Home Literacy Environment and English Language Learners’ Literacy Development: What Can We Learn from the Literature?

  • Zihan Shi University of Victoria


Intended for educators and researchers in the field of early childhood
education working with children from immigrant families, this article
first briefly addresses the relationship between home literacy environment and English language learners’ literacy development in both their heritage language and English. Second, through surveying the literature, I identify three different areas in which a home literacy environment influences English language learners’ literacy development: (a) through language attitudes and parental beliefs; (b) through identity formation; and (c) through literacy behaviour of immigrant parents. Some helpful strategies learned from the literature are provided for educators to use with newcomer families in support of children’s literacy development.

Author Biography

Zihan Shi, University of Victoria
Zihan Shi is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria. Zihan’s research interests are second language acquisition, English language learners, literacy development, heritage language maintenance, and home literacy environment.