Menu

Parent Engagement

Learning at Home: Families' Educational Media Use in America

Rideout, V. Learning at Home: Families’ Educational Media Use in America (2014) Joan Ganz Cooney Center

This comprehensive analysis of parents' experiences with the educational media their children use tries to answer the following questions: Which subjects do parents feel their children are learning the most about from media? Which platforms do they perceive as being most effective? And what are some of the obstacles to greater use of educational media? All of these issues are explored by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The report measures the degree to which children and parents use media together, overall and by platform, and looks at how this joint media engagement changes as children get older. The study also examines children's reading behaviors, especially online or on electronic reading devices.

The Power of Parents

Thigpen, D., Freedberg, L. and Frey, S. (2014) The Power of Parents: Research underscores the impact of parent involvement in schools. EdSource and New America Media
This report looks at research showing that parent involvement in their children's school is associated with a range of positive outcomes for students, including greater academic success, improved attitudes toward school, and a reduction in at-risk behavior. The research also shows that parent involvement leads to more teacher satisfaction.

Technology in Early Education: Building Platforms for Connections and Content that Strengthen Families and Promote Success in School

Guernsey, L. (2012). technology in early education: Building platforms for connections and content that strengthen families and promote success in school. The Progress of Education Reform, 14(4), 7-14.

This report looks at trends in digital media use by young children, how to effectively use parents and librarians as partners in early learning, and recommendations for building integrated technology platforms for early education.

Approaches to Parental Involvement for Improving the Academic Performance of Elementary School Age Children

Nye, C., Turner, H. M. & Schwartz, J. B. (2006) Approaches to Parental Involvement for Improving the Academic Performance of Elementary School Age Children. University of Central Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.

The purpose of this review was to summarize the most dependable evidence on the effect of parental involvement for improving the academic performance of elementary school age children in grades K-6. This review found that parent involvement had a positive and significant effect on children's overall academic performance. The effect was educationally meaningful and large enough to have practical implications for parents, family involvement practitioners, and policymakers. When parents participated in academic enrichment activities with their children outside of school for an average of less than 12 weeks, children demonstrated an equivalent of 4 to 5 months improvement in reading or math performance.

Talking to Children Matters: Early Language Experience Strengthens Processing and Builds Vocabulary

Weisleder, A. & Fernald, A. (2013). Talking to children matters: Early language experience strengthens processing and builds vocabulary. Psychological Science, November 2013 24: 2143-2152.

In this study, researchers explored how the amount of speech directed to infants in Spanish-speaking families low in socioeconomic status influenced the development of children’s skill in real-time language processing and vocabulary learning. Results showed that children who had experienced more child-directed speech were more efficient at processing language. The analyses revealed a cascade of effects — those toddlers who heard more child-directed talk became faster and more reliable in interpreting speech, and it was their superior skill in processing language that then increased their success in vocabulary learning. An important finding was that even within a low-SES group there were substantial differences among parents in verbal engagement with their children and in children's language outcomes.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Child-Parent Center Early Education Program

Reynolds, A. J., Temple, J. A., White, B. A., Ou, S., & Robertson, D. L. (2011). Cost-benefit analysis of the Child-Parent Center early education program. Child Development, 82, 379-404.

Children who attended an intensive preschool and family support program attained higher educational levels, were more likely to be employed, and less likely to have problems with the legal system than were peers who did not attend the program, according to a study funded by the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The Child-Parent Center (CPC) early education program is a large-scale, federally funded intervention providing services for disadvantaged 3- to 9-year-olds in Chicago. The researchers identified five key principles of the CPC that they say led to its effectiveness, including providing services that are of sufficient length or duration, are high in intensity and enrichment, feature small class sizes and teacher-student ratios, are comprehensive in scope, and are implemented by well-trained and well-compensated staff.

Head Start and the Changing Demographics of Young Children

Golden, O. (2011). Head start and the changing demographics of young children. NHSA Dialog, 14(1).

Head Start and Early Head Start programs have always understood that high-quality services are grounded in a thorough understanding of the children and families in their communities. And the portrait of our nation's children is changing rapidly. Results from the 2010 Census show a dramatic change in the racial and ethnic composition of children, particularly increases in Hispanic and Asian children and declines in white children (and a slight decline nationally in the number of black children). Other recent national surveys show a sharp increase in the proportion of children, and young children in particular, whose parents are immigrants. Based on these trends and recent Urban Institute research, this paper makes four recommendations about how local Head Start practitioners can best meet the needs of today's young children and their families.

Trajectories of the Home Learning Environment Across the First 5 Years: Associations With Children's Vocabulary and Literacy Skills at Prekindergarten

Rodriguez, Eileen; Tamis-LeMonda, Catherine S. (2011) Trajectories of the Home Learning Environment Across the First 5 Years: Associations With Children's Vocabulary and Literacy Skills at Prekindergarten. Child Development 82(4).

A study that looked at the home environments of more than 1,850 children from households at or below the federal poverty line showed that factors such as levels of shared reading, exposure to frequent and varied adult speech, and access to children's books had an impact on school readiness skills. "As a parent, it is never too early to engage your child in learning," said Amber Story, a social psychologist and deputy director of the National Science Foundation's Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, which funded the study. "This research suggests that the degree to which parents read and talk to their infant; point and label objects in the environment; and provide engaging books and toys when their child is only 15 months old can have long-lasting effects on the infant's language skills years later."

Age 26 Cost–Benefit Analysis of the Child-Parent Center Early Education Program

Reynolds, A. J., Temple, J. A., White, B. A. B., Ou, S.-R. and Robertson, D. L. (2011), Age 26 Cost–Benefit Analysis of the Child-Parent Center Early Education Program. Child Development, 82: 379–404.

Using data collected up to age 26 in the Chicago Longitudinal Study, this cost–benefit analysis of the Child-Parent Centers (CPC) is the first for a sustained publicly funded early intervention. The program provides services for low-income families beginning at age 3 in 20 school sites. Kindergarten and school-age services are provided up to age 9 (third grade). Findings from a complete cohort of over 1,400 program and comparison group participants indicated that the CPCs had economic benefits in 2007 dollars that exceeded costs. The preschool program provided a total return to society of $10.83 per dollar invested (18% annual return). The primary sources of benefits were increased earnings and tax revenues and averted criminal justice system costs. The school-age program had a societal return of $3.97 per dollar invested (10% annual return). Findings provide strong evidence that sustained programs can contribute to well-being for individuals and society.

Family Involvement in School and Low-Income Children's Literacy Performance

Dearing, E., Kreider, H., Simpkins, S., and Weiss, H. (January 2007). Family involvement in school and low-income children's literacy performance (Family Involvement Research Digest). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

A groundbreaking study links increases in family involvement to increases in children's achievement.

Parent Involvement

National Middle School Association, (2006). Parent involvement.

See current research on parent involvement and student achievement outcomes.

Parental Involvement and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis

Jeynes, W. H. (2005). Parental involvement and student achievement: A meta-analysis (Family Involvement Research Digest). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

A meta-analysis of 77 parent involvement research studies.

Family Literacy: A Review of Programs and Critical Perspectives

Caspe, M. (2003). Family literacy: A review of programs and critical perspectives (Family Involvement Research Digest). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project.

For over 20 years educational policies have promoted family literacy programs in schools and community-based organizations. In this research review, the authors define family literacy; describe critical perspectives on family literacy programs; draw out the guiding program principles they suggest; and illustrate how these principles are implemented in three different programs.

A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family, and Community Connections on Student Achievement

Henderson, A. T. and Mapp, K. L. (2002). A new wave of evidence: The impact of school, family, and community connections on student achievement. National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory.

This research synthesis examines key issues in the field of family and community connections with schools. It is a synthesis of 51 studies about the impact of family and community involvement on student achievement, and effective strategies to connect schools, families and community.

What Research Says About Parent Involvement in Children's Education

Michigan Department of Education (2002). What research says about parent involvement in children's education.

This fact sheet highlights the relationship between parent involvement and academic achievement and references Joyce L. Epstein's six types of parent involvement.

Effective Schools and Accomplished Teachers: Lessons About Primary-Grade Reading Instruction in Low-Income Schools

Taylor, B.M., Pearson, P.D., Clark, K.M., & Walpole, S. (2000). Effective schools and accomplished teachers: Lessons about primary-grade reading instruction in low-income schools. The Elementary School Journal, 101, 121-165.

This study investigated school and classroom factors related to primary-grade reading achievement in schools with moderate to high numbers of students on subsidized lunch. Fourteen schools across the U.S. and two teachers in each of grades K-3 participated. A combination of school and teacher factors, many of which were intertwined, was found to be important in the most effective schools. Statistically significant school factors included strong links to parents, systematic assessment of pupil progress, and strong building communication and collaboration. A collaborative model for the delivery of reading instruction, including early reading interventions, was a hallmark of the most effective schools. Statistically significant teacher factors included time spent in small-group instruction, time spent in independent reading, high levels of student on-task behavior, and strong home communication. More of the most accomplished teachers and teachers in the most effective schools supplemented explicit phonics instruction with coaching in which they taught students strategies for applying phonics to their everyday reading. Additionally, more of the most accomplished teachers and teachers in the most effective schools employed higher-level questions in discussions of text, and the most accomplished teachers were more likely to ask students to write in response to reading. In all of the most effective schools, reading was clearly a priority at both the school and classroom levels.

Beating the Odds in Teaching All Children to Read

Taylor, B., Pearson, P., Clark, K., & Walpole, S. (1999). Beating the odds in teaching all children to read. CIERA Report 2-006. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor.

What schoolwide practices characterize schools in which at-risk learners are beating the odds? What instructional practices are used by the most accomplished primary-grade teachers and by teachers in the most effective schools? The authors used quantitative and descriptive methods to investigate school and classroom factors related to primary-grade reading achievement. Fourteen schools across the U.S. with moderate to high numbers of students on subsidized lunch were identified as most, moderately, or least effective based on several measures of reading achievement in the primary grades. A combination of school and teacher factors, many of which were intertwined, was found to be important in the most effective schools. Statistically significant school factors included strong links to parents, systematic assessment of pupil progress, strong building communication, and a collaborative model for the delivery of reading instruction, including early reading interventions. In all of the most effective schools, reading was clearly a priority at both the building and classroom level.

Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children

Hart, B. and Risley, T. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Brookes Publishing Company

The landmark longitudinal study of parent-child talk in families. The researchers recorded one full hour of every word spoken at home between parent and child in 42 families over a three year period, with children from seven months to 36 months of age. Follow-up studies by Hart and Risley of those same children at age nine showed that there was a very tight link between the academic success of a child and the number of words the child's parents spoke to the child to age three. See summary

Ways With Words: Language, Life and Work in Communities and Classrooms

Heath, S.B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge University Press.

This book is a classic study of children learning to use language at home and at school in two communities only a few miles apart in the southeastern United States. 'Roadville' is a white working-class community of families steeped for generations in the life of textile mills; 'Trackton' is a black working-class community whose older generations grew up farming the land but whose current members work in the mills. In tracing the children's language development the author shows the deep cultural differences between the two communities, whose ways with words differ as strikingly from each other as either does from the pattern of the townspeople, the mainstream blacks and whites who hold power in the schools and workplaces of the region. Employing the combined skills of ethnographer, social historian, and teacher, the author raises fundamental questions about the nature of language development, the effects of literacy on oral language habits, and the sources of communication problems in schools and workplaces.

Families Matter: Designing Media for a Digital Age

Takeuchi, L. M. Families matter: Designing media for a digital age. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

A new report from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, focuses on two complementary studies that document how families with young children are integrating digital media into the rhythm of daily life. Results from a survey of more than 800 parents of children ages 3 through 10 reveal how parents nationwide feel about raising children in a digital age. In-depth case studies provide further insight into these statistics, probing how parent attitudes toward technology, along with family values, routines, and structures, are shaping young children's experiences using digital media.

Sign up for our free newsletters about reading

Summer Reading Tips to Go! Delivered to your mobile phone in English or Spanish. Sign up today!
Advertisement
"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps