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Sociocultural Early Literacy Practices in the School and Home Context: The Role of a Digital Library


This mixed-methods study explored TK-2 students’ literacy experiences in school and home in regards to their use of print books and the digital library, myON, as part of their repertoires of practice. This study is broadly based in language socialization theory and operationalized through the cultural communities framework presented by Rogoff (2003). There is a literature base that exists around early literacy and the importance of connecting literacy development with the home through family involvement. The existing literature around e-books shows the promise of increased literacy proficiency when using e-books along with concerns regarding equitable access, distractibility, and the appropriate use of screen time.

School and home survey and interview responses about the daily practices of 208 student participants at one elementary setting revealed a variety of literacy and technology practices in the school and home. The findings revealed a strong digital infrastructure in the school context; however, some students did not have access to technology at home because they did not have Internet. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) analyses revealed that the overall myON hours varied across student usage, which was in part explained by a nested structure in which the classroom teacher had the largest effect on myON usage followed by grade. The higher the grade level of the student, the more likely students were to integrate a digital library into their routine practices. Teacher and parent reports revealed that both traditional and digital resources were integrated into their classroom and home literacy practices. Teacher participants used reading homework as a mediator to communicate ways that parents could support their children’s literacy development. Further, the classroom teacher had the largest effect on student myON usage within classroom, homework, and home practices because the teachers’ literacy practices influenced what activities students engaged in while in school and at home. Findings from this study regarding how participants used a digital library as part of their daily routine can support the development of effective and culturally sensitive 21st century literacy practices that draw from the experiences of children’s families and educators. Implications of the study are also discussed.

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