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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Connecting School and Home

In this session, teachers will examine their beliefs on how parents contribute to students' literacy and their own roles in engaging parents as partners in student motivation and learning. They will discuss their own interactions with parents and explore ways they might build on existing practices.

In this session, you will investigate and apply research-based principles of home-school partnerships in early literacy.

Learning Goals

At the end of this session, you will better understand:

  • How language and culture influence home literacy
  • Challenges and opportunities in building home-school partnerships
  • Differences between home literacy and school literacy

Factors Related to This Session

  • Parent involvement at school and at home
  • Regular teacher-parent communication
  • Structured parent-teacher conferences
  • Environments supporting home literacy
  • Teacher-assigned home literacy activities
  • Cultural differences in parents’ perceived roles — for themselves and for teachers


“There are rich resources within each family. If we can find out what those funds of knowledge are we can build on them in the classroom.”

Jeanne R. Paratore

Related Resources

Parent Resources
The following brochures on home-school connections are available from the International Reading Association (

  • Family Literacy and the School Community: A Partnership for Lifelong Learning
  • What Is Family Literacy? Getting Involved in Your Child’s Literacy Learning
  • Explore the Playground of Books: Tips for Parents of Beginning Readers
  • Get Ready To Read: Tips for Parents of Young Children
  • Library Safari: Tips for Parents of Young Readers and Explorers.
  • Making the Most of Television: Tips for Parents of Young Viewers
  • Making the Reading-Writing Connection: Tips for Parents of Young Learners
  • Summer Reading Adventure: Tips for Parents of Young Readers

Professional Resources

Au, K. H. Literacy Instruction in Multicultural Settings. New York, N.Y.: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Baumann, J. F., and D. Thomas. “If You Can Pass Momma’s Tests, Then She Knows You’re Getting Your Education. A Case Study of Support for Literacy Learning Within an African-American Family.” The Reading Teacher 51, no. 2 (1997): 108-120.

Barillas, M. “Literacy at Home: Honoring Parent Voices Through Writing.” The Reading Teacher 54, no. 3 (2000): 302-308.

Delpit, L. Other People’s Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York, N.Y.: The New Press, 1995.

Edwards, P. A. “Combining Parents’ and Teachers’ Thoughts About Storybook Reading at Home and School.” In Morrow, L. M. ed. Family Literacy: Connections in Schools and Communities, 54-69. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1995.

Epstein, J. “Parents’ Reactions to Teacher Practices of Parent Involvement.” The Elementary School Journal 86 (1986): 277-294.

Heath, S. B. Ways With Words: Language, Life, and Work in Communities and Classrooms. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Moll, L. Funds of Knowledge: Learning From Language Minority Households. ERIC Digest. ED367146.

Morrow, L. M. Family Literacy: Connections in Schools and Communities. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1995.

Morrow, L. M., J. R. Paratore, and D. Tracey. Family Literacy: New Perspectives, New Opportunities. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1994.

Paratore, J. “Implementing an Intergenerational Literacy Project: Lessons Learned.” In Morrow, L. M., ed. Family Literacy: Connections in Schools and Communities, 37-53. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1995.

Purcell-Gates. V. “Stories, Coupons, and the TV Guide: Relationships Between Home Literacy Experiences and Emergent Literacy Knowledge.” Reading Research Quarterly 31 (1996): 0-428.

Shanahan, T., N. M. Mulhern, and F. Rodriguez-Brown. “Project FLAME: Lessons Learned From a Family Literacy Program for Linguistic Minority Families.” The Reading Teacher 48, no. 7 (1995): 586-594.

Teale, W. H. “Home Background and Young Children’s Literacy Development.” In Teale, W. H., and E. Sulzby, eds. Emergent Literacy: Writing and Reading, 173-206. Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1986.

Tracey, D. H. “Enhancing Literacy Growth Through Home-School Connections.” In Strickland, D. S., and L. M., Morrow, eds. Beginning Reading and Writing. New York, N.Y.: Teachers College Press, 2000.

Related Research

Edwards, P. A. “Fostering Early Literacy Through Parent Coaching.” In Hiebert, E., ed., Literacy for a Diverse Society, 199-213. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 1991.

Edwards, P. A., et al. “Designing a Collaborative Model of Family Involvement in Literacy: Researchers, Teachers, and Parents Work Together.” In Lancy, D., ed., Children’s Emergent Literacy, 325-340. Westport, Conn.: Praegar Press, 1994.

Edwards, P. A., et al. A Path To Follow: Learning To Listen to Parents. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1999.

Epstein, J. L., and S. L. Dauber. “School Programs and Teacher Practices of Parent Involvement in Inner-city Elementary and Middle Schools.” Elementary School Journal 91 (1991): 289-304.

Heath, S. B. Ways with Words. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

Moll, L., and J. B. Greenberg. “Creating Zones of Possibilities: Combining Social Contexts for Instruction.” In Moll, L. C., ed., Vygotsky and Education, 319-348. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Moll, L. C., et al. “Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach To Connect Homes and Classrooms.” Theory Into Practice 31 (1992): 132-141.

Paratore, J. R. Opening Doors, Opening Opportunities: Family Literacy in an Urban Community. Needham Heights, Mass.: Allyn and Bacon, 2001.

Paratore, J. R., et al. What Should We Expect of Family Literacy? Experiences of Latino Children Whose Parents Participate in an Intergenerational Literacy Program. Newark, Del.: International Reading Association, 1999.

Purcell-Gates, et al. “Literacy at the Harts’ and the Larsens’: Diversity Among Poor Minority Families.” The Reading Teacher 48 (1995): 572-579.

Purcell-Gates, V. Other People’s Words: The Cycle of Illiteracy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Classroom Excerpts Used in the Video

Classrooms shown in the video session are from Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices.

Becoming Readers and Writers with Sheila Owen

Cassandra Becomes a Fluent Reader with Hildi Perez

Promoting Readers as Leaders with Valerie Kostandos

Staying on Topic with Martha Duran-Contreras

William Finds His Base with Stacey Soto

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-681-2