Family factors in family literacy programs in Taiwan




Tsai, Hui-Mei

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of family factors and family involvement in family literacy programs in Taiwan. The 617 participants consisted of five principals, nine schoolteachers, three local library heads, and 300 parent/grandparent and child pairs, the latter aged 3-8. Five questionnaires, 339 children's book logs, 17 interviews, and observations during 30 family visits were employed to gather data. Principal-component analysis, analysis of variance, and a grounded theory approach were utilized to analyze the information gathered, The 208 families in the 8-week home-school reading program and the 131 families in the follow-up 7-week home-library summer reading program were asked to read children's books provided by the school or borrowed from the local library, to record book logs on a daily basis, and to complete questionnaires. The participating principals, teachers, and local library heads were interviewed. Results showed that no one single factor in this study determined all of the outcomes and benefits of the family literacy programs, although several family factors (e.g., children's age, parental education, occupation, and gender) had statistically significant effects on some aspects of family involvement such as families' typical and favourite reading activities, and encouragement of children's participation in the programs. Families' commitment to reading with their children was a salient factor in involvement in the family literacy programs. The participating children read with their family members, tutors, and friends. Most of the parents reported that their children had positive attitudes toward reading after participating in the family literacy programs. Principal-component analysis revealed four factors of perceived benefits from the programs: social skill-related benefits, literacy-related benefits, action-related benefits, and cognition-related benefits. Families who had participated in a previous family literacy program reported more positively about the outcomes of the programs than other families. Choral reading was found unexpectedly in family literacy practices. The parents' active correction of their children's oral reading and their concern about their children's reading skills and comprehension abilities suggest that family involvement in the family literacy programs may be related to their high expectation of their children's academic achievement. Four types of family involvement in family literacy programs emerged and a theoretical model of family factors was proposed.



family literacy programs, reading, parent participation, Taiwan