Of the 64 reviews, 6 are focused on parents and/or the home environment as central to literacy development. The articles were published between 1980 and 2003, and all emphasize the importance of parental involvement in children’s literacy development. In particular, all six reviews discuss the benefits of parents and children reading together. In fact, two articles are devoted solely to joint book reading. The importance of providing a home environment rich in literacy materials is also emphasised in these reviews.

Bus, A.G., Van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65(1), 1-21.

When parents read with preschoolers they help their children to increase their vocabularies, learn skills needed for literacy success, and in the end become better readers. Children who enjoy the benefits of reading with their parents also become better writers. Best of all, the research shows that the benefits of reading to children spans socio-economic borders, and sets the stage for future academic achievements.      



Cook, V.J. (1980). The influences of home and family on the development of literacy in children. School Psychology Review, 9(4), 369-373.


Family and the home environment are key players in a young child’s development. The influence of these factors specifically on literacy can be separated into the influence of the physical home environment, of the home “ecology” (which includes factors such as socioeconomic status, family and parent characteristics, etc), and of family interactions. In the physical environment, the availability and variety of printed materials in the home was associated with early reading. In home ecology, socioeconomic status showed a relationship with reading, seemingly as a result of the less positive attitudes towards the educational experience held by lower status families. Children of educationally motivated parents achieved the highest intelligence and reading achievement scores regardless of socioeconomic status, and adult-modeled reading also seemed to be an important part of a literacy-promoting home ecology. Finally, family members, particularly parents, affected their children’s literacy development through their child-rearing practices and by the quality of their style as “teachers” of their own children.       




Fitton, L., & Gredler, G. (1996). Parental involvement in reading remediation with young children. Psychology in the Schools, 33(4), 325-332.


Parents can contribute greatly to the development of their children’s reading skills. Parental involvement increased children’s knowledge of letters and printed words, was more effective than extra small group reading time in school, and children who were read to frequently by their parents performed better on reading tests. Teaching parents specific instruction techniques can increase the effectiveness of the time they spend reading with their children.   




Morrow, L.M. (1985). Developing young voluntary readers: The home - the child - the school. Reading Research & Instruction, 25(1), 1-8.


Despite widespread agreement about the value of students developing lifelong reading habits, many children spend little of their free time reading for pleasure or information. What conditions encourage children to read voluntarily? At home, create a literacy rich environment with daily shared reading time, limited television viewing, access to library materials, and parents as models of leisure-time readers. At school, create a literacy rich classroom environment with voluntary reading a regular part of the curriculum.




Pullen, P. C., & Justice, L.M. (2003). Enhancing phonological awareness, print awareness, and oral language skills in preschool children. Intervention in School and Clinic, 39(2), 87-98.


There are three skills children need to develop before they can learn to read. They need to recognize the sounds that make up words, they need to understand the function of printed words, and they need to recognize and use a wide range of words when they speak with others. This article describes research on numerous activities that parents and teachers can use to help preschoolers develop these skills, including rhyming games, shared storybook reading, and the use of story-time props.    




Scarborough, H. S., & Dobrich, W. (1994). On the efficacy of reading to preschoolers. Developmental Review, 14(3), 245-302.


Is there an association between reading to preschool children and the development of language and literacy skills? Research findings suggest that frequency of parent-preschooler reading does promote children’s language and literacy skills. However, this association does not seem to be as strong or straightforward as is generally assumed. Indeed, there is no clear indication that shared reading in the preschool years is a critical factor in literacy development. Additional research is needed to determine more precisely the influences of early childhood literacy and language experiences, skills, and attitudes on each other and on the development of literacy and language abilities. Future research efforts should consider directing more attention to identifying and promoting other ways of enhancing children’s preparedness for literacy development.




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