Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Parental Expectations and Home Literacy Environment: A Questionnaire Study of Chinese-Norwegian Dual Language Learners

Yang, J., Lawrence, J.F., Grøver, V. (2023) Parental Expectations and Home Literacy Environment: A Questionnaire Study of Chinese-Norwegian Dual Language Learners. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 37(1), 159-173.,

Access: FREE/Open Access

Publication year


study description


core topic(s)

Early Literacy

Population Characteristics

International , Kindergarten , Lingually Diverse , Race, Ethnicity, and Culture , Toddler/Preschool

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Home Language/Literacy/Learning Environment , Language and Literacy Development , Parent Behaviors and Skills , Parent Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs , School Readiness and Educational Outcomes


This study examined how parental expectations were associated with Chinese-Norwegian dual language learners’ Chinese language skills.


Parental expectations

outcomes evaluated

Dual-language skills


Chinese parents in Norway participated. They were scattered across Norway, with more than half living in the larger Oslo area. Most of the participants were highly educated: 87% had obtained a higher education degree and 19% held a Ph.D. Their professions varied, with a sizable proportion of skilled workers, such as engineers, software developers, accountants, and researchers.


A total of 118 Chinese parents in Norway completed a questionnaire in which they reported their expectations for their children’s Chinese language development, characteristics of the home literacy environment (resources and practices), and children’s Chinese language skills. The children were ages 1;6–14;0 (M = 6;2, SD = 2;6) and spoke Chinese at home while learning Norwegian in preschool and school.

sample size

n=118 (parents)


Questionnaire contained four sections:
      1. Family Demographics
      2. Parental Expectations: Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and used the can-do statement
      3. CHLE Items: Parents reported Chinese literacy resources (e.g. books at home, frequency of trips to the library) and practices (e.g. frequency of shared reading, storytelling, video watching, and song listening) children had access to at home
      4. Parent-Reported Chinese Language Skills: Alberta Language and Development Questionnaire (ALDeQ)


We found that parental expectations positively linked to parent-reported Chinese language skills. Moreover, this link was partially a factor of children’s Chinese home literacy environment. The results suggest that parents who manifested their expectations by facilitating a rich home literacy environment (i.e., children’s books and activities like shared reading, storytelling, listening to songs, online chatting with Chinese relatives, and playing with Chinese friends) supported their children’s Chinese language skills.


By documenting parents’ efforts and their association with improved language outcomes, this study adds nuance to our understanding of the high expectations set by Chinese immigrant parents, and provides implications for parents, teachers, and researchers.


First, the questionnaire data drew correlational rather than causal results. Even though previous longitudinal studies suggested the unidirectional relationship from parental expectations to home practices (Englund et al., 2004), from parental expectations to children’s later academic performance (Froiland et al., 2013; Räty & Kasanen, 2010), and from preschoolers’ HLE to their language outcome (Niklas & Schneider, 2013; Silinskas et al., 2020), we cannot preclude the bi-directionality in the model...Second, all the data came from an online survey with self-report questions for parents. Although anonymity might tune down the social desirability bias, we cannot rule out other potential biases...Third, our model only explained a moderate portion of variance for CHLE (26%) and parent reported Chinese language skills (47%). The rather small R-square might result from the aforementioned limitation of the questionnaire measures...Additionally, as previously noted, the sample of the study mainly had a high educational background. Although this homogeneous group was in accord with a national report on the Chinese community in Norway (Statistics Norway, 2008), and our findings are consistent with previous research, we need to be careful when generalizing the findings from one immigrant sample to another.