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Early Child Res Q. 2014;29(4):425-432.

Low-income minority mothers' and fathers' reading and children's interest: Longitudinal contributions to children's receptive vocabulary skills.

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Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, University of Maryland, College Park, United States.


Using data from a diverse sample of low-income African American and Latino mothers, fathers, and their young children who participated in Early Head Start (n = 61), the current study explored the association between parents' reading quality (i.e. metalingual talk) while reading with their 2-year-old children and their children's receptive vocabulary skills at pre-kindergarten. It further examined whether children's interest in reading mediated this association. There were three main findings. First, most mothers and fathers in our sample read relatively often to their children (a few times a week) and used some metalingual talk; fathers used more than mothers. Second, controlling for parental education, mothers' and fathers' early reading quality significantly predicted children's receptive vocabulary skills at pre-kindergarten. Third, children's interest in reading mediated the association between mothers' and fathers' reading quality and children's receptive vocabulary scores. These findings have important implications for programs aimed at fostering low-income children's vocabularies and suggest that both mothers and fathers need to be included in programs.


Low-income; Parenting; Reading; Toddlers; Vocabulary

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