Korean Immigrant Parents' Involvement in Children's Biliteracy Development in the U.S. Context

Korean Immigrant Parents' Involvement in Children's Biliteracy Development in the U.S. Context

Hyesun Cho (University of Kansas, USA), Kwangok Song (University of Kansas, USA) and Ji-Yeon Lee (University of Kansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3955-1.ch017
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Drawing on the experiences of Korean immigrant families in the United States, this chapter highlights the importance of parental involvement in the bilingual literacy development of young English language learners. Findings of two projects on Korean parents' engagement in Korean and English language development at home are presented. These findings yield several insights into Korean immigrant parents' perspectives of and experiences in supporting their children's biliteracy development. This chapter suggests not only the importance of parental role but also the teachers' role in bilingual literacy development among young children. Suggestions for educators to support immigrant families to enhance their children's biliteracy learning are provided.
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According to the American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015), approximately one million Korean immigrants live in the United States. Historically, Korean immigrants have come to the United States for political, economic, military, and educational reasons (Min, 2013). Korean immigrant students, like other Asian immigrant students, are often depicted as model minorities due to several characteristics, including academic achievement, respect for teachers, and seemingly very few academic challenges. Furthermore, Korean immigrant parents, like other Asian parents depicted in the media, are also often viewed as having a high expectation for their children and makeing considerable efforts to offer support for their children’s learning. Therefore, this chapter explores how first-generation Korean immigrant parents in the U.S. conceptualize their roles in supporting their children’s heritage language development and academic learning. More specifically, this study aims to provide insights into Korean immigrant parents’ perspectives of their efforts and decision making on everyday literacy practices to support their children’s biliteracy development.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Ethnographic Approach: A research method for qualitative study of people and culture in order to explore and describe cultural phenomena of a group.

Constant Comparative Approach: A data analysis method in which any newly collected data is constantly compared with previous data that was collected throughout a study.

Multi-Case Study: A research study on multiple cases to understand the similarities and differences between the cases and to be aimed to generalize conclusion over several units.

Semi-Structured Interview: A data collection method for a qualitative study that combines a formalized list of open questions to prompt discussion with the opportunity for the interviewer to explore particular themes or responses further.

Biliteracy: The ability to read and write capably in two languages (Korean and English in this chapter).

Heritage Language: The language someone learns at home as a child mostly from their parents, but not dominantly used in the society they live.

Cultural identity: The sense of being included in a group or culture, which is also related one’s racial, religious, class, gender identities.

Ethnic Identity: The feeling of belonging to a group with whom an individual believes he or she has common ancestry based on shared individual characteristics and/or shared sociocultural experiences.

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