“No peeing on the sidewalk!”: Family literacy programs in culturally, linguistically, and socially diverse communities

Jim Anderson, Ann Anderson


The purpose of this article is to reflect on three decades of working in family literacy initiatives in diverse communities. We review the literature on children’s emergent early literacy development and family literacy and describe the conceptual framework, including socio-cultural theory, cultural models of learning and ethnotheories, culturally responsive pedagogy, and bilingualism and first or home language maintenance. We also describe the development and evolution of the various projects and their contexts after which we share some of the key things we learned from working with families and communities, including challenges. In conclusion, we highlight key insights garnered from this body of work for various stakeholders including teachers.


Family, diversity, culture, family literacy, early literacy, bilingualism, first language, families, culturally responsive pedagogy

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