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Bilingual Family Literacy Practices


Bilingual children represent the fastest growing student population in US public schools. Thus, the goal of this dissertation is to develop a rich understanding of bilingual children and families and their home experiences before entering kindergarten. It seeks to understand the connection between family literacy practices and bilingual children’s early skills (oral language, literacy, and numeracy). Four major foci are considered: (1) background characteristics of bilingual families, (2) family literacy practices, (3) parental aspirations of children’s educational attainment and parental expectations of children’s skills at kindergarten entry, and (4) their unique contributions to early skills. Findings show that while bilingual children and families were disproportionately low-SES, they frequently engaged in family literacy practices, and parents exhibited high expectations for their children’s educational attainment and skills. Family literacy practices were important for children’s early skills development. Parental expectations mattered to a smaller extent compared to literacy practices. These findings are important for educators, researchers, and policymakers whose work centers on better understanding and supporting bilingual students and by extension their families to navigate the US school system.

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