islanders/Belongers. 113 Appendix D Thesis Proposal Abstract Snapshots: 3 Children, 3 Families — Literacy at Home, in the Community and at School Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to document family and community literacy practices of 5-7 year old boys along with school literacy practices in the British Virgin Islands. Research Questions: 1. How do essential family members/caregivers/teachers in this community define and use literacy? 2. What literacy activities do 5-7 year old male children engage in at home, in the community and school? With whom, when, how and why? 3. What are the similarities and differences among children’s literacy practices at home, in the community and school? This case-study design research will be conducted on the island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands with three male children aged 5-7 years old. At this age, children will be entering primary school for the first time (September 2005) after completing two years of pre school education. These children will be Virgin Islanders/Belongers and will represent the diverse family structures on the island (nuclear, single, and extended). Each child will be observed for one week (at different intervals of time, throughout the day; M, W, F, S and S) in order to get a snapshot of their literacy repertoire during the school year. Observations andJor interviews will take place at home, in the community and at school. Is it important to note the relationship between what is thought and what is actually done to achieve literacy in these young male children. The relationship between families, communities and schools is another aspect of literacy that is important to document. 114 With continued awareness of families as children’s first educators, Hope J. Leichter in her article titled Families as Environmentsfor Literacy, stated that empirical data must be collected in families’ natural environment (on its own merit) in order to understand and respect what is done outside of school. As a nation where influences flood into our homes through various mediums, I think it is important to try to capture some of what makes these boys into the individuals they become and that can only be done through the recordings of family and community literacy practices. This study can be used by the Department of Education and Culture to modif’ the school curriculum in order to recognize families’ funds of knowledge in school, thereby keeping/revitalizing cultural practices and still producing educated members who will be productive in this society or anywhere in the world. 115 Appendix E Sample Interview Questions Teachers (past, present; in school and Others out) 1. What are your expectations for your 1. What do you think is your role in students’ literacy development? literacy development? 2. Describe attitude to reading 2. Must all stories come from books? and writing. 3. What activities do you and — 3. Where did you acquire your engage in that he likes the most? ideas/thoughts about literacy? Least? Why is that? 4. What materials/sources are 4. Why do you like to engage in these available for your students? activities with 5. What activities does enjoy? Dislike? 6. What do you think are the essential steps for a child’s literacy development? 7. Must_all_stories_come_from_books? Parents/Guardians Children/Siblings 1. What do you remember of you learning to read and write at home and in school? 2. What are your expectations for your child/ren literacy development? 3. How did your child/ren learn to read and write? 4. Describe your child’s attitude to 1. Do you know how to read and write? How did you learn? 2. Do you like reading and writing? Why/why not? 3. Where do you see words besides books? 4. Who do you see reading and writing? What do they read and write?reading and writing. 5. What is your child’s favourite story/book/song? 6. Give me examples of literacy materials/resources in your home. 5. What do you like to do with words? 6. What do you like to read? Write? 7. Do you think a story must always come from a book? 7. What is your source for advice on your child’s literacy development? 8. What do you think is your role in your child/ren literacy development? 9. How would you describe your literacy awareness? Your child/ren? 10. Must all stories come from books? 116  Appendix G Parent’s Interview Questions 1. What do you remember about learning to read and write at home and in school? 2. Do you think your experiences with reading and writing at a young age affects the way you interact with your kids with books and language? 3. How do you define reading in terms of your children? (for example, being able to identify words; creating a story based on pictures, etc.) 4. By your definition can your children read and write? How did they learn? 5. What are your expectations for your children’s literacy development at the end of this school year? 6. Describe your children’s attitude to reading and writing. 7. What is/are your source for advice on your children’s literacy development? 8. What d.o you think is your role in your children’s literacy development? 9. How would you describe your literacy awareness? Your children’s? 10. What is the source of the stories you tell your children? Ii. What activities do you engage with the most with your children? The least? (Not limited to school/educational tasks) 12. What activities do they engage in the most with each other? (Not limited to school/educational tasks) 13. Are your children allowed to watch TV? What programmes? How many hours per week? 118 Appendix H Home Literacy Environment Index (Modified) I am interested in finding out from parents what they believe about their children’s reading and writing and how they help their young children learn to read and write. I believe this research is important in order to help teachers, parents and others who work with young children better understand what parents do with their children at home so we can all work together to help children excel at reading and writing. Some of the questions are personal and some may appear redundant. If you don’t feel like answering a question simply write N/A. Child’s age (at December 31, 2005) Older siblings (Sex and age — living in the same house) Younger Siblings (Sex and age— living in the same house) Parents’ education: MOTHER FATHER high school or less Q high school or less Q technical or trades school Q technical or trades school Q some university Q some university Q bachelor degree Q bachelor degree D graduate degree Q graduate degree Q Parents’ profession: Do you rent or own your own home? Languages spoken in home Languages spoken by child Did your son attend preschool? Ages 1. Number of adult books in home 0-2Q 3-10 Q 11-25 Q 26-50 Q over 50 Q 2. Number of children’s books 0-2Q 3-10 Q l1-20Q 21-30 Q over 30 Q 3. What kinds of adult books? novels/fiction Q dictionaries D encyclopedia Q poetry Q how to/fix it/cook books/information/travel books Q atlas Q books of photography Q other kinds of books Q 119 4. What kind of children’s books storybooks Q dictionaries Q encyclopedia Q poetry/rhymes/nursery rhymes Q how to/fix it/cook books/information/travel books Q atlas D books of photography or pictures Q other kinds of books Q 5. Who usually reads to your son? 6. On average, how frequently does that person and your son read together? less than once a week Q two or three times per week Q less than 1/2 hour per day [] between 1/2 and 1 hour per day E more than 1 hour per day Q 7. Who initiates shared reading? Child nearly always Q Parent and child equally Q Parent nearly always Q 8. How often does your son see an adult reading? Regularly Sometimes Seldom (e.g. daily; once or (e.g. once a month) ( e.g. once a twice per week) year/never) novels/fiction Q Q Q dictionaries Q Q Q encyclopedia D D D poetry Q Q Q how to/fix it/cook booksl informational/travel books Q D D atlas D D D books of photography Q Q Q newspapers D D D magazines Q Q D online (e.g. email, WWW) Q Q Q other Q Q 0 9. How often does your son visit the library? approximately once a week Q approximately once a month Q approximately once every two or three months Q approximately once or twice a year Q seldom or never Q 10. At what age did you begin reading with your son? 4 0 3-4 0 2-3 0 1-2 0 <1 0 11. Does your son have access to a computer? 12. If so, approximately how much time does your son spend on the computer? less than 1/2 hour per week Q one hour per week Q 120 less than 1/2 hour per day Q between 1/2 and 1 hour per day Q more than 1 hour per day Q 13. Does your son watch television? 14. If so, approximately how much time does your son spend watching television? less than 1/2 hour per week Q one hour per week Q less than 1/2 hour per day Q between 1/2 and 1 hour per day C more than 1 hour per day Q 15. How often does your son spend playing the following games, per week? Game consoles Computer Handheld Board games/cards Toys Imaginative Homemade 16. Which of these types of books does your child prefer? stories C dictionaries Q encyclopedia C poetry C how to/fix it/cook books/ informational/travel books C atlas C books of photography Q magazines C other C 17. Why do you think your son prefers these types of books? 18. What do you think your son learns (or how does your son benefit) from sharing these books? 19. Why do you read with your s,n? What do you think occurs when your son is read to? 20. What are your son’s preferences for stories being told to or by him? Books C Orally from adults C Orally from children C DVDs/CDs/Videos C CDs/Cassettes C 21. Is your son exposed to oral story traditions? a. Where does he hear these stories? How often does he hear this type of story? b. Who shares these stories with him? c. Are these stories based on books or culture? 22. Reading and/or writing done in the home by adults. (Please provide a maximum of five examples where applicable or check all that apply.) 121 a. Household/Community/Financial Management Bills Statements Envelopes Cooking Cleaning Notices/fliers Manuals Order Forms Budget Shopping News Magazines Other b. Communication/Technology Letters Q Email Q Messenger Q Texting Q Notes/messages Q Postcards Q Telephone Q Other c. Work Courses Workshops/Seminars Miscellaneous (e.g. type of work brought home) 23. How would you describe your child? aggressive D assertive Q confident Q bright D good listener Q outgoing 0 shy 0 sociable 0 timid 0 122 Appendix I Comprehension Skills 1. Developing/Building prior knowledge “In both instances, students were encouraged to generate expectations about what characters might do based on their own experiences in similar experiences. This technique led to superior comprehension of the stories in which the activity was embedded and to superior performance of younger and less able readers on new stories that the students read without any teacher support” (Duke & Pearson, (2002), p. 213). 2. Making predictions “Working with fourth graders, Neuman (1988) found when that when teachers presented students with oral previews of stories, which were the turned into discussions and predictions, story comprehension increased relative to “read only” previews and typical basal background-building lessons” (Duke & Pearson, (2002), p. 213). 3. Vocabulary development “A great deal of research suggests that vocabulary and comprehension are inextricably linked. Thus, strategies related to ascertaining the meaning of unknown words, as well as general vocabulary building, are also essential to a strong program in comprehension instruction” (Duke & Pearson, 2002, p. 224). 4. Think aloud “A classic study by Bereiter and Bird (1985) showed that students who were asked to think aloud while reading had better comprehension than students who were not taught to think aloud, according to a question-and-answer comprehension test” (Duke & Pearson, (2002), p. 215). 5. Story structure “Most of the research emphasized the structural aspects of text organization rather than the substance of the ideas, the logic being that it was structure, not content, that would transfer to new texts that students would meet on their own” (Duke & Pearson, 2002, p. 216). 6. Summarization “Many children require instruction and practice in summarization before they are able to produce good oral and written summaries of text. Interestingly, research suggests that instruction and practice in summarization not only improves students’ ability to summarize text, but also their overall comprehension of text content” (Duke & Pearson, (2002), p. 220). 7. Questions/Questioning: types “... effect of asking different types of questions on students’ understanding and recall of text, with the overall fmding that students’ understand and recall can be readily shaped by the types of questions to which they become accustomed. ... Thus if students receive a steady diet of factual detail questions, they tend, in future encounters with text, to focus their efforts on factual details” (Duke & Pearson, (2002), p. 222). 123 Appendix J Categorical Areas of Literacy Knowledge ____ Jiteactr 5kzook FReathng j Covmrnity Dug Sb,ybookI id Home Iaaig ,xees of H- titexacy Literacy Epexieice Storybook I Pattexnsad L_ Eent JEene I katn Reaamg CL1tLLze c1 Soc ety Literacy Letter tow1edge I Piwnological A€nes s cmpxeIm DeV1OpAtal o Tt Stxctu F ?atterns I iioshp of PUipoeEt Speech L Fcoi of—LiteracyKnowledge of Punt 124 Appendix K Aidan’s Home Literacy Index Child’s age (at December 31, 2005) 6 Siblings None Mother Education: Some university Profession: Administrative Assistant Father Education: Technical or trade school Profession: Telephone Technician Living arrangement Rent Languages spoken in the home/spoken by English/English child Pre-school attendance Attended at age 2 Y2 Number of adult books 11-25 Number of children’s books 21-30 Types of adult books Novels/fiction, dictionaries, poetry, other kinds of books Types of children books Storybooks, dictionaries, poetry/rhymes/nursery rhymes, how to/fix it/cookbooks/information/travel books, other kinds of books Who reads to son? Mother Frequency of mother and son reading 2-3 times per week Who initiates shared reading? Child nearly often Son’s view of an adult reading: Regularly sometimes seldom Novels/fiction X Dictionaries X Encyclopedia X Poetry X How to/fix it/cookbooks/etc. X Atlas X Books of photography X Newspapers X Magazines X Online (e.g. email, www) X Son’s library visits Seldom or never Age mother began reading with son Under 1 year old Son has computer access Yes Time son spends on computer Less than 1/2 hour per week Son watches television Yes Time son spends watching television More than 1 hour per day Time, per week, playing the following games: Game consoles 1-2 hours outside the school year Handheld 1 hour Imaginative 1-2 hours 125 Homemade 3-4 hours Son’s type of books preference Stories, poetry, other — Dinosaurs & their history He likes these types of books because it allows him to imagine certain things for himself. It [these types of booksJ increases his level of creativity and feeds his thirst for knowledge of things long before us. I read to my son because I want him to become a more proficient reader. When I read to him it gives him the opportunity to learn new words and their meanings along with encouraging him to learn to read well. Son’s story preferences Books, orally from adults, DVDs/CDs/Videos Is your son exposed to oral story traditions? Somewhat Where? Home How often? Seldom Who shares? Mother Book based or culture based? Both Reading and/or writing at home by adults Household/community/financial management communication/technology work Bills letters college work Statements email office work Envelopes texting Shopping notes/messages News postcards Telephone How would you describe your son? Shy, sociable 126 Appendix L Braden’s Home Literacy Index Child’s age (at December 31, 2005) 5 Siblings Male — 9; female - 4 Mother Education: Bachelor degree Profession: Teacher Father Education: Bachelor Profession: Banker Living arrangement Own Languages spoken in the home/spoken by EnglishlEnglish child Pre-school attendance Attended Number of adult books Over 50 Number of children’s books Over 30 Types of adult books Novels/fiction, dictionaries, how to/fix it/cookbooks/information/travel books, atlas, other kinds of books Types of children books Storybooks, dictionaries, poetry/rhymes/nursery rhymes, books of photography or pictures, other kinds of books Who reads to son? Father Frequency of mother and son reading 2-3 times per week Who initiates shared reading? Parent and child equally Son’s view of an adult reading: Regularly sometimes seldom Novels/fiction X Dictionaries X Encyclopedia X Poetry X How to/fix it/cookbooks/etc. X Atlas X Books of photography X Newspapers X Magazines X Online (e.g. email, www) X Other X Son’s library visits Seldom or never Age parent began reading with son Under 1 year old Son has computer access Yes Time son spends on computer One hour per week Son watches television Yes Time son spends watching television More than 1 hour per day (weekends/vacations) Time, per week, playing the following games: 127 Game consoles 1 hour Computer 1 hour Board games/cards Y2 hour Toys 2 hours Imaginative 1-2 hours Son’s type of books preference I Stories, books of photography, other [He likes these types of books] he is able to look at pictures and related to these books. They are usually of characters he is familiar with. [He learns] listening skills are developed. He asks a lot of questions during the reading of the stories. [Son is read to because) to settle him down at night. To develop listening skills. To develop vocabulary. Son’s story preferences Books, orally from adults Is your son exposed to oral story traditions? No Reading andJor writing at home by adults Household/community/financial management communication/technology work Bills email test scripts to be Budget instant messenging marked News telephone How would you describe your son? I Timid 128 Appendix M Caleb’s Home Literacy Index Child’s age (at December 31, 2005) 4 Siblings None Mother Education: graduate degree Profession: Financial Services Regulator Father Education: graduate degree Profession: University Housing Supervisor Living arrangement Rent Languages spoken in the home/spoken by English/English child Pre-school attendance Attended ages 2 - 4 Number of adult books 26-50 Number of children’s books Over 30 Types of adult books Novels/fiction, other kinds of books Types of children books Storybooks, dictionaries, poetry/rhymes/nursery rhymes, books of photography or pictures, other kinds of books Who reads to son? Mother Frequency of mother and son reading 2-3 times per week and between V2 and 1 hour per day Who initiates shared reading? Parent and child equally Son’s view of an adult reading: Regularly sometimes seldom Novels/fiction X Dictionaries X Poetry X Newspapers X Magazines X Online (e.g. email, www) X Other X Son’s library visits Approximately once every 2 to 3 months Age mother began reading with son Under 1 year old Son has computer access Yes Time son spends on computer Less than 1/2 hour per week Son watches television Yes Time son spends watching television More than 1 hour per day Time, per week, playing the following games: Game consoles 3 hours Computer 1 hour Board games/cards 2 hours Toys 5 hours Imaginative 7 hours Homemade 1 hour 129 Son’s type of books preference Stories, dictionaries, magazines He loves making up his own stories based on illustrations in the various books. He learns how to extend his vocabulary. [I read to my sonj because it is the one bribe that gets him to bed on time; plus he loves it that there’s actually a story that goes along with the various pictures in his books. Son’s story preferences I Books, DVDs/CDs/Videos Is your son exposed to oral story traditions? Somewhat Where? School How often? At least twice a week Who shares? Teachers Book based or culture based? Both Reading and/or writing at home by adults Household/community/financial management communication)technology work Bills letters courses Statements . notes/messages workshops/seminars Cooking telephone Notices/fliers Manuals Budget Shopping News Other How would you describe your son? Assertive, bright, good listener, outgoing, sociable 130


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