Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Applied Linguistics (M.A.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Dr. Dan Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Colleen Brice

Third Advisor

Dr. Karen Pezzetti

Academic Year



This research explores the beliefs and experiences of stakeholders in a family literacy program through the Literacy Center of West Michigan and Head Start for Kent County. The program is currently developing a curriculum to improve outcomes for learner specific goals. Therefore, one motivation behind this research is to analyze the goals, needs, and understandings for the multiple stakeholders within the program. On a national scale, there exists a need to better define the goals of family literacy programming in general. Points of alignment and disconnect for the participants in this study reflect realities that extend beyond the program at the Literacy Center of West Michigan. Goals for stakeholders are, after all, partly inspired by the family literacy needs that are observed on a regular basis for each participant.

This study utilized semi-structured interviews with learners, tutors, and local partners that all participate in the program. The research questions included identifying the priorities for all stakeholders, how these priorities were aligned or disconnected with one another, and how stakeholders are communicating these priorities with each other. These questions inform program development by identifying the goals of these stakeholders in order to ensure coordinated efforts. Four learners and their tutors were interviewed, along with three representatives for Head Start for Kent County. The interviews were recorded and themes that emerged from the data were categorized. Results show that communication styles between stakeholders impacted alignment of goals (or lack thereof). Verbal communication and home to school connections were the most frequently identified goals for all stakeholders, but there were also unique goals for each group. These results indicate a need for open and direct dialogue about family literacy programming to align efforts and produce better outcomes for participants.