Measuring Parental Literacy Beliefs in a Socio-Economically, Linguistically and Ethnically Diverse Sample

E. Krijnen*, R. Van Steensel, M. Meeuwisse, S. Severiens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research Findings: The current study examined the use of a newly developed instrument for measuring parental literacy beliefs in a highly diverse urban Dutch sample of 35 parents, participating in a family literacy program. The instrument was used to explore a new conceptualization of parental literacy beliefs and associations between beliefs and parental demographic characteristics. Data were analyzed using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The instrument revealed that parents in this sample preferred meaning-oriented and facilitative practices to stimulate their children’s literacy development, in which understanding the meaning of language and print is seen as the starting point in literacy development and in which teaching occurs indirectly, in an embedded child-centered approach. Parental preferences were associated with a variety of beliefs. Parents who did not speak Dutch, the majority language, with their children were more inclined toward directly instructing their children compared to parents who did speak Dutch with their children. The instrument proved to be effective in exposing the nature of and nuances in parental literacy beliefs in a diverse sample. Practice or Policy: Our newly developed instrument can be used by professionals working with family literacy programs to gain insight into the literacy beliefs of diverse groups of parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-635
Number of pages28
Issue number4
Early online date7 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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