Bridging Home and School Literacy

Dr. Victoria Purcell-Gates

Dr. Victoria Purcell-Gates

  • Canada research chair in early childhood literacy
  • University of British Columbia in Canada
  • Studies connection between home and school literacy

Why do some kids fail to learn to read & what types of literacy are shown at home?


  • Literacy for Life (LFL)
  • worked with immigrant and refugee families in Canada
  • low-English-literate adults and prekindergarten children
  • Goal: measure the impact on literacy skill and knowledge
  • Brought real world literacy activities into instruction

Real Life Literacy

  • Examples: menus, receipts, shopping lists
  • Example: Teaching children to read a menu for snack
  • Having a purpose for reading and writing
  • More than just skill instruction and play

Policy Makers

  • This real life literacy shows more impact than just skills
  • Students need more than just skill instruction
  • We also need a way to measure real life literacy in curriculum to close the gap


  • Find out what literacy is at home
  • Not only school reading and writing
  • Examples: shopping list, newspaper, maps, signs...


  • It is simple
  • Ask: What is the text? & What is the purpose?
  • Teachers need to imitate the social context
  • Create a natural reason to use reading and writing
  • Think about using technology