Home » Research


Research tells us the importance of a strong foundation of early development for literacy and learning.  This informs us with concrete actions to support young children to be strong readers and learners. We now know that a child’s environment and the role of parents and caring adults can help provide a love of reading and develop the much needed vocabulary for future success. Café’s work is focused on supporting this influential role and the growing rationale for adopting a strength-based, community orientation for building supportive healthy environments for children. (see foundational research links below and Café’s framework).

With access to emerging research and knowledge of best practise around literacy development, we as parents, caregivers, educators and the broader community can make informed choices about the day to day interactions that best support our children. The following organizations offer a consolidation of quality research and resources in the key areas that contribute to strong readers and reading communities. Cafe recommends following these organizations on Twitter to access the most current and emerging research. Cafe offers a consolidation of some foundational articles informing our work in our Resource Library .

Communities and literacy and learning

  • Calgary Reads
  • Harvard Family Research Project
  • Centre on School, Family, Community Partnerships

Communities and early childhood development

  • First 2000 Days Early Childhood Development Network
  • Alberta Family Wellness Initiative
  • Centre on the Developing Child: Harvard University
  • Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research 

The Power of Conversation

  • Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement
  • The World Cafe
  • Appreciative Inquiry Commons, Case Western Reserve University

Asset-based community development

  • The Asset-Based Community Development Institute
  • Coady International Institute
  • Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement



  • Chrzanowski, Rans, Thompson, Building Mutually-Beneficial Relationships Between Schools and Communities: The Role of a Connector, (ABCD Institute)
  • J. Steinmann, G.Malcolm, A. Connell, S.Davis and J.McMann, (2000-2008),  Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI), The Role of Parents and Community in Supporting Student Success,  A Review of AISI Cycles One, Two and Three Projects.
  • “Communities and Schools: A New View of Urban Education Reform,” Harvard Educational Review, 75 (Summer): 133-173. (2005)
  • Barbour, Barbour Scully, (2011), Families, schools and communities, Building partnerships for educating children, – Pearson Education -5th ed.
  • Centre on Family, School Community Partnerships, Johns Hopkins University (recent articles, book chapters, and books by researchers at the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships at Johns Hopkins University and the National Network of Partnership Schools, Director, Dr. Joyce Epstein).
  • Epstein, J. (2001).  School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Preparing Educators and Improving Schools, A guide for use in pre-service teacher education or professional development for educators. How can teachers engage families and communities? (isbn 978-0-8133-4447-8)
  • Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Useable Knowledge
  • Coalition for community schools, USA Resources, events, advocacy, networking.
  • Swap, S. (1993), Developing Home-School Partnerships, From Concepts to Practice, Teachers College Press
  • Sergiovanni, T. (1994) Building Community in Schools, Jossey Bass Inc. San Fransisco
  • Moore, T. (2011), Drawing on Parents’ Strengths: The Role of Districts and Schools in Empowering Families to be Effective Partners in Learning, The Evaluation Exchange, 3, (2), retrieved:
  • Stelmack, B.  Parental Involvement: A Research Brief for Practitioners, University of Alberta
  •  Morva A. McDonald , Kersti Tyson, Kate Brayko , Michael Bowman , John Delport & Fuyu Shimomura (2011), Innovation and impact in teacher education: Community-based organizations as field placements for preservice teachers (Teachers College record).
  • Henderson, Mapp, Johnson, Davies, (2007) Beyond the Bake Sale, New Press, NY
  • Patrikakou, Weissber, Reddign, Walberg, foreword by J. Epstein, (2007) , School-Family Partnerships for Children’s Success, Teachers College, NY, London
  • Heather B. Weiss, Holly Kreider, M. Elena Lopez, Celina Chatman-Nelson (2010) Preparing Educators to EngageFamilies: Case Studies Using an Ecological Systems Framework, Second Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc.