Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy ETDs

Publication Date



This study presents the results of a fifteen-month research project conducted with a group of Latina (Mexicana) immigrant mothers who took part in an after-school family literacy program that was grounded in a participatory approach to education. This family literacy program emphasized a strengths perspective by acknowledging the rich resources that all families bring to their children's school experiences. The research explores the experiences of the families, mostly mothers, who participated in this family literacy program and examined how their participation impacted their personal literacy development, their children's academic experiences, and their involvement in the school and broader community. During family literacy meetings, mothers participated in a variety of socially-constructed, culturally relevant activities that revolved around whole-group discussions, children's multicultural (bilingual) literature, guest speakers, and the construction of Heritage Albums. These activities engaged mothers as they developed essential skills that supported them as they became more active in their children's education. Implications of this study acknowledge the many benefits of family literacy programs that are firmly grounded in a social-constructivist, participatory approach to education. Additionally, the substantial amount of effort and planning that these programs require are acknowledged and suggestions are offered to educators who are interested in designing and implementing programs that honor families' personal style of literacy.


Family literacy programs--New Mexico, Mexicans--New Mexico--Languages, Biculturalism--New Mexico, Language and culture--New Mexico, University of New Mexico--College of Education--Family Literacy Program

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Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy

First Advisor

Noll, Elizabeth (Betsy)

First Committee Member (Chair)

Martinez, Rebecca Blum

Second Committee Member

Pence, Lucretia (Penny)

Third Committee Member

Flores-Duenas, Leila