Chapter

Literacy in the Early Years

Volume 17 of the series International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development pp 63-78

Date:

“You Guys Should Offer the Program more Often!”: Some Perspectives from Working Alongside Immigrant and Refugee Families in a Bilingual Family Literacy Program

  • Jim AndersonAffiliated withDepartment of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia Email author 
  • , Ann AndersonAffiliated withDepartment of Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia
  • , Nicola FriedrichAffiliated withDepartment of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia
  • , Laura TeichertAffiliated withDepartment of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

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Abstract

In this chapter, we report on a bilingual family literacy program with 500 immigrant and refugee families of 3 to 5-year old preschool children from four different linguistic groups in the Greater Vancouver Area of British Columbia, Canada. We situate the work in socio-historical theory and draw on notions of intersubjectivity or shared understanding and additive bilingualism - the concept that there are benefits in maintaining one’s first or home language while acquiring a second or additional languages. Drawing on an analysis of focus group sessions, the Parents’ Perceptions of Literacy Learning Interview Schedule (Anderson, 1995), and field notes, we report on families’ perceptions of the benefits of the program, concerns and issues they raised, and changes in their perspectives of literacy learning over the course of the project.