Family Literacy: Developing a framework for practice

Lána McCarthy

    Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


    This study explores the experience of participants involved in three family literacy programmes in Ballymun, Dublin delivered by youngballymun. It looks at the concept of family literacy programmes and their role in combatting educational disadvantage in areas of socio-economic need. Family literacy programmes in Ballymun are delivered through a partnership approach between schools and youngballymun. This qualitative research used a constuctivist grounded theory approach. Data was generated and analysed through a systematic process of coding, categorisation and the development of core themes grounded in the participants’ lived experiences of the programmes. The first research element was a questionnaire followed by ten qualitative interviews, which explored with the Home School Community Liaision Teachers (HSCL), and participants of the family literacy programmes their reasons for attending, their experience of the programmes and any changes in practice as a direct result from the programmes. Five significant themes emerged. The first theme is “Barriers to participation” which describes a range of different reasons why parents can find it difficult to participate in family literacy programmes. The second theme “Overcoming barriers to participation” describes the approach recommended for teachers to engage parents from areas designated as disadvantaged. The third theme “Teaching–learning environment” describes the elements recommended to create a fun learning environment for participants. The fourth theme “Cultural shifts between home and school” describes the changes in participants’ relationship with the school and their children as a result of attending the programmes. The fifth and final theme is “Transformational learning” which describes the changes in participants’ lives as a result of their participation on the programmes. These themes were developed into a family literacy framework for Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) teachers and family literacy teachers. The framework, summarised through the acronym SPACES, clearly describes key concepts needed to engage, retain, develop and support parents development of their children’s literacy skills. The findings of this research demonstrate that family literacy programmes can bridge the gap between parents’ knowledge and know how and the learning that occurs in the family literacy programmes can support parents, children, schools, and society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • O'Grady, Maeve, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


    • Family literacy


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