Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Dr Marion Milton


Parents play a crucial role in their children's literacy development, and their influence on early reading attitudes is profound. Many successful programs have been developed in England, US, Australia and New Zealand to involve parents in assisting their children's reading both at home and at school, but research has also shown that there are a number of difficulties associated with instigating classroom-based programs. The purpose of this study was to investigate an existing, classroom-based reading practice program involving parents and to analyse how and whether it was successful for each participating group: that is parents, students and the teacher. The study examined how the parents, students and teacher perceived the program, what benefits or drawbacks they considered it to have, and the effects that it had on them. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire from 25 parents of children in a Year 1 class of one metropolitan Catholic primary school in Western Australia. Video observations and interviews with 4 participating parents and 6 students were carried out. The 4 parents also held a Focus Group discussion and provided written feedback on the discussion to the researcher. The final element of the data was supplied by the teacher researcher's field notes. Data indicated that all parents and children were in favour of the program and considered that the children's reading had benefited as a result. There were personal benefits to be gained by all participants from their involvement in the program, and parents' motivation for assisting changed over time. Children whose parents were not actively involved accepted the situation without negative feelings. All parents involved in the study used a range of similar feedback and correction strategies, stressing praise, encouragement and sounding out, but some had developed additional helper practices. The data showed, however, that very little discussion took place during reading sessions. Skills developed by parents in the classroom had a carry-over effect on home reading practices. Reading was more highly valued in families where a parent had joined the reading roster, and this was reflected in increased motivation in the children. All children interviewed Identified reading daily to a parent as a reason for their improvement in reading. The study highlighted the value of daily parent involvement in the classroom to ensure regular practice for every child at each individual's pace and level, and to educate parents in effective strategies to use when hearing reading. Although initial instruction was given a need for on-going parent education was identified. With this in mind it is the researcher's intention to hold more regular parent briefings in the future. Evidence also emerged to show that a single class-based program can nurture a sense of mutual support within a school community.