Date of Award

Summer 2021

Publication Type


Degree Name





Early literacy, Ecological systems theory, Emergent literacy theory; Home literacy environment (HLE), Socioeconomic status (SES), Windsor, Ontario, Canada


G. Salinitri


C. Greig



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Applying Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems theory (1979), this study sought to understand environmental risk-factors and the interactions between them that construct emergent literacy development, as well as attitudes towards the literacy learning of low-SES children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Windsor, Ontario. Data collection for this qualitative study was conducted in the form of semi-structured interviews, organized and coded according to common themes and concepts for further analysis and interpretation. The perspectives of Early Childhood Educators (ECE) were sought to understand the challenges faced by children from low-SES families in gaining early literacy skills, due to environmental factors, and what implications this has for future success. Participants suggested that factors associated with home, school, childcare, and neighbourhood environments have the capacity to support or hinder the literacy development of low-SES children; furthermore, that when these environments operate in cohesion, they may have the potential to compensate for lacks in individual environments. The results of this study highlight reoccurring themes, such as the need for ongoing and sustainable partnerships between schools, childcare centres, and social services, as well as asset- based approaches to literacy learning.