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The role of the learning family in developing a reading culture among adults and children.

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The study was conducted in the rural area of Mthwalo, just outside Pietermaritzburg. This area consists of a learning community which is made up of a Public Primary School where the same premises are used as a Public Adult Learning Centre for the community after school hours. This study focused on two children who were registered learners in the Public Primary School and their parents who were also registered learners in the Public Adult Learning Centre. These participants form the central context of this study which is the learning family. This study was conducted in order to examine the role of the learning family in promoting the culture of reading as well as to explore how a learning family can enhance this reading culture to the benefit of the child, parent, school, home and the community. This study focused on family reading practices, assessing the reciprocity and the interrelationship between the parents and children as learners and as readers. The study investigated how children and parents as learners influence each other in developing the culture of reading. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather the first set of data from both the parents and the children who were the participants in this study. Interviews then sought to elicit the views of the participants on the reciprocal value of the learning family and how the family literacy practices enhance and develop the reading practices. The second set of data was gathered through observation. Homes of the participants were visited to observe family literacy practices in the home environment focusing on how both the environment and the practices contribute to the development of the reading culture. The findings of this study indicated that the learning family has huge educational benefits to all members of the family. Children are encouraged in their own learning by the parents’ direct involvement in education as learners. The study proved that the learning family has educational reciprocal value to the benefit of both parents and children. The study concluded that mothers have a significant role to play in promoting the culture of reading and developing habitual readers.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.