This study examined the relationship among parents' literacy beliefs, home literacy experiences, and children's literacy skills. Forty-three children, who attended a university preschool, and their parents participated in the study. Parents' literacy beliefs and the home literacy experience, namely shared book reading, were examined through a self-report questionnaire. One important section of this questionnaire provided information about parents' beliefs concerning literacy acquisition; specifically, whether they believed in a top-down or bottom-up approach. The children were tested individually for emergent literacy skills, including concepts of print, alphabetic knowledge, rhyming skills, oral language skills, word recognition, and invented spelling. The results were analyzed using multiple linear regressions and hierarchical linear regressions to determine whether there is evidence of a relationship among literacy beliefs, home literacy experiences, and children's emergent literacy skills. The present study found support for a connection between parental beliefs, measured through their behaviors, and child outcomes. Children whose parents had a top-down literacy perspective (meaning-based orientation), measured by knowledge of children's book titles, had higher receptive vocabulary skills than children whose parents had a bottom-up (skill-based) literacy belief. The implications for parents, early childhood educators, and teachers are that literacy educational programs may need to focus both on teaching parents new literacy behavior as well as on developing beliefs about literacy acquisition.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Teacher Education



Date Submitted


Document Type

Selected Project




early childhood literacy, parent beliefs, home literacy