Several family literacy initiatives to promote early reading and literacy skills have emerged in the last few decades. These initiatives provide high-quality linguistic experiences that compensate for socioeconomic gaps among young children. Among other activities, family literacy programs provide families with books, strategies, and other materials that allow them to engage in meaningful linguistic interactions, enhance vocab ulary and syntax development, and build conceptual knowledge through conversations about stories, rhymes, and other printed material. Children’s ability to construct narrative discourse from stories and picture books that have been explored and discussed with adults is of particular importance. For example, converging evidence demonstrates that children who can produce coherent narrative discourse have less difficulty learning to comprehend texts in school. Similarly, facilitating children’s interaction with written text through shared reading and dialogue over printed material has proven to facilitate alphabet knowledge acquisition, a skill that later facilitates learning to read and write in school. This study discusses the gains of low socioeconomic background Chilean students ages 4 to 6, whose parents enrolled in family literacy workshops to implement read aloud and language games at home. The purpose of the workshops is to provide parents and caregivers with a structured, evidence-based framework with the purpose of promoting literacy and socioemotional development among children. Parents and other caregivers who volunteered to participate in the program attended 12 biweekly workshops where they learned and engaged in shared reading, oral interactions and language games at home with their children. These activities were modeled by coaches, and parents later practiced them and received feedback. Each family received books and games at every workshop session, and these materials were utilized by them when they read to their children. Using a quasi-experimental design, it was possible to see that, although both groups increased their narrative and alphabet knowledge skills over the 12-week period, students whose parents attended the program had significantly higher scores on a narrative skills task and alphabet knowledge than their peers whose parents did not. As expected, older children in the treatment group outperformed their younger peers in narrative skills. In terms of alphabet knowledge, the children in the treatment group nearly doubled the scores of those in the control group, suggesting that the interactions and language games facilitated the acquisition of this kind of knowledge. These findings suggest that well-structured, evidence-based family literacy intervention programs can strengthen children’s language skills, particularly among those who enter school with lower literacy levels given their vulnerability status.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Effects of family literacy workshops in literacy skills development among 4-6-year-old children from low socioeconomic status
|Number of pages
|Published - 26 Sep 2022
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