[kids-lib] Parenting Infants and Toddlers Today (early literacy)

Katie Anderson katie.anderson at state.or.us
Tue Jul 27 09:00:24 PDT 2010

Hello!  I just read the following executive summary and report based on findings from a survey of parents with children 0-3 years old.  To learn more details about the project, visit the Zero to Three website (http://tiny.cc/mxc9s).  Below I've cut and paste information from the Executive Summary most directly related to the early literacy, however many of the other findings may be useful to know when conducting early literacy workshops and providing reference and readers' advisory to parents.

*         Executive Summary:  http://tiny.cc/ht2m4

*         Full Report (easier to read than most research reports, and has excellent graphs breaking down results by mother/father and white/African American/Hispanic): http://tiny.cc/wg2z3

*         Handouts for parents and professionals on key findings: http://tiny.cc/mxc9s

<<<<<Taken from the Executive Summary>>>>>

The Findings:

Virtually all parents (93%) understand the importance of reading to young children in fostering cognitive development and nearly as many parents for whom English is not their primary language appreciate the importance of speaking (88%) and reading (83%) to their baby in their native language.

While still a fairly substantial majority, fewer parents see the importance of talking to (74%) and singing to (70%) very young babies or newborns in facilitating cognitive development.

The implication:

Virtually all parents understand the value and importance of reading to young children. However, parents could benefit from information about the importance of reading and talking to very young babies and newborns, as roughly one-quarter of parents do not consider these experiences to have a strong or major influence on babies' healthy development.


Fathers could benefit from educational efforts that are specifically targeted to them to increase their understanding of the kinds of experiences that promote healthy early development.

Given that so many parents turn to other family members-especially their mothers-as a source of childrearing information and for child care, tapping into extended family as another target audience in educational communication likely will provide an important avenue for reaching parents.

Family history and culture are powerful influences on the approach many parents take to childrearing. Developing culturally appropriate and sensitive educational materials is critical.

Ways to inform outreach and communication efforts to parents of young children:

*         Parenting magazines and Web sites are the sources that parents turn to most frequently and therefore are likely to be an effective outlet to provide educational information.

*         Other outlets emerge as valued information sources that can help target communication to specific groups:

o   Parenting books and TV programs are likely to be effective sources for communicating with Hispanic and African-American parents, as they turn to these sources at high rates.

o   Online sources including Web sites, blogs, chat rooms, and social networking sites are good ways to reach Hispanic and younger parents.

o   Professionals are a good source of information for African-American and Hispanic parents, as well as younger parents.

Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
katie.anderson at state.or.us<mailto:katie.anderson at state.or.us>, 503-378-2528

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