Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


This project focused on literacy and family-school partnerships. The purpose of this project was to show that with teacher effort and guidance, family participation in literacy activities can happen and is an advantage to student literacy achievement as well as student literacy enjoyment. This project explored how teachers and families worked together to promote children's literacy success and enjoyment in a school where family involvement was at a minimum. The specific questions addressed were: 1) How does family involvement affect student achievement and enjoyment in reading? 2) What expectations do students have about family literacy involvement? 3) How do families feel about being involved in their children's literacy success? 4) Does family reading involvement encourage student achievement? 5) What are teachers doing to promote family involvement in reading? This thesis reports a study of two groups of twenty students, all of which were in the third grade. One group was composed of students who had families who were involved in literacy activities. The other group was made up from students who didn't have families who showed much involvement. The sample groups were chosen according to monthly and weekly reading logs. The students in both groups were required to read or be read to each night for homework. The teachers requested reading logs signed by an adult family member to verify that reading had been done in the home. Twenty of the students brought back completed reading logs, signed by a parent or other adult family member. The other twenty students never returned their reading logs or brought them back incomplete. Teacher interviews were conducted to investigate strategies that teachers were implementing to promote a family partnership in literacy and to investigate their views of family involvement in the lives of their students. Surveys were taken from parents as well as students to receive their impression of family participation in the school and literacy activities in the home. Literacy tests were also conducted before and after this study to conclude the results of family participation on student performance. This thesis reports a case study that took place over a period of five months time. It is limited to just one school and can't be generalized. The findings indicated that although students and families were generally satisfied with their involvement in student literacy, teacher opinion and achievement scores did not support the same views. Although all of the students appeared to be reading at home in the third grade, the students in the group with more family involvement came to third grade reading at higher levels. It appeared that they had been introduced to books and reading at a younger age. Recommendations included: increased teacher education about parent involvement and cultural awareness, parent education for parents of both pre-school age and primary age children to learn effective helping strategies to promote literacy, preschool literacy programs, and opportunities for better communication between families and educators.


Thesis (M.A.) Institute for Advanced Studies in Education

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