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Family Literacy: A Cornerstone in Funds of Knowledge

Involving community in literacy - Iliana Reyes


One of the guiding principles of CREATE is that educators explore and learn about families’ funds of knowledge. Families are invited to share their family stories (funds of knowledge) and to participate in various literacy events in which ECE pre-service teachers, the CREATE team and families become engage in sharing optimal practices to support early literacy to children. Our goal is to change the nature of the relationships between faculty, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and families making them more collaborative and reciprocal.

Our work, along with previous research, shows that when family members are invited and become involved in their children's learning, two important things happen: children are more motivated and teachers and parents form positive relationships that foster their children's development. The model to support early literacy and biliteracy in our project are Literacy Tertulias (social gatherings with literary or artistic foci that are common throughout Ibero-America) that engage parents and family members in helping and supporting their young children’s literacy and biliteracy development.

Particularly, we have organized literacy evenings together with our partners in the local early childhood centers. The questions we are pursuing are documenting the ways in which both pre-service teachers and families can engage in mutual learning and knowledge exchange about literacy in order to identify optimal practices that can be applied in contexts working with linguistically and culturally diverse young children.

Although much effort has been expended in developing intervention programs to help improve the early literacy and school readiness skills of young children, our approach is to transform early literacy education by re-designing all experiences and projects that are part of our courses in the early childhood education undergraduate program. We want to know what kind of experiences ECE pre-service teachers consider the most valuable, and how this new knowledge learned from families is transformed and translated into teaching practices. This is not always easy to achieve, as families ‘background funds of knowledge are interpreted according to pre-service teachers’ own background experiences. We are beginning our work on early literacy to bridge between ECE program faculty, pre-service teachers, in-service teachers and families. We invite you to share about your own experiences and ideas as an educator, service provider, or family member on how such relationships and collaborations could be improved in order to support young children’s early literacy and biliteracy development.

Nov 14, 2011 09:55 PM | Comments (0)
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