Parent involvement in literacy instruction: Perceptions and practices of Hispanic parents of children with learning disabilities

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Jeanne Shay Schumm, Committee Chair


The purpose of this investigation was to interview Hispanic parents to determine their perceptions and practices with respect to home reading and writing activities. Of particular interest was how parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) and of average/high achieving children (AHA) would respond to interview items. Participants included 80 Hispanic parents (40 parents of children with LD and 40 parents of AHA children) who had children in grades 3 through 5. Interview questions addressed four issues: types of activities children do at home; types of activities parents perceive as desirable and feasible to do; facilitators and barriers parents face when implementing activities; and satisfaction of their children's reading and writing programs. All participants were telephone interviewed in Spanish. Nonparametric statistical procedures were used to analyze responses related to Likert-type scale items. The constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was used to summarize data from open-ended questions.Results after using the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon statistic indicated there were no statistically significant differences between parent groups in ratings of frequency and desirability of activities, and only one item in ratings of feasibility and statistically significant difference. Results of the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test statistic indicated that there were statistically significant differences between desirability and feasibility ratings for 3 activities for the parents of AHA children and for 13 activities for the parents of children with LD. Analyses of the open-ended questions revealed that Hispanic parents of children with LD reported using a wide variety of reading and writing activities on a regular basis, but experience frustration in helping their children at home. Although parents of both groups were satisfied with their children's reading and writing programs at schools, parents wanted professionals to provide more communication and specific suggestions for them to help their children at home. The discussion focuses on implications of findings for development of parent workshops and for future research.


Education, Special; Education, Reading

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