Handbook of Family Literacy

Handbook of Family Literacy

Handbook of Family Literacy

Handbook of Family Literacy


The Handbook of Family Literacy, 2e, provides the most comprehensive, up-to-date coverage of family literacy of any available book. It documents the need for literacy education for children and parents, describes early literacy and math development within the home, analyses interventions in home and center settings, and examines the issues faced by fathers and women with low literacy skills. Cultural issues are examined especially those for Hispanic, African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and migrant populations. Noted experts throughout the United States, Canada, England, the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, and South Africa analyze the commonalities and differences of family literacy across cultures and families. Key features include the following.

Comprehensive - Provides updated information on the relation between early childhood literacy development, parenting education, and intervention services.

Research Focus - Provides an extensive review of experimental studies, including national reviews and meta-analyses on family literacy.

Practice Focus - Provides a comprehensive treatment of family literacy interventions necessary for program developers, policy makers, and researchers.

Diversity Focus - Provides detailed information on cultural and diversity issues for guiding interventions, policy, and research.

International Focus - Provides an international perspective on family literacy services that informs program developers, researchers, and policy makers across countries.

Evaluation Focus - Provides detailed guidelines for ensuring program quality and fidelity and a valuable new evaluation perspective based on implementation science.

This book is essential reading for anyone - researchers, program developers, students, practitioners, and policy makers - who needs to be knowledgeable about intervention issues, family needs, program developments, and research outcomes in family literacy.


Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means
for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend
on literacy … Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all.…

(UNESCO, 2004)

From an educational, policy, and social viewpoint, discussions of family literacy bring together a fascinating interplay of variables, from the family’s role in the child’s education, with attendant discussions of family beliefs about children, education, and literacy, to how being an English language learner, an immigrant, a minority, or of lower socio-economic status influences one’s literacy skills. in this handbook, I have taken a broad approach to family literacy, from considerations of how literacy develops within the family to variations of family literacy services in different countries. How literacy develops within the family and the role of the home environment have been the foci of considerable research over the past several decades, with increasing evidence supporting the role of parents in children’s early literacy development. Extensive research has also provided documentation for the challenges associated with employment, health, and social adjustment for adults with low literacy skills when compared with adults with higher literacy skills. This handbook addresses the role of both fathers and mothers engaged in adult learning to advance their own skills and their ability to facilitate their children’s language and literacy development.

During the 1980s in the United States and in other countries, family literacy services began to be offered as a way of providing for parents with low literacy skills and their young children, assuming that this combination would provide advantages over independently offered and uncoordinated services. Educators, program directors, and policy makers have driven these services, based on a belief that addressing the needs of both parents and children would lead to positive outcomes for the family as a unit. the international chapters included in this handbook demonstrate that these services are inextricably linked with the country’s heritage, language, population characteristics, educational philosophies, and political positions.

The chapter authors in this handbook accepted responsibility for addressing a host of educational, social, and research issues related to literacy, from the literacy development of young children to adult education and parent education. Social and cultural factors influencing literacy attainment are also addressed, including a consideration of family literacy in other countries and how culture and political factors influence the provision of family literacy services. Authors pull extensively from diverse research efforts that include national studies and meta-analyses, as well as field-based examples, to elucidate findings on ways to enhance child and adult literacy. Research on both home-based and center-based services is also described, providing updated information on the use of these intervention strategies. Several chapters address issues essential for advancing work in family literacy, including ways of ensuring program quality, assessment . . .

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