Kindergarten Readiness and Performance of Latino Children Participating in Reach out and ReadMarissa L Diener1, Wendy Hobson-Rohrer2 and Carrie L Byington2*
- Corresponding Author:
- Carrie L. Byington
Department of Pediatrics
University of Utah
295 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City
UT 84108, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: January 06, 2012; Accepted Date: March 24, 2012; Published Date: March 26, 2012
Citation: Diener ML, Hobson-Rohrer W, Byington CL (2012) Kindergarten Readiness and Performance of Latino Children Participating in Reach out and Read. J Community Med Health Edu 2:133. doi:10.4172/jcmhe.1000133
Copyright: © 2012 Diener ML, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Background: Literacy is a vital skill that forms the basis for academic, occupational, and social success. Minority populations, especially immigrant Latinos in the US, have achievement gaps in literacy when compared to the White population. The Reach Out and Read (ROR) program is a pediatric, primary-care intervention designed to promote emergent literacy skills. The objectives of this study were to provide descriptive information at kindergarten on Latino immigrant children’s emergent literacy skills and home literacy environments, and correlation data between ROR exposure and emergent literacy skills.
Method: A sample of 40 low-income Latino immigrant mothers and their children participated. Medical records were reviewed to determine level of ROR exposure. Home literacy environment was assessed through maternal interview. Children’s emergent literacy skills were assessed before kindergarten through interviews with the children and with the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), and at the end of kindergarten through teachers’ reports based on a modified version of the Kindergarten Teacher Questionnaire – Part C from the Department of Education Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-K (ECLS-K). We completed descriptive analyses for the demographics of our sample, ROR exposure, home literacy environment, emergent literacy skills and teacher evaluations. We created composite scores of children’s print awareness, teacher-rated literacy skills, and ROR exposure. Finally, partial correlations controlling for child age and maternal education were conducted between the composite score of ROR exposure and children’s literacy skills as assessed by the child interview, the DIBELS test, and teacher-report. Child age and maternal education were controlled.
Results: The majority of children evaluated came from two-parent households and had high compliance rates with well-child care. All children began ROR at 6 months; the mean number of ROR books received was 6. Home literacy environments of families were strong as demonstrated by book ownership and parent-reported adult-child reading. Evaluation of early literacy skills in the clinic demonstrated children had good familiarity with print, and greater ROR exposure was related to significantly greater print and phonemic awareness before kindergarten entry. DIBELS testing performed in the clinic setting identified 37%-45%of the children as at risk for reading difficulty prior to kindergarten. At the end of kindergarten, teachers reported ECLS-K identifying 60% of children as intermediate or proficient in reading and rated the literacy skills of 77% of the children exposed to ROR as average, above average, or far above average when compared to all students of the same grade.
Discussion: The kindergarten literacy performance of this small sample of Latino children participating in the ROR program from infancy was good. Though these children were living in poverty and had other risk factors for poor-school performance, they had good home literacy environments and average or above average literacy skills by the end of kindergarten. Protective factors including family stability, well-child care, and early and consistent participation in the ROR program may have improved the school readiness of these high-risk children.