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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Play, early literacy, and home culture : a case study in two Chinese immigrant families Xia, Guohong


Through a qualitative case study design, the relationships among play, early literacy, and home culture were investigated in the lives of two young children from recent Chinese immigrant families in Canada. The purpose of this study was to describe how play and literacy learning converge in the children's home life and how the children's parents' views of play and literacy learning influence their children's perception of and behaviours in their play and literacy activities. To understand the children's play lives, I draw on the theories of emergent literacy, social constructivism, and critical theory. Descriptive field notes, transcripts of the children's conversations, and in-depth interviews with parents were collected over a period of six months. This study provides evidence that play is an integrated way to early literacy learning at home from three perspectives: the literate potentials of play, play as a context for literacy learning in a specific culture, and play as a supportive medium for self construction in relation to literacy. The individual differences between the two children's play and literacy activities are explored from their family cultures and experiences. This study also reinforces the critical importance of parents' views of play and literacy learning in their interactions with their children and the effects on their children's play and literacy activities. It is hoped that the study will give parents, early childhood educators, and family literacy programme coordinators insights into how to promote young children's literacy learning and self construction through play in culturally diverse contexts. Further research directions are also suggested.

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