Parents' roles and perceptions of early literacy development in well-resourced environments

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Literacy research in South Africa and other developing countries has for the most part focused on poorly resourced environments and literacy practices in lower socio-economic communities. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of parents in early literacy development in well-resourced homes in South Africa. The study was aimed at investigating parents' roles and perceptions of early literacy development in well-resourced home environments The study presents survey data from a large cohort of parents as well as observations and in-depth interviews with a smaller group of eight families. This study was conducted in a peri-urban area in the Western Cape and engaged parents whose children were in reception year classrooms. The research evidence shows that reading success does not necessarily occur through the use of a variety of resources but that it needs to be mediated and modelled by parents in the home to have significant outcomes. The study finds that the parents' perceptions and approaches only partially reflect what is envisaged to be good reading habits. The time constraints and pressures on parents today impact on literacy practices and restrict them from spending sufficient quality time engaged in these practices with their children. Finally the study shows that although children are exposed to books, television and computers in the home environment it does not necessarily ensure proficient and interested readers.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 95-105).