Mother–Child Bookreading in Low-Income Families: Correlates and Outcomes During the First Three Years of Life

Authors


  • The findings reported here are based on research conducted as part of the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under contract 105-95-1936 to Mathematica Policy Research Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Columbia University's Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, in conjunction with the Early Head Start Research Consortium. The consortium consists of representatives from 17 programs participating in the evaluation, 15 local research teams, the evaluation contractors, and ACF. Research institutions in the consortium (and principal researchers for conducting this research through 36 months of age) include ACF (Rachel Chazan Cohen, Judith Jerald, Esther Kresh, Helen Raikes, and Louisa Tarullo); Catholic University of America (Michaela Farber, Harriet Liebow, Nancy Taylor, Elizabeth Timberlake, and Shavaun Wall); Columbia University (Lisa Berlin, Christy Brady-Smith, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Allison Sidle Fuligni); Harvard University (Catherian Ayoub, Barbara Alexander Pan, and Catherine Snow); Iowa State University (Dee Draper, Gayle Luze, Susan McBride, and Carla Peterson); Mathematica Policy Research Inc. (Kimberly Boller, Jill Constantine, Ellen Eliason Kisker, John M. Love, Diane Paulsell, Christine Ross, Peter Schochet, Cheri Vogel, and Welmoet van Kammen); Medical University of South Carolina (Richard Faldowski, Gui-Young Hong, and Susan Pickrel); Michigan State University (Hiram Fitzgerad, Tom Reischl, and Rachel Schiffman); New York University (Mark Spellmann and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda); University of Arkansas (Robert Bradley, Richard Clubb, Andrea Hart, Mark Swanson, and Leanne Witeside-Mansell); University of California, Los Angeles (Carollee Howes and Claire Hamilton); University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (Robert Emde, Jon Korfmacher, JoAnn Robinson, Paul Spicer, and Norman Watt); University of Kansas (Jane Atwater, Judith Carta, and Jean Ann Summers); University of Missouri-Columbia (Mark Fine, Jean Ispa, and Kathy Thornburg); University of Pittsburgh (Beth Green, Carol McAllister, and Robert McCall); University of Washington School of Education (Eduardo Armijo and Joseph Stowitschek); University of Washington School of Nursing (Kathryn Barnard and Susan Spieker); and Utah State University (Lisa Boyce, Gina Cook, Catherine Callow-Heusser, and Lori Roggman). The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of DHHS, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

concerning this article should be addressed to Helen Raikes, 3221 South 76th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. Electronic mail may be sent to hraikes@neb.rr.com or hraikes2@unl.edu.

Abstract

About half of 2,581 low-income mothers reported reading daily to their children. At 14 months, the odds of reading daily increased by the child being firstborn or female. At 24 and 36 months, these odds increased by maternal verbal ability or education and by the child being firstborn or of Early Head Start status. White mothers read more than did Hispanic or African American mothers. For English-speaking children, concurrent reading was associated with vocabulary and comprehension at 14 months, and with vocabulary and cognitive development at 24 months. A pattern of daily reading over the 3 data points for English-speaking children and daily reading at any 1 data point for Spanish-speaking children predicted children's language and cognition at 36 months. Path analyses suggest reciprocal and snowballing relations between maternal bookreading and children's vocabulary.

Ancillary