Parental involvement in foreign language learning: The case of Hong Kong

Gail Forey, Sharon Besser, Nicholas Alistair Sampson

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


It has long been established that parents play a key role in educational achievement. In this paper, we examine parental involvement in children’s foreign language learning and the goal of finding ways to support families as they help their children to acquire a foreign language. The study investigated the ways in which Hong Kong families do and could support their children, aged 5–8, in English learning. The nature of existing parent involvement is described based on quantitative and qualitative data obtained via questionnaires and focus group discussions with a group of parents. In order to explore what parents could do to support their children with school-based requirements for English learning, a focus group of parents participated in a workshop that focused on the practice of reading aloud to their children in English. The results show that Hong Kong parents are involved in supporting their children’s English literacy development in a variety of ways, yet they do not generally embrace culturally specific Western practices such as reading aloud; and furthermore, to adopt such practices might be problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-413
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Literacy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Children’s literature
  • early childhood literacy
  • family literacy practices
  • language development
  • literacy development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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