Preschool literacy and home-school links in Pakistani origin bilingual families in the United Kingdom
Although much is now known about preschool literacy development as a part of family literacy and how it can be linked to school literacy, there has been virtually no research into these issues in relation to bilingual families. The study reported in this thesis aimed to explore the nature of family, literacy and how school can collaborate with families to enhance the literacy development of preschool children in the case of Pakistani origin bilingual families in an inner city community in the north of England. Findings from a family literacy survey of 30 bilingual children with preschool children showed that all parents were interested, and most were actively involved, in children's preschool literacy. Most said they were ready to collaborate with school to enhance their child's literacy development. Observations of Qu'ranic classes showed how older siblings' literacy learning for religious practices might impact on family literacy. Based on the survey, a 12-month preschool literacy programme was designed and offered to a random selection of eight families with three-year-old children. The aim of the programme was to enhance children's literacy at school entry. All families agreed to take part. The thesis describes the programme rationale, how it was implemented in the families' homes and evaluated through qualitative and quantitative methods. Programme parents reported benefits for their children and themselves. Programme children clearly gained, in comparison to a randomly selected control group, in terms of a measure of early literacy development. The implications of findings from the programme evaluation and the earlier family literacy survey are discussed in relation to practice, policy and theory.