Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cathryn White


In an urban elementary school serving a large percentage of low-socioeconomic status (SES) students in a southern state, the problem was that over 50% of student literacy scores remained below the state standard between 2016 and 2019. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to examine educators’ perceptions of teacher–parent collaboration to support literacy in the home and how these strategies may improve low-SES students’ literacy skills at the elementary target site. Using Bourdieu’s educational habitus theory, educators’ perceptions of teacher–parent collaboration strategies to enhance literacy and the advantages and barriers of fostering collaboration were examined for low-SES students in Grades 3–5. Interviews were conducted with 11 purposefully sampled educator participants who had (a) experience teaching reading or (b) facilitating or managing the campus literacy program for students at the target site. Open coding and a priori were used to identify codes, categories, and themes. Educators’ perspectives were synthesized into 4 themes that participants perceived the need for (a) teacher professional development and parent home literacy-support training, and (b) leadership influence and support; participants noted that a (c) lack of cultural capital, and (d) limited parent knowledge of literacy strategies hindered home literacy support. The resulting project, a white paper, was created to inform stakeholders of the study findings and propose actions for consideration by the elementary leadership team. The results of this study may enhance social change by strengthening educators’ understanding of low-SES parents’ needs, improving teacher–parent collaboration, and enriching literacy support and training for low-SES parents to cultivate literacy home learning environments, and strengthen students’ literacy skills and achievement.