Family Involvement at Home: Increasing Literacy Achievement of Diverse At-Risk Kindergarten Students

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Michael W. Heikkinen, Ph.D.


This study explored the use of family literacy workshops, followed by practice at home, and its effect on student achievement. Participants were 255 diverse, at-risk, kindergarten students and their families from 11 Title I urban elementary schools in the Northwest United States. This study used a nonequivalent control-group design. Students in the experimental group and their families attended workshops and received information, training, and activities to help promote and support literacy at home. Scores on the spring State Reading Test (SRT) were analyzed using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) procedure with winter SRT scores as the covariate and the treatment condition as the independent variable. Results from the ANCOVA showed a significant difference in achievement between the experimental group and the control group (p=.002). This finding is consistent with research that reports providing families with well-designed, targeted literacy activities and the knowledge on how to use those tools to support literacy at home results in increased literacy achievement.

Pre and post parent surveys were examined to determine if participation in the literacy workshops resulted in increased parent-child academic interaction at home. Pearson's Chi square revealed a significant difference before and after the workshops in one area, reading aloud with children. No significant differences were found in the amount of time parents spent writing, working on letter identification, or working on letter sounds after the workshops.

Four one-way ANOVAs compared spring SRT scores to the following demographic variables: mother's education, father's education, mothers' weekly hours of employment, and fathers' weekly hours of employment. There were no significant effects found between any if these demographic variables and spring SRT scores.

Qualitative data, gathered from the post surveys, showed parents were very positive and supportive of the workshops. Forty-seven percent volunteered to join their school's Partnership Action Team to promote further family involvement. One hundred percent stated they would attend similar workshops when offered.

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