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Exploring cumulative risk and family literacy practices in low-income Latino families

The home literacy environment and other early learning settings such as preschool play a role in children's language and literacy outcomes, yet research suggests that Latino, Spanish-speaking families are less likely than other families to participate in family literacy activities. This study explored the relations among cumulative family risk (i.e., defined by the presence of multiple risk factors, including single-parent household, poverty, welfare receipt, low maternal education, and maternal depression), enrollment in an early learning setting, and family literacy activities in a sample of 238 low-income families of 3-year-old children. The majority of families were of Latino descent (71.6%), but other ethnic groups made up the rest of the sample for comparison purposes. Children who attended family child care programs experienced the least cumulative risk compared to children attending public center-based programs or children not enrolled in any early learning setting. Children in families with the most cumulative risk engaged in the fewest literacy activities. Home language and maternal immigrant status, but not enrollment in an early learning setting, were significant predictors of family literacy activities. Practice or Policy: These research findings yield practical descriptive information indicating that most families in this high-risk sample participated in some family literacy practices, and they shed light on which families might particularly benefit from family literacy interventions. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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