Exploring the Additive Benefit of Parental Nurturance Training on Parent and Child Shared Reading Outcomes: A Pilot Intervention Study



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A six week parent-child shared reading intervention targeting children's emergent literacy and emotion knowledge was implemented for 33 Head Start home-based families. This pilot study tested the hypothesis that the nominal addition of social emotional components to an evidenced-based shared reading intervention (dialogic reading) would result in additive effects in regards to parent and child outcomes. The study utilized a pre-post test design involving random assignment of families to one of two treatment groups. Both groups received the standard dialogic reading intervention, while parents in the DR ES (dialogic reading plus emotion skills) received an additional nominal dose of training in how to be nurturing towards their child during reading and how to use the story as a catalyst to talking about emotions.

Differential effects between the two interventions were not found. Specifically, no clinically significant group effects were found for children's print concepts knowledge and emotion knowledge (emotion labeling and perspective taking) at post-test. Similarly, no effects emerged for parents' reading related behaviors, namely, application of verbal prompts, and displayed warmth. Effect sizes, as measured by eta squared, were also consistently low for all dependent measures, ranging from .00 for children's perspective taking and parents' displayed warmth to .03 for parent verbal prompts. Significant time effects emerged for all outcome variables with the exception of parent warmth, with effect sizes ranging from d = 0.31 (parent warmth) to d = 1.31 (parents' dialogic reading prompts), with an average effect size of d = 0.61.

This study is the first to explore the potential impact of combining emotional content into the dialogic reading intervention. It refocuses attention on the contexts that promote children's school readiness skills. Results suggest that the potential benefits of dialogic reading extend beyond parent and children reading related skills, and may include children's emotional development. Findings warrant further investigation of interventions that support parents in maximizing the benefits of shared reading.