Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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The voices of Samoan parents and their children: home reading practices and home-school connections

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posted on 2021-11-14, 09:16 authored by Valentine, Sarah

This thesis investigates Samoan parents and their primary school aged children’s experiences and perceptions of learning to read and the role this plays in home reading practices. A key purpose was to investigate what can be learnt from Samoan born parents regarding their cultural values and understandings around learning to read. Gaining understandings of the influences and experiences these parents have had when learning to read in Samoa would provide insights into the home reading practices being used with their own children. By examining the parents’ cultural values and practices, possible connections or disconnections between home and school reading practices can be drawn.  While home and school partnerships are deemed to be important in New Zealand primary schools and by the Ministry of Education there needs to be improved understandings of the cultural values and practices that are taking place within many Samoan households regarding reading instruction. The valuing of these practices also needs to be considered with the understanding that there are diverse forms of literacy across cultural communities. The focus has been on how school reading practices can be implemented into the home environment rather than what can be learnt from home practices. This thesis has aimed to amend this by acknowledging and giving voice to Samoan born parents through discussing their own reading practices and experiences, and the influence this has had on the strategies they use when reading with their children.  Pasifika students’ learning and achievement within New Zealand schools has been identified as a key priority for the Ministry of Education. The recent Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017 (Ministry of Education, 2013) has outlined specific goals and targets aimed at improving Pasifika educational achievement that include establishing stronger connections between home and school for Pasifika learners. If connections are to be made the influence of social and cultural factors on students’ learning and achievement needs to be identified and valued.  The methodology used was qualitative in design. A case study approach that integrated a socio-cultural perspective and the practices of Pasifika research methodology were used to allow for literacy to be seen as social practice where peoples’ views, values and experiences are used to enhance understandings of the role social and cultural factors play within education.  Data collection was through Talanoa1 individual interview sessions with five Samoan born parent participants individually. Two Talanoa sessions were held with each parent. The parent participants’ eldest children were then interviewed in pairs. The voices of the participants were used to gain insights into cultural perceptions of reading practices within school and home contexts. The parent participants’ knowledge of school reading practices was also sought. The research data was analysed by using Rogoff’s three planes of analysis (1995). Rogoff’s framework was used to interpret the key themes as they relate to the connections and/or disconnections between home and school reading practices.  The research findings indicate that strong cultural reading values and practices are in place for these Samoan parent participants. The practices being employed have been formed from their own experiences and memories of learning to read as children, in Samoa. These reading practices are based on the cultural values and actions that have been previously identified in literature on Samoan literacy (McNaughton, Amitanai-Toloa & Wolfgramm-Foliaki, 2009; Duranti & Ochs, 1993; Duranti, Ochs & Ta’ase 2004; Tagoilelagi, 1995; Tuafuti, 2000). As parents, these participants have continued to use these reading strategies and practices with their own children in New Zealand. Another key finding was that the parent participants’ knowledge of school reading practices in New Zealand was found to be limited. This finding in combination with the cultural home reading practices being employed has strong implications for home and school connections between Samoan communities and primary schools within New Zealand.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Education

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


Dickie, John