Context and Implications: Home language, school language and children’s literacy attainments
NAG S., Vagh SB., Dulay KM., SNOWLING M.
For many children, the language of the home differs from the language of instruction in school. In this paper, we examine the implications of such a disconnection in home–school language for literacy development along with considerations of the language and literacy environment in the home. The current literature on the topic is limited in two ways: first, it primarily focuses on the home environment prevalent in high-income countries; second, a synthesis of the evidence drawn from quantitative and qualitative frameworks of research is missing. Our review addresses this gap by examining evidence from low- and middle-income countries (sometimes called ‘the majority world’) and presenting the converging evidence derived from multiple and mixed methodologies. Specifically, we investigate attributes of the home (the place of dwelling of the child), which lead to positive language and literacy outcomes in preschool and primary school-age children in low- and middle-income countries. We focus on three key attributes (books-at-home, home tutoring and adult literacy practices) and synthesise descriptive, correlational and causal evidence related to the disconnection between home–school languages. We build an evidence base that may be of interest to both researchers and interventionists who design programmes for school and community settings. For instance, the ethnographies show that interactions around print is generally low, but more so when family members are not fluent in the school language, and the intervention studies show that programmes that specifically target the connection between home and school language and provide parents the training and strategies to engage with literacy materials have the most success in supporting children’s literacy attainments.