The PaCT: Parents, Children and Teacher Partnership in Developing ESL Literacy

  •  Madhubala Harji    
  •  Kavitha Balakrishnan    
  •  Krishnanveni Letchumanan    


Malaysia government has called for schools and parents to collaborate in nurturing the culture of reading among children, as there is no formalised programme for a more active involvement of parents in academic matters. Based on the positive results of school-home partnership of past studies, this study proposed a formalised partnership, i.e. the Smart Partnership in Reading in English (SPIRE) project. The six month project aimed to foster a partnership among the teacher, parents and children in an English storybook reading programme. It involved 25 multiracial five year old children, 25 parents and a class teacher. The parents, in partnership, with the teacher scaffold the children’s reading development by reading storybooks to the children at home. Qualitative data gathered via interviews, teacher journals and home visits showed the children largely benefited from the teacher and parents collaboration. The outcome of the study was the formation of two levels of partnerships, firstly, the formation of a teacher-parent partnership, where the teacher scaffolds the parents, who in turn scaffold the children’s development of reading skills at home. Secondly, the family partnership, where all family members, including extended family members were involved in scaffolding the children’s reading development. This partnership also positively influenced the other children and teachers beyond the participating group. Another pertinent outcome was a clear link between the levels of partnership and the children’s reading progress. The closer the parents worked with the teacher, the better was the children’s reading progress. Similar partnership can also leave conventional splits in EFL context in the past and genuine sharing of responsibilities for EFL literacy development in the future.

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