The ‘good’ parent in relation to early childhood literacy : symbolic terrain and lived practice

Nichols, Sue, Nixon, Helen, & Rowsell, Jennifer (2009) The ‘good’ parent in relation to early childhood literacy : symbolic terrain and lived practice. Literacy, 43(2), pp. 65-74.

PDF (80kB)

View at publisher


In this paper we consider the place of early childhood literacy in the discursive construction of the identity( ies) of ‘proper’ parents. Our analysis crosses between representations of parenting in texts produced by commercial and government/public institutional interests and the self-representations of individual parents in interviews with the researchers. The argument is made that there are commonalities and disjunctures in represented and lived parenting identities as they relate to early literacy. In commercial texts that advertise educational and other products, parents are largely absent from representations and the parent’s position is one of consumer on behalf of the child. In government-sanctioned texts, parents are very much present and are positioned as both learners about and important facilitators of early learning when they ‘interact’ with their children around language and books. The problem for which both, in their different ways, offer a solution is the ‘‘not-yet-ready’’ child precipitated into the evaluative environment of school without the initial competence seen as necessary to avoid falling behind right from the start. Both kinds of producers promise a smooth induction of children into mainstream literacy and learning practices if the ‘good parent’ plays her/his part. Finally, we use two parent cases to illustrate how parents’ lived practice involves multiple discursive practices and identities as they manage young children’s literacy and learning in family contexts in which they also need to negotiate relations with their partners and with paid and domestic work.

Impact and interest:

37 citations in Scopus
13 citations in Web of Science®
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

415 since deposited on 30 Mar 2011
40 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 41053
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: parenting, early literacy, early learning, discourses of childhood, educational toys
DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-4369.2009.00519.x
ISSN: 1741-4369
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900) > Education not elsewhere classified (139999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 UKLA & Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Deposited On: 30 Mar 2011 22:13
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 14:51

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page