Year of Publication

2013

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Cheryl Fountain

Third Advisor

Dr. Katrina Hall

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Judy Rodriguez

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel

Abstract

Hispanic children in the United States are more likely to fall behind in several literacy measures even before they enroll in prekindergarten programs. There are some structural and non-structural factors that have a direct impact on Hispanic children’s early literacy skills. Among the non-structural factors this mixed-method study explored Hispanic caregivers’ beliefs about education as well as their literacy practices at home.

The study compared two groups: diverse Hispanic caregivers with 4-year-old children enrolled in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK) and diverse Hispanic caregivers whose 4-year-old children were not enrolled in VPK. A total of 125 diverse Hispanic caregivers responded to two surveys: the Parental Reading Belief Inventory and the Adaptation of the Stony Brooks Reading Survey. Twenty Hispanic parents were later interviewed to better understand their beliefs about education as well as their literacy practices at home. The surveys and interviews revealed playing games, drawing pictures and looking at books with their children were the most common literacy practices in which Hispanic caregivers engaged. All participants in the study stated how much they value their children’s education. Some, particularly caregivers whose children were participating in VPK programs, were more likely to engage in their children’s education and experience fewer barriers to reading at home.

Country of origin played an important role in differentiating Hispanic parents in their beliefs about education as well as in their literacy practices at home. From the diverse group of participants in the study, Mexican caregivers were less likely to perceive themselves as playing a key role in their children’s education and they also shared experiencing more barriers in their literacy activities when compared with parents from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Overall, enrollment in VPK was dependent upon the type of barriers to reading activities that Hispanic parents experience as well their country of origin.

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