Mother-Child Literacy Activities and Early Literacy in the Israeli Arab Family

O. Korat, D Aram, S Hassunha-Arafat, E Saiegh-Haddad, Himat Haj-Yahia Iraki

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Our chapter focuses on the language and literacy development of Israeli Arabic-speaking kindergarten children within the context of their family. We researched two different literacy activities: storybook reading and joint word writing. The chapter presents results of the contribution of these activities, as well as socio-economic status (hereafter, SES) and home literacy environment (hereafter, HLE), to children’s literacy level in kindergarten among Israeli Arabic-speaking families. A total of 109 kindergarten children and their mothers participated in the study. Children’s literacy level was assessed in kindergarten. Mothers and children were videotaped at home during a book reading activity and in a word writing activity, and demographic and HLE data were gathered from the mothers. Mothers showed low to medium levels of mediation in the bookreading activity by focusing mainly on paraphrasing, and in the writing activity by mainly naming the letters and providing a model for copying. However, while the results from the writing activity followed Bronfenbrenner’s three-layered ecological model (SES, HLE and parental mediation) as expected, reading showed a contribution only from the two first layers, SES and HLE. We conclude that the linguistic gap between the spoken and the language of literacy, Standard Arabic (or Literary Arabic) poses difficulties and may be confusing for the mothers in mediating the written language across literacy activities, reading and writing. Our study points to the importance of the family’s HLE and SES for children’s early literacy. Future studies should emphasize how to best design family intervention programs so as to maximize children’s literacy growth within the Arabic-speaking family.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Arabic Literacy
Subtitle of host publicationInsights and Perspectives
EditorsElinor Saiegh-Haddad, R. Malatesha Joshi
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)978-94-017-8545-7
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-8544-0, 978-94-024-0310-7
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2014

Publication series

NameLiteracy Studies
ISSN (Print)2214-000X
ISSN (Electronic)2214-0018


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