Family Literacy: Program effects and implementation quality Roel van Steensel Kohnstamm Institute for Educational Research University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands Goal • Short overview of recent review studies on effects of family literacy programs. • Discuss implications for research, practice, and policy. Some context • The role of the home environment: – Children learn from exploring, observing and taking part in literacy activities at home (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Some context • The role of the home environment: – Children learn from exploring, observing and taking part in literacy activities at home (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Some context • The role of the home environment: – Children learn from exploring, observing and taking part in literacy activities at home (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Some context • The role of the home environment: – Children learn from exploring, observing and taking part in literacy activities at home (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Some context • There is variability in frequency and quality of literacy activities at home. • This variability is related to: – Socio-economic status. – Ethnic/cultural background. (E.g., Bus, Leseman, & Keultjens, 2001; Van Steensel, 2006) • However, there is no 1-to-1 correspondence (Van Steensel, 2006) Some context • To stimulate the quality of the home literacy environment • Family literacy (FL) programs Parent-child activities Parent training Family literacy research • Past two decades: various studies into effects of FL programs. • Meta-analyses (quantitative reviews of effect studies). • Review of reviews (Van Steensel et al., 2012). Observation 1 • FL programs are effective (see also Carpentieri et al., 2011) … Observation 1 • FL programs are effective (see also Carpentieri et al., 2011) … • But not for all families. Small(er) effects for: – African-American/Hispanic children (Manz et al., 2010). – At-risk children (Mol et al., 2008; Van Steensel et al., 2011). Observation 1 • Possible explanations: – Programs (mainly shared reading) assume interaction skills that may not be present. – Programs may not reflect the value system of participating families. • Sénéchal & Young (2008): effects for at-risk children of a skills-based approach. Observation 2 • We know little about implementation quality of FL programs and its relation with program effects. Observation 2 • Implementation quality/program fidelity (Powell & Carey, 2012): – Delivery: is the intended content offered and how? Frequency and quality of parent training. – Receipt: is the intended content received and how? Parents’ attendance and understanding of training. – Enactment: is the intended content transferred to children? Frequency and quality of parent-child activities. Observation 2 • Meta-analysis Van Steensel et al. (2011): – 12 of 30 studies provided information on implementation quality. – Mostly superficial measures. – Only 1 study: systematic observations of activities. – No analysis of moderating effects of implementation quality. • Paradox: implementation quality is likely to be crucial! Implications 1. For research: a. We need to know more about implementation quality, particularly in at-risk families, and how it is related to program effects. b. We need to know more about what types of programs are (in)effective for what types of families and why. c. We need to conduct more studies on a European level. See also Carpentieri et al. (2011). Implications 2. For practice and policy: a. Invest in FL programs and tune FL activities to activities in (early) education. b. Maximize cultural validity: (mainstream) educational goals of FL programs should be connected with families’ value systems and programs should be tuned to families’ language situation. c. Involve communities in program development and implementation as well as in reaching parents. See also: Blok et al. (2006), Carpentieri et al. (2011), Manz et al. (2011), Van Steensel et al. (2012). Example from the Netherlands • Large-scale research project around “Early education at home” (VVE Thuis) program: – Program: • • • • For toddlers and kindergarteners. Combined family- and school-based program. Materials in Dutch as well as in home language. Support by teachers and (to some extent) by ethnic community support staff. – Research (2012-2016): • Study into program effects. • Study into implementation quality and moderating effects. • Intensifying program with ICT-based activities. Thank you! Contact: [email protected] References Blok, H., Fukkink, R. G., Gebhardt, E. C., & Leseman, P. P. M. (2005). The relevance of delivery mode and other programme characteristics for the effectiveness of early childhood intervention. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 29, 35–47. Bus, A., Leseman, P., & Keultjes, P. (2000). Joint book reading across cultures: A comparison of Surinamese-Dutch, TurkishDutch, and Dutch parent-child dyads. Journal of Literacy Research, 32, 53-76. Carpentieri, J., Fairfax-Cholmeley, K., Litster, J., & Vorhaus, J. (2011). Family literacy in research: Using parental support initiatives to enhance literacy development. London: NRDC, Institute of Education. Manz, P. H., Hughes, C., Barnabas, E., Bracaliello, C., & Ginsburg-Block, M. (2010). A descriptive review and meta-analysis of family-based emergent literacy interventions: To what extent is the research applicable to low-income, ethnicminority or linguistically-diverse young children? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25, 409-431. Mol, S. E., Bus, A. G., De Jong, M. T., & Smeets, D. J. H. (2008). Added value of Dialogic parent-child book readings: A meta-analysis. Early Education and Development, 19, 7-26. Powell, D. R., & Carey, A. J. (2012). Approaches to program fidelity in family literacy research (pp. 387-400). In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family Literacy. Second Edition. New York, NY: Routledge. Sénéchal, M., & Young, L. (2008). The effect of family literacy interventions on children’s acquisition of reading from kindergarten to Grade 3: A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 78, 880-907. Teale, W., & Sulzby, E. (1986). Emergent literacy: Reading and writing. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Van Steensel, R. (2006). Relations between socio-cultural factors, the home literacy environment, and children’s literacy development in the first years of primary education. Journal of Research in Reading, 29, 367-382. Van Steensel, R., Herppich, S., McElvany, N., & Kurvers, J. (2012). How effective are family literacy programs for children’s literacy skills? A review of the meta-analytic evidence (pp. 135-148). In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family Literacy. Second Edition. New York, NY: Routledge. Van Steensel, R., McElvany, N., Kurvers, J., & Herppich, S. (2011). How effective are family literacy programs? Results of a meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 81, 69-96.