Parental literacy disabilities: Relation to child’s reading performance across cultures.

Parental literacy disabilities: Relation to child’s reading performance across cultures.

First Author: Nicole Banach -- Brock University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Jan C. Frijters; Melissa Nichol; Jeffrey R. Gruen; Joan Bosson- Heenan
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Studies on cultural differences and literacy performance indicate that parental factors are associated with a child’s later academic achievement. Cultural differences that contribute to reading outcomes may include the values toward contributing to extra reading activities and the specific roles for parent versus teachers in reading development. The current study examined the dynamic between mothers’ reports of their own past reading challenges and their child’s reading ability, across cultures.

Methods: 200 children (5-7 years old) and their mothers, who identified as African American, Hispanic or Caucasian were recruited. Child participants were assessed using reading measures such as WJIII, TOWRE, and GORT. Parents were asked to fill out a parent questionnaires, which included 23 questions focusing on the parental self- report of dyslexic symptoms.

Results: Overall, parent report of their own reading difficulty was negatively correlated with their children’s assessed reading skill; however, these relationships varied over racial and ethnic lines. Negative correlations (p<.05) were observed in all five of the child- assessed reading measures for Caucasian mothers (mean r= -.40), and four of the reading measures of the African American mothers (mean r= -.24). In contrast, no significant correlations were found amongst Hispanic mothers (mean r= -.08).

Conclusions: Parents reporting greater past reading problems tended to have children with lower reading scores, but these correlations varied widely across racial and ethnic communities. Our discussion will explore the cultural values and beliefs that underpin these results, and the implications for building bridges between home and school environments and children’s literacy achievement.