Culturally Diverse Families
Dr. Connie Green
Appalachian State University
What is culture?
 …the roles we play, what we value, the ways
we express ourselves, our goals for
ourselves and our families, and our
relationships with others.
(Springate & Stegelin, 1999)
Families, Children, and Culture
 Family culture is the core of our beliefs and
interactions with others.
 Children develop among family, peer group,
neighborhood & school.
 Teachers should consider how culture
contributes to their interactions with
children and families.
Reading the world always precedes
reading the word, and reading the
word implies continually reading
the world.
Paulo Freire and Donaldo Macedo
Principles for working with
culturally diverse families:
Become informed
about the cultures of
the families with
whom you work.
 Become culturally
responsive toward
family relationships
and values.
Principles for working with
culturally diverse familes
Honor the language
and literacy
backgrounds of
 Incorporate culturally
diverse literature and
experiences to help
link home and school.
Become informed about the
families with whom you work.
Examine your own
attitudes and
Acquire knowledge
of child rearing
practices, gender
roles, common
beliefs, holidays, and
Visit homes.
Learn about verbal
and non-verbal
Select appropriate
multicultural books
and materials.
Honor language and literacy
backgrounds of all cultures
Show honest
appreciation of
language and speech
 Learn about home
literacy experiences.
Literacy Partnership Cycle
Gather Information on Families
Basic Family Survey Questions:
If recently arrived in the U. S., what is the family’s
country of origin?
In what language do the adult family members prefer to
What activities does the family do together?
What types of reading materials do adult family
members enjoy?
How comfortable are adults reading to their children?
What are their literacy goals for their children?
Literacy Partnership Cycle
Plan Literacy Strategies
Select literacy
 Collaborate with
families in planning
 Develop strategies
Literacy Partnership Cycle
Implement Literacy Strategies
 Inform families
 Implement
 Monitor success
Literacy Partnership Cycle
Evaluate Literacy Strategies
Gather feedback from
 Alter or retain
 Celebrate success
 Plan new literacy
Considerations when parents are
not able to read or write
 Communicate the importance of oral
 Encourage families to share oral histories,
folktales, and songs
 Model the use of wordless picture books
for families to support imagination and
 Encourage language play and dialogue
Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy
Level One: Parenting
Families are the primary
literacy environment for
their children. Teachers
can support families with
basic child-rearing
information and activities
that are complementary
with home literacy
 Literacy Portraits
 Family Literacy
Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy
Level Two: Communication
Teachers have an
obligation to engage in
both written and oral
communication with
families on a regular
basis. On-going
communication creates a
continuing dialogue
about literacy practices
that flows between home
and preschool settings.
Newsletters &
Literacy Brochures
Traveling Friend
Literacy Dialogue
Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy
Level Three: Volunteering
Working caregivers and
those who stay at home
need opportunities to
participate in the literacy
lives of their children at
daycare and preschool. A
variety of experiences
and times for involvement
will foster family
Literacy Helpers
Family Stories
Family Albums
Levels of Family Involvement in Literacy
Level Four: Learning at Home
Families vary in their
perceptions about
literacy, their home
routines, and the ability to
work with their children.
Teachers need to suggest
home literacy activities
that are relevant to the
children and families with
whom they work.
Home Visits
Home Learning Activities
Family Lending Library
 Lily, E. & Green, C. (2004). Developing
Partnerships with Families through
Children’s Literature. Pearson.
 Ordonez-Jasis, R. & Ortiz, R. W. (2006).
Reading their worlds: Working with diverse
families to enhance children’s early
literacy development. Young Children, 61
(1), 42-48.

Culturally Diverse Families - Appalachian State University