Parent-teacher collaboration: sharing knowledge to support a child's literacy development
This qualitative study explores parent-teacher collaboration by examining the understandings and practices of parents and teachers, which contribute to the literacy development of children. Semistructured interviews with parents and school personnel were used to explore the study questions: 1. How are parents involved in their child’s literacy development? 2. How do teachers support parents, and parents support teachers, in creating meaningful and engaging literacy opportunities for a child? 3. How are parents involved in the school’s collaborative process of offering additional help to a child? Findings indicate that parents are unintentionally involved in various literacy activities with their children at home; however, parents place greater value on the literacy activities that come from the school than the literacy activities that naturally occur in the home. Teachers could support parents by recommending adjustments to everyday home activities to foster a child’s literacy development. Parents tend to view advocacy as being unsupportive of the school or teacher, and do not wish to communicate ideas the teacher may view negatively. The culture of school continues to reinforce this view, and traditional schooling does not offer parents a place to advocate for their child. This study suggests that the school could empower parents in meeting the needs of a child through a family literacy initiative, and by creating a space for a parent to advocate for their child.