The Effects of a Parent Directed Language Intervention on Children’s Reading Interest and Mother’s Quality of Reading
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Low socioeconomic status has been associated with poorer language and educational outcomes in young children. Parent and child shared book reading experiences are shown to improve children’s vocabulary, language skills, and social skills important for school readiness. Both the quality and quantity of language spoken within the home affects children’s language development. A previous study conducted at the University of Chicago by the Thirty Million Words Initiative showed promise that a parent intervention curriculum could improve parent’s knowledge of developing language. This study examined how implementing a parent intervention could improve mother’s quality of reading and children’s interest in reading. Mothers who provide an active and engaging reading environment could enhance children’s interest in book reading. The research team recorded participants reading to their children at baseline before the intervention and then assigned participants to either the Thirty Million Words intervention or a control intervention focused on nutrition. After the 12-week intervention, participants were again videotaped reading to their child. Researchers then coded these two videos for child interest. Child’s interest was operationalized by using three scales for attention, affect, and participation. Contrary to the hypothesis, there was no effect of child interest by participants’ treatment group. However, children’s attention and participation averages did increase between the first and second intervention. The findings and potential future paths for the Thirty Million Words Initiative will be discussed.