Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Julia López-Robertson


The purpose of this study was to identify malleable practices in the homes of Spanish-speaking toddlers prior to school enrollment. This was achieved by examining daily activities and routines and the role older siblings played in these interactions to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the home language and literacy environment and practices. Additionally, this study aimed to explore, through the narratives and responses of mothers, the home experiences, beliefs, values, and goals associated with toddlers’ development, particularly early language and literacy. This study included four Spanish-speaking families with toddlers, two of which did not have an older sibling residing with them (Case 1) and two of which did (Case 2). This comparative case study employed qualitative and quantitative research methods to document toddlers' daily routines and language and literacy practices in the family environment. These practices and activities were examined using a sociocultural framework and activity theory, which guided the methodology and data analysis. Three primary findings included:

1. Families incorporated a variety of activities and practices, including digital-mediated interactions, to foster their toddler's development;

2. Cultural values and beliefs influenced the routines and events, including formal and informal language and literacy practices; and

3. There were slight differences in the activities and practices involving older siblings that fostered the toddlers' multilingual and biliteracy development.

The study contributes to early childhood and speech-language pathology fields' understanding of the home environment and cultural and social influences on family activities and practices of Spanish-speaking families, as well as their early language and literacy practices. According to these findings, understanding a family's routines and practices can provide crucial insight into the malleable resources used by families from diverse cultural and linguistic contexts to support toddlers’ development. Using activity settings as the unit of analysis may also provide an ecologically valid method for understanding families' cultural values and beliefs, which influence the integration of these resources and the roles each family member plays in these activities and practices.


© 2023, Eugenia Crosby-Quinatoa

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