Title page for ETD etd-11122010-113434

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Morris, Lekeitha Renee'
Author's Email Address lhartf2@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-11122010-113434
Title Behaviors and Beliefs of African American Caregivers As Related to Their Children's Language-Literacy Development
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Communication Sciences & Disorders
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Oetting, Janna B. Committee Chair
Hoffman, Paul Committee Member
Norris, Janet Committee Member
Pierce, Sarah Committee Member
Gansle, Kristin Dean's Representative
  • African American shared book reading behaviors
  • caregiver training
Date of Defense 2010-11-01
Availability unrestricted
This study examined African American (AA) caregiversí beliefs about their childrenís language-literacy development and their book reading behaviors with their children as a function of socioeconomic status (SES). Caregiversí behaviors were examined before, during, and after a three-day caregiver training program that targeted four behaviors (i.e., tracking print, reference to print, text to life, and interpretations). Participants were 20 caregiver-child dyads classified as Low-SES (LSES) or Middle-SES (MSES) based on the caregiversí level of education. Children were typically developing girls between the ages of four and five years.

At pre-test, the two groups of caregivers differed in some of their beliefs about childrenís language-literacy development. They also were similar in the length of their book reading sessions, in their use of tracking print, text to life, and reference to print behaviors, but the MSES group produced more interpretations and other book reading comments than the LSES group.

During training and at post-test, both groups increased the length of their book reading sessions and their use of all targeted behaviors. Nevertheless, the MSES groupís book reading sessions were longer and they produced more target behaviors than the LSES group. The MSES group also incorporated more facilitative language behaviors that were not targeted in the training into their book reading sessions than the LSES group.

Correlations between the caregiversí behaviors and beliefs at pre-testing were positive but low in magnitude. Correlations were higher at post-test, but did not reach a level of statistical significance.

Findings demonstrate the appropriateness of book reading as a caregiver training target for AA caregivers because both groups were able to increase the length of their book reading sessions, and within these sessions, increase their ability to use a number of behaviors that are known to facilitate child language-literacy development. Nevertheless, the findings show that variability exists within AA caregivers as a function of SES. This variability is related to some of their beliefs about childrenís language-literacy development and their ability to utilize training to enrich their book reading with their children. Clinicians should consider this variability when designing caregiver training programs for diverse groups of AA caregivers.

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