Di Santo, A., Timmons, K., Pelletier, J. (2016). “Mommy that’s the exit.”: Empowering homeless mothers to support their children’s daily literacy experiences, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 16(2), 145-170.

Collaborative scholarship in assessment, evaluation, and knowledge mobilization

Di Santo, A., Timmons, K., Pelletier, J. (2016). “Mommy that’s the exit.”: Empowering homeless mothers to support their children’s daily literacy experiences, Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 16(2), 145-170.

Full Article

ABSTRACT: The present study examined how a six-week family literacy programme contributed to supporting the efforts 12 mothers living in a residential shelter were making to foster their preschool children’s literacy development. We compared pre- and post-programme interviews to explore whether the mothers applied the literacy strategies discussed in the programme during their daily interactions with their children. Guided by our theoretical perspective, funds of knowledge, data, were analysed through the lens of a Family Strengths Model and thus focused on how learning opportunities were embedded within the families’ daily experiences. Findings are presented under two main themes: (1) the mothers’ use of the environment as a tool for literacy teaching and (2) use of programme materials and activity ideas in the home environment. Overall, findings indicate that the mothers applied strategies they learned in the programme to their daily interactions with their children, which indicate that the families participating in this study increased their involvement in their children’s literacy learning. Our experiences with this transient population illustrate the importance of educators partnering with families, respecting what they are doing to support their children’s literacy learning, and building on these efforts by providing them with resources and ideas that support literacy learning. Consideration should be given to the types of resources provided to families living in non-permanent housing in order to maintain their access to literacy activities.

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