Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2015

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Literacy Education


V. Susan Bennett-Armistead

Second Committee Member

Richard C. Kent

Third Committee Member

Janice V. Kristo


The purpose of this study is to better understand home literacy activities, behaviors, and beliefs of Korean mothers who are adult English language learners (ELLs) in the United States. In this study, I examined mothers’ behaviors during reading and their beliefs and perceptions on the reading experience based on a sociocultural view of children’s literacy development. In addition, I studied how these factors work together to assist emergent bilingual children's acquisition of English and their literacy development through a case study of four Korean mothers who have preschool-aged bilingual children. First, I documented both verbal and nonverbal behaviors of Korean mothers during reading with their children. I used descriptive statistics to indicate the frequency and duration of their behaviors, cross-case and case-specific analysis to report the behaviors, and multimodal discourse analysis to describe the mothers’ behaviors. Second, Korean mothers’ beliefs and perspectives on their children’s reading experiences were investigated through survey, retrospective, and in-depth interview. In order to examine the mothers’ beliefs, I used case-specific and cross-case analysis as well as the descriptive statistics of survey data. Finally, I examined the perspectives of cross-linguistic and cross-cultural reading practices of mothers. The similarities and differences of reading practice were pointed out when the mothers read books in Korean and in English.

This current study highlights four Korean mothers’ reading behaviors, beliefs, and perspectives. First, Korean mothers show some similar and different verbal and nonverbal reading behaviors. When Korean mothers read books to their children, they have reasons for their verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Mothers behave in certain ways for two reasons: affective reasons and instructional reasons. Mothers sometimes show several behaviors sequentially and other times present several behaviors simultaneously for a certain reason. Next, Korean mothers believe that reading is both for fun and for learning. Mothers use specific linguistic, proxemic, and paralinguistic behaviors in order to give their children pleasure in reading, to develop children’s language, to help children to attain the knowledge. Finally, Korean mothers indicate their own cross-linguistic and cross-cultural perspectives in this study. Additionally these mothers have a tendency to provide more Korean language and culture to their children than English.