Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2012, Article ID 652406, 9 pages
Research Article

Increasing Latino Parents’ Verbal Interactions with Their Preschool-Aged Children

1Vanderbilt School of Medicine, 2nd Floor, 2146 Belcourt Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212, USA
2Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
3University of Massachusetts Lowell, One University Avenue, Lowell, MA 01854, USA
4Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 2200 Children’s Way, DOT8246, Nashville, TN 37232, USA

Received 7 December 2011; Accepted 1 February 2012

Academic Editor: B. Marlow

Copyright © 2012 Sabina Gesell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The rapidly growing Hispanic American population is experiencing an academic achievement gap that seems to be rooted in disparities in early childhood education and literacy development. Children of non-English-speaking immigrant parents are at greatest risk of poor school performance, but there is potential to capitalize on immigrants’ drive by encouraging them to engage with their children in dialog while reading native-language storybooks. This paper reports on a community-based randomized controlled trial ( 𝑁 = 7 9 ) delivered to mostly Mexican immigrant parents of preschool-age children. Intervention group parents attended three monthly 60-minute sessions based on the Dialogic Reading Model—C.A.R. (Comment and Wait, Ask Questions and Wait, and Respond by Adding More), which teaches parents to have a conversation about pictures in books, with the goal of enhancing verbal exchanges with the child in the parent’s native language. After the 3-month intervention, parents in the bilingual early language development intervention reported placing greater value on children’s active verbal participation in reading compared to control group parents who participated in a healthy lifestyle intervention. These results suggest that Hispanics’ educational outcomes may be improved by educating parents on the value of playful conversations with young children while reading books in one’s native language.