Naturally, children in this world always learnt from the older people around them through daily life practicing and acting. Accordingly, children who were successful readers have seen adults' model literacy behaviors, been read to, and interacted with capable and literate family members in various literacy practices (Xu, 1999).
Home literacy practices are the parental provision of literacy-rich environments that include, having reading material in the house such as books, newspapers, storybook reading, completion of school homework, coloring and drawing, and watching TV program that also have text ( Xu, 1999). The above home literacy practices promote young children's literacy development by providing them with safe a friendly place, that is, the home, in which children can explore how reading and writing functions to as well as its conventions.
As mentioned above, the role of parents and guardians is important in promoting literacy. If parents can help develop their children's literacy they will be doing something very important because literacy is a basic need of all people around the world. People throughout the modern world cannot live properly without literacy. So, countries facing with illiteracy have been trying their best to develop literacy skills for their people.
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An estimation of literacy levels in Cambodia, shown that there 36% of the population is literate in terms of being able to use their literacy skills for ordinary life and income generation whereas another 36% of the population (approximately 2.6 million adults) are illiterate and 27% are semi-illiterate (1.9 million adults). Consolidating these two figures indicates that 63% of the population's literacy skills are under the functional level. Thus the approximate number of people living in Cambodia is about 8.8 million, a report of UNESCO/UNDP (as cited in Rosenbloom, 2004 ).
As mentioned above the majority of Cambodia people still need improvement on their literacy skill. What are the factors that contributed to the development of poor literacy skills? Of course, the education system in a country is an integral part of promoting reading ability for its population literacy, especially children. However, school engagement alone does not guarantee student literacy; it needs involvement from students' families in supporting children as their learning to read (Kay Wright, 2007).
Parents' assistance in developing their children's literacy practices at home after school is an important part in building their capacities in subjects which children are learning at school (Auerbach, 1989). In Cambodia, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) requires all children to attend school to at least grade 9 so that at least they will be able to read and write. This has been widely promoted to parents or guardians so that they send their children to school and play an important role in improving their children's reading and other academic abilities (Article 31 of Education Law, 2007). As a result, more and more parents send their children to school both in rural in urban places of Cambodia. Some parents, since they are well aware of the important of education for their children, also help their children to learn at home while some other parents who have enough resources invite teachers to help teach their children privately at home. However, some parents are busy with making their living and have low literacy skills. They find it difficult to help their children with their reading and cannot afford to pay for extra teaching for their children. Therefore, most of children depend only on their study at school.
Home literacy practiced by parents or guardians is needed for promoting children literacy.
When children are surrounded by caring, capable parents, and are able to enjoy nurturing and moderately competitive kinship relationships, a foundation for literacy is built with no difficulty. Such people provide children with the security they will need for desirable learning. It also helps children develop positive associations with the flow of story language and with the physical characteristics of books. ( Holdaway, as cited in Shu Ya Zhang, 1995, p. 1).
Actually, the amount of time a child is at home during a day is longer than at school. So, children really needed support from their parents or elder siblings to develop their reading abilities or literacy skills. Children who read story books and other reading material at home are likely to be able to develop their general reading abilities as well (Xu, 1999).
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There is little available research of the impact of 'parents' contribution to children's literacy in primary school in Cambodia. With the silence in the literature on parent's involvement in the development of their children's literacy, it is difficult for those who are interested in encouraging the development of parental involvement in their children's growth in literacy in Cambodia to base their practice on research findings.
I.4. Research Question
-What are parents' beliefs and practices in regard to helping their children value and develop their reading?
-What problems limits parent's involvement in helping their children with reading?
I.3. Significance of the research
Parents are the ones who provide care and concern for their children and the ones who support children with food and other necessary requirements. Moreover, education that is started well at home with the assistance of parents is better than education at school only (Shu Ya Zhang, 1995). The study is important in seeking the reasons why parents help children develop their reading skills at home to the extent they do. This study begins to fill a gap in the literature as very little has been written on this topic in Cambodia. The information in this study can be of help to policy makers and ministry of education youth and sports or parents in general who are residing in the country to help their children to learn to read beside school.
In the process of seeking literature for this paper I review both international and national sources. Some of materials used for the literature review were found in the Hun Sen Library of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. Other material was collected from books, articles, and research reports about home literacy from popular website of MoEYS (Ministry of Education Youth and Sport), UNICEF (United Nation Children Fund), UNESCO (United Nation Educational Scientific Organization), and Google Scholar.
The relevant materials in the literature search were divided into three significant areas. Firstly, parents/guardians behaviour and practices toward children's literacy development. Secondly, the belief of parents about the role they can have in promoting their children's reading ability. Finally, is the focus on what limited parent's involvement in helping their children with reading?
This literature review is categorized into the three main themes (practices, beliefs, and limitations) on home literacy which were described in the key concepts above and those themes or categories have been used to shape the structure of this chapter. A discussion of the literature review written in contexts outside of Cambodia is followed by a review of material that focused on the Cambodian situation.
International Literature Review of Home literacy Environment
Parents/guardians practices regarding children's literacy development
Home literacy practices including shared book reading frequency, maternal book reading strategies, and child's enjoyment of reading. The study measured the quality of the home literacy environment and its impact on the language and literacy skills of the children.
A literate home means more than just having books and writing materials on hand. To be effective, parents need to plan for how these materials will be used. According to experts, the best approach is to set up a specific family reading area. This sends children a dual message: (1) reading is an important value in this family and (2) everyone in this family-no matter their age-reads.
The specific home literacy practices showed reasonable to enormous correlations with each other and only a few significant associations with the language and literacy outcomes, after controlling for maternal education, maternal reading skills. The measurement of overall awareness and support of the home learning environment was the solidest predictor of children's language and literacy skills. It also contributed over and above the specific literacy exercise measures in predicting children's language and literacy development.
The belief of parents about the role they can have in promoting their children's reading ability
An article titled Hispanic Father-Child Sociocultural Literacy Practices by Olivia N. (Saracho, 2007) studied the beliefs of parents in supporting children learning at home. According to Saracho, many white American parents believe that education provided at school can improve their children's chances in life. Specifically, Hispanic fathers usually because of economic factors, which they spent most their time in communicating to the world outside home and family, they have been found to participate less in educating their children. As a result, many Hispanic children do not profit from parents' involvement in supporting their learning at home.
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Active involvement by fathers and mother is one methodology to expand the Hispanic children's overall education. The hope is that a dialogue will be developed between Hispanic parents and the schools to promote more family involvement that will finally affect the children's educational success (Saracho, 2007).
Review of the Cambodian Literature
Literacy is an important factor in quality of life; it can improve one's livelihood, skills and abilities, and help maintain peace. Key challenges remain for Cambodia, including reducing the disparity of literacy rates among different groups. The adult literacy rate of Cambodia was 77.6 percent, but there was a wide gap between male 85.1 percent and female 71 percent. The gap is even wider between urban dwellers 90.4 percent and those in rural areas 74 percent. Minority groups, too, struggle with literacy. The progress in literacy has slowed the need to strengthen the process. And teachers say they worry as well. "Among my 24 students in Grade 6, there are six students who cannot read," said Ros Tith Malay, a teacher at Boeung Traboek primary school. Those who cannot read often come from poor homes or live with domestic violence, she said. Many girls and boys only attend lower level classes, but they soon fall out of the system. The the education system finds it difficult to achieve good quality. However, MoEYS now are prepared to publish new books to make it easier than before for children to read and write (Sakada, 2012).
What limited parent's involvement in helping their children develops their reading?
Families/parental constraints, low levels of literacy among schoolchildren reflect equally low levels of literacy among parents. The solution is not merely to provide schools with institutional support, but also to target the children's families through the provision of adult literacy program. At the same time, parents should be allowed to act as partners in their children's education. Moreover, policy constraints, is a need to link the program to a clear national literacy policy (UNESCO, 2005).
A combination of quantitative and qualitative tools will used in the research to give a broad view of how parents in support their children to develop literacy skill, and a depth of understanding as to what limits the home literacy practices. The key elements would be used for the process of the research is given below (SEDECA, 2011).
The research study is conducted in the form of case study. The students who are studying general education in W primary school of Leuk Daek District in Kandal province, parents in that area, and teachers and school master who are teaching and working in W primary school will be invited to participate in this study. Totally of 120 students will participate in this study and they will invite from difference grade (40 students from grad 4, 40 students from grade 5, and 40 of them from grade 6). Moreover 5 teacher, 1 school master, and 20 students parents will also invited to do focus group discussion.
This research intend to use three methods for the study (1) survey through questionnaire, (2) survey through interviews, and (3) through focus group discussion because it could provide more real information, convenience, fast, economical and less time. The researcher communicate with school leadership team in the area to process the three kind of approach, so it is easy to conduct and the participant are available and volunteer to participate in the study. The focus group discussion will provide an opportunity for students, teachers, parent and school master to reflect upon their experience with a special emphasis on the challenges that they have encountered.
The survey will be conducted to give good accuracy. A sample size of 24 ( 5 teachers, 1 school master, 10 students' parent, and 8 student from difference grade) will chose for two time focus group discussion meeting, 10 students' parents will use for the household survey, and 112 students in W primary school will invited to answer the questionnaire survey.
Data Collection Tools
Focus Group Discussions
Focus groups will be conducted with a wide range of participants by two separate teams. Each team consisted of twelve people including teachers, school mater, students' parent and student themselves .The focus group discussions were carried out with the following groups:
School support committee member
School master and teachers
Each group consisted of 8-12 people purposively selected to give a range of age, sex, and other criteria. Question guides will be developed for each group; the group discussion will be recorded in detail, then would be summarized and translated into English.
Key Informant interviews will also conduct with the relevant stakeholders, namely parents, teachers, school directors, district education office, and students.
A questionnaire will develop for the interview, which lasted 30-80 minutes. The answer will be recorded in detail then summarized and translated into English.
The survey will be prepared earlier to allow greater time for review and translation.