Evaluating a gift for family literacy: challenges and opportunities

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


Research aims To investigate perspectives of parents, carers and practitioners concerning book gifting to socio-economically disadvantaged children aged 2 and their families in the English midlands. Relationship to previous research works Book gifting to young children has been evaluated (e.g. Demack and Stevens, 2013; Levy et al., 2014; Venn 2014; Wylie, 2014), indicating mixed success. Challenges for researchers in accessing early childhood research sites are addressed but literature is sparse (Lofland and Lofland, 1984; Murray, 2011). Theoretical and conceptual framework The paper is shaped by (a) family literacy and (b) qualitative pluralistic ECEC research approaches. Paradigm, methodology and methods A pluralistic qualitative approach framed an evaluation. Six methods were conducted with parents and practitioners from four ECEC settings: (1) documentary evidence, (2) practitioner surveys, (3) parent/carer surveys, (4) parent/carer interviews, (5) home literacy activities audit, (6) practitioner focus group. Ethical Considerations ESRC Framework for Research Ethics (2012) was adopted. No harm was done. Participants gave voluntary, informed consent to participate and right to withdraw was respected. Sensitivity to families and individuals was continually exercised. No participant is identifiable in outputs. Main finding or discussion Parents and practitioners liked book gifting. Parents said it encouraged them to share stories with their children. Practitioners highlighted its potential to enrich children’s language, social and emotional development but wanted ALL 2 year olds to receive gifts. Challenges accessing data from parents were overcome by engaging practitioners in data collection. Implications, practice or policy The resolution of issues encountered in gaining research access to young families and ECEC settings will inform research practice going forward. Findings carry messages for policymakers and practitioners concerning book gifting as a catalyst for early literacy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
EventEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA ) 25th Annual Conference - Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 1 Sep 2015 → …


ConferenceEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA ) 25th Annual Conference
Period1/09/15 → …
Internet address


  • Access in early years research
  • family literacy
  • early literacy
  • book gifting
  • qualitative pluralistic research


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