Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Advisor(s)

PAIGE P WERMUTH, PHD

Second Advisor

KIMBERLY KAY LOPEZ, DRPH

Abstract

Community-based early literacy intervention programs show promise in improving the home language environment, particularly for children at increased risk of language delays and poor school readiness. However, the literature on parents’ perspective of these programs is limited. This study investigated the perspectives and language scores of participants in upWORDS, a community-based literacy intervention program in Houston, TX. Through mixed-methods, this study aimed to describe the program’s impact on parents’ views on child development, changes in child behaviors, and continued application of information from the program. It also aimed to identify patterns in parent-reported measurements of children’s language skills over time. The primary investigator (PI) conducted secondary analysis on semi-structured interviews of parents who had completed upWORDS at least 1 year before the interview. Secondary quantitative data analysis was also done on LENA Snapshots, the parent-reported measurements of children’s language skills. Qualitative analysis revealed 2 themes. The theme of child development included 3 subthemes: child’s interest in reading, child’s communication, and concerns about child development. The theme of parent knowledge and behavior change included 5 subthemes: awareness of developmental delay, better understanding of normal child development, impact on childcare and school, parent child interaction, and challenges to applying program information and sustaining behaviors. Snapshot results tended to improve by the end of the program but improvements were not sustained. There was no correlation between Snapshot results and parents’ report of challenges or sustained behavior changes. Overall parents reported multiple sustained benefits of the program that can be helpful for early literacy program implementers and pediatric primary care providers. Future steps should include a larger study to better characterize Snapshot patterns.

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