A process-oriented approach in the evaluation of mother-infant literacy interactions



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Texas Tech University


This study takes a process oriented approach to the evaluation of a clinic-based early literacy intervention program aimed at mothers and their infants. Twenty intervention and eighteen control Mexican-American or Hispanic mother-infant dyads were observed in their homes while engaging in a book sharing interaction. In order to assess the effectiveness of the intervention program, mothers were rated on their use of scaffolding techniques measured by a narration subscale, engagement techniques measured by an interactive reading style subscale, and the affective or emotional tone of both mother and baby measured by affective behavior subscales. It was expected that mothers who had participated in the intervention would score significantly higher on all subscales due to exposure to volunteer readers, literacy information from their physician, and baby book gifts provided at each of several well-checks.

The study found that scores of intervention and non-intervention mothers were not significantly different on the narration or affective subscales. Similarly, there were no differences between the two groups in terms of positive or negative baby affect. However, differences were found between the two groups in terms of their interactive reading styles. Mothers who had been exposed to the intervention demonstrated significantiy more behaviors indicative of an interactive, engaging reading style.

Because the subjects who participated in the study were exclusively of Mexican-American or Hispanic descent, results are discussed in terms of how cultural beliefs about reading with babies, education, and the parent's role in children's literacy may impact a person's receptiveness to literacy intervention programs.