UBC Graduate Research

Home sweet home : home support and the development of early literacy skills Gaylord, Danielle


In the current this project, I explore the issues of children who struggle in terms of their early literacy skill acquisition, and how to support the development of these skills in the home environment. By examining this topic through the lens of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory, I highlight the importance of the nature and quality of interactions between a young child and a more-knowledgeable other (MKO). Motivation and self-determination theory also suggest that a child’s level of interest is paramount in regards to their participation and level of engagement in literacy activities. In this project, I conduct a review of relevant literature that indicated that the types of support provided at home to children who struggle with the development of their early literacy skills play an important role in the development of these early literacy skills. More specifically, the instructional quality of parent-child dialogue, both in literacy-based activities such as shared reading as well as in everyday conversation, is related to the development of children’s early literacy skills. The affective climate within parent-child literacy experiences has also been found to be associated with children’s reading motivations. Furthermore, the presence of older siblings who serve as MKOs and the literacy-based activities that young children engage in with these MKOs provide opportunities for rich and enjoyable learning experiences. Lastly, there are different types of reading materials that expose children to rich language and increase children’s motivation to engage in literacy activities. In connection with this project, I have created a website describing how the development of children’s early literacy skills and various types of support provided in the home environment are related. I provide parents with a summary of relevant research and I also put forth recommendations for parents and educators to promote the development of children’s early literacy skills.

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