Abstract: Examining the Association between Parent Reading Practices and Children Reading Interest (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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228P Examining the Association between Parent Reading Practices and Children Reading Interest

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Shayna Harris, M.S.W., Doctoral Student, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
Background and Purpose: Reading in early childhood is vital for proper language development. Social cognitive theory suggests that children increase their self-efficacy by seeing a family member, teacher, or peer successfully complete and have a positive attitude towards an activity. Thus, caregivers reading habits and attitudes towards reading within the home could be hypothesized to increase reading interest in their children. There is limited knowledge in the available literature on the effects of parent reading practices on their children’s independent reading. This study aims to explore the associations between parent reading habits and attitudes and children’s independent reading behaviors when controlling for demographics. Thus, the proposed research question is, “what is the association between adult caregiver reading behaviors and attitudes and children’s independent reading interest after controlling for demographics?”

Methods: This study utilized data from Project KIDS to conduct secondary data analysis. The data for Project KIDs was collected in two waves. The first wave combined data from eight randomized control trials and one follow-up study regarding reading interventions responsiveness. Phase two of the project sent out surveys to participants, requesting information about home and community environments, parental attitudes, and health factors regarding reading. Utilizing the survey data from phase II, a hierarchical regression model was used to examine the associations between individual and shared parental reading behaviors with children’s independent reading when controlling for demographics.

Results: The results of the hierarchical multiple regression model showed a statistically significant model after controlling for demographics and shared reading behaviors between parents (F(12,116)=16.07, FΔ=1.86, r2Δ=0.11), explaining an additional 11% of the variance for a total of 46% of the variance explained(r2=0.46). Additionally, there was a statistically significant difference between the adult respondents who disliked reading and respondents who strongly liked reading (b=-7.00, t=2.90, p=0.04). Furthermore, there was also a statistically significant difference between the respondent’s perception of the other caregiver in the home’s reading enjoyment. Respondents who reported the other adult caregiver in the home strongly disliked reading showed a -3.75 point difference in the child’s reading interest subscale score (t=2.61, p=0.01). Shared book reading frequency (p=0.01) and number of books in the home (p<0.01) were statistically significant in the final model. There was no statistically significant difference in the frequency of independent reading behaviors of adults.

Conclusions: Results point to the importance of adult caregiver attitudes towards reading and the importance of shared book reading and modeling for children. Caregiver attitudes towards reading could hinder or support developing children’s interest in reading and may offer an alternative screening item when examining children’s language development. Social workers collaborating with families and caregivers of children should consider integrating educational resources on the importance shared book reading, positive reading attitudes, and supportive home literacy environments. Finally, future research should explore why there is such variation in adult reading enjoyment and attitudes in addition to screening for adult literacy difficulties.