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Citation:McIntyre, E., Kyle, D., Moore, G., Sweazy, R. A., & Greer, S. (2001). Linking home and school through family visits. Language Arts, 78(3), 264-272.

This study explores ways of creating meaningful connections between schools and children and their families, resulting in a deeper understanding of such relationships. Home visits provided the venue for learning from families about their routines, funds of knowledge, and other forms of information that would help teachers understand students' development, and thus inform their teaching. Findings showed that as teacher researchers learned to watch children carefully and use contextual information from the family visits to augment what they observed in the classrooms, children became the resources needed for teachers to improve their practices. Three primary-grade teachers from two Kentucky schools teamed with two university researchers. They visited students' homes at least once, and some up to ten times across three years if parents encouraged the visits. During visits and interviews with parents and their children at home, researchers recorded field notes that were later transcribed and analyzed for common patterns or themes. Monthly cross-site meetings served as a vehicle of communication and reflection between schools. In order for teachers' and families' knowledge to complement one another, they must each know what the other is doing and why. Parents must know what the school is doing, and teachers must know what is occurring at home. Teachers, students, and families benefit when teaching closely corresponds to the ways students live. Getting to know students as individuals is key. Although results from this study point to the benefit of families and teachers knowing each other well, there is limited information about how this process might occur more naturally. Home visits were used to collect the data in this study, but home visits are not touted as a common practice for teachers to gather information about their students.

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