• FAMILY LITERACY BAGS: A RURAL-APPALACHIAN APPROACH FOR PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT AND EDUCATION

      Good Overton, Ashley (Cunningham Memorial Library, Terre Haute, Indiana State University., 2017-12)
      The purpose of this concurrent, mixed-methods study was to investigate the implementation of the non-presumptuous literacy bag program as a critical component of increasing parental involvement in rural Appalachia schools related to student literacy achievement. The program was designed to increase parental involvement in book readings and related activities. The intent of the program was to encourage parents to become actively involved in their children’s literacy and to assist children to develop stronger literacy skills. In an effort to better understand parental involvement in a rural Appalachian community, I conducted a pre-program, parental involvement questionnaire in order to gain a greater insight into their own perception of parental involvement. During the implementation of the Family Literacy Bag program, weekly surveys were collected in the form of quantitative data from parents and the teacher who participated in the research study. After the program was concluded, post-program interviews with parent participants occurred to gain a better understanding of their perceptions on how the Family Literacy Bags impacted their parental involvement at home. Overarching themes emerged from the pre-program, parental involvement questionnaires and the post-program parent interviews. The themes included; (a) parental involvement is contingent on the parents’ enjoyment about their schools and communities, (b) parents’ involvement suggested that schools be conscientious of scheduling of events and time, and (c) parents provided ideas for schools to increase attendance at parental involvement events. Additional sub-themes included the following: school leaders need to be conscientious of event times in order to coordinate with surrounding schools to plan activities, schools need to offer v different event times so that working parents can attend, and schools could offer door prizes and food to help working families. Analysis of the post-program data suggested three key themes. These themes included (a) enjoyment levels of the Family Literacy bags were contingent on activities, (b) reading strategies that were provided in the Family Literacy Bags assisted parents in their children’s reading, and (c) parents felt comfortable using the Family Literacy Bag, but constricted due to the amount of time needed to complete. Subthemes included the following: weekly bags caused fatigue with parents and students, and since the Family Literacy bags were separate from curriculum, families did not see the bags as important. The weekly parent and teacher surveys provided support for the original research questions I presented. Quantitative data collection occurred through weekly parent and weekly teacher surveys. The parent and teacher surveys sought to provide answers to the following research questions: Does a passive program such as a Literacy Bag Lending Library promote a connection between schools and home? Does an intrinsically motivated parental participation program provide parents self-efficacy in helping their children succeed in school? Would a supplementary program including reading strategies intrinsically motivate parents to assist in children’s reading education? Lastly, do school stakeholders see the literacy bag program as a worthwhile tool to increase students’ academic confidence and parental involvement? A descriptive analysis evidenced that the majority of respondents felt that the Family Literacy Bags provided a connection between home and school whereas students were encourage to participate in the reading activities with their parents. Family Literacy Bags intrinsically motivated parental participation due to the excitement that their children had for the Family Literacy Bags. The Family Literacy Bags provided parents with weekly reading skills vi and guides to assist them while working with their children. The descriptive analysis evidenced that reading guides proved to be very helpful to parents. Teacher’s thought the Family Literacy Bags were somewhat effective as a worthwhile tool to increase students’ academic confidence and parental involvement. Parents suggested the literacy bags were an effective, worthwhile tool to increase students’ academic confidence and parental involvement. Implications are also included in Chapter 5 giving school leaders ideas to increase involvement from parents and what contributes to their parental involvement in the home and at school, as well as implications for future research related to this study topic.