31 SES 08, New Developments In Home Literacy Environment Research: Relationships with Reading Enjoyment, Parental Literacy Beliefs, and the Impact of New Media
In this large survey study, we examined the home literacy environment (HLE) of 452 third- to sixth-graders (age range: 6 to 13 years). The first aim of our study was to examine how parents’ own reading habits and their children’s reading habits predicted the home literacy activities that parents engaged in with their primary school children. Second, we were interested to find out whether these home literacy activities contributed to children’s reading enjoyment. Previous studies have shown that enthusiastically reading parents who believed that reading was important had children who enjoyed reading as well (e.g., Baker & Scher, 2002; DeBaryshe, 1995). However, not much is known about children’s HLE after the preschool and kindergarten years. Therefore, we took the higher grades of primary school as our target sample. Parents completed questionnaires to assess the literacy activities they engaged in at home with their children, such as talking with their child about the book he/she is reading. In addition, we examined parents’ own reading habits to determine whether they were enthusiastic or non-enthusiastic readers themselves, and their perception of their children’s reading habits to determine whether their child could be categorized as an enthusiastic or non-enthusiastic reader. Analyses showed a significant interaction between parents’ and children’s reading habits when predicting home literacy practices. This seems to indicate that parents adjusted the home literacy activities to their children’s reading habits: non-enthusiastically reading parents who perceived that their child was enthusiastic about reading engaged in as many home literacy practices as parents who were enthusiastic readers themselves. In contrast, parents who were enthusiastic readers themselves, yet who perceived that their child was a non-enthusiastic reader engaged in significantly fewer home literacy activities. To address our second aim, we examined how the HLE activities were related to children’s self-reported reading enjoyment. We selected a subset of 89 children of participating parents to assess their enjoyment of leisure reading. Our regression analysis showed that home literacy activities indeed predicted children’s self-reported reading enjoyment. Overall, this study implies that parents of primary school children are sensitive to their children’s reading behavior and reading enjoyment and that they adjust their home literacy activities accordingly. Our study also shows that even in the higher grades of primary school, parents can contribute to their children’s reading enjoyment by engaging in literacy activities with them at home.
Baker, L. & Scher, D. (2002). Beginning readers’ motivation for reading in relation to parental beliefs and home reading experiences. Reading Psychology, 23(4), 239-269. DeBaryshe, B. D. (1995). Maternal belief systems: Linchpin in the home reading process. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16(1), 1-20.
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