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Involving the family in supporting pupils' literacy learning
Involving the family in supporting pupils' literacy learning

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5 Supporting the literacy acquisition of travellers' children

Reading activity 1

Click the link below to open the reading Partnership approaches: New futures for Travellers by Elizabeth Jordan (PDF, 0.1 MB, 11 pages).

Partnership approaches: New futures for Travellers [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

As you read ‘Partnership approaches: new futures for travellers’, by Elizabeth Jordan, reflect on the issues Jordan raises that relate to literacy acquisition and family background. In what ways are the issues she raises relevant to your own working situation? What strategies might you use to address the concerns she raises?

In the past studies have shown that parents from every social class are often very keen to help their children with reading at home (Newson and Newson, 1977). In the UK, as Wragg et al. (1998) note:

The deterministic view that home background was the only important factor affecting children's attainment had been replaced in the 1970s by a belief that schools could make a difference. The Plowden Report (1967) on primary education devoted a whole chapter to the role that could be played by parents. Young and McGeeney (1968) experimented in London schools by involving parents in attending school functions, hearing their children read, and various other forms of participation. They found some improvements in reading performance compared with control schools where there was no such participation. Many studies of parents simply record the implementation of specific projects, while others report the teachers’ and parents’ attitudes to such studies. A few studies have been conducted on parents coming into school to help, but the majority are on parents helping at home.

(Wragg et al., 1996, p. 33)

Hewison and Tizard’s (1980) study of the reading attainment of 7-year-old working-class children in Dagenham showed that many working-class children do become competent readers. None of the parents had been encouraged by the school to hear their children read but half regularly did this. Following this study a number of research studies were set up to investigate the hypothesis that parental support at home for school-related literacy had a significant effect on improvement of children's reading.