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Publication - Research Publication

Language Development and Enjoyment of Reading: Impacts of Early Parent-Child Activities in Two Growing up in Scotland Cohorts

Published: 3 Jun 2016
ISBN:
9781786522962

Language development and enjoyment of reading: impacts of early parent-child activities in two Growing Up in Scotland cohorts.

72 page PDF

3.2MB

72 page PDF

3.2MB

Contents
Language Development and Enjoyment of Reading: Impacts of Early Parent-Child Activities in Two Growing up in Scotland Cohorts
Chapter 6: Relationship Between Aspects of the Policy Initiatives and Home Learning Activities and Vocabulary Ability

72 page PDF

3.2MB

Chapter 6: Relationship Between Aspects of the Policy Initiatives and Home Learning Activities and Vocabulary Ability

6.1 Introduction

Earlier analysis demonstrated how frequency of undertaking home learning activities varied by socio-economic circumstances for both BC1 and BC2. This chapter examines whether the frequency of undertaking home learning activities also varied according to whether or not parents had reported reciept and use of the initial Bookbug pack and visiting the PlayTalkRead website. This chapter draws solely on BC2 data.

The chapter will explore, first, the relationship between receipt and use of the initial Bookbug pack and frequency of reading and, second, the relationship between a parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website and their child doing frequent activities. It also considers whether there is any variation in these relationships according to socio-economic circumstances.

Multivariable logistic regression analysis is used to test whether parental engagement with the initial Bookbug pack and/or the PlayTalkRead website was independently associated with undertaking frequent home learning activities when controlling for other factors known to be associated with home learning activities.Finally, the chapter uses the same techniques to explore whether there is any relationship between parental engagement with these aspects of Bookbug and PlayTalkRead and their child's language ability.

6.2 Key findings

  • A child's main carer recalling having received and used the initial Bookbug pack was found to be positively associated with doing frequent reading activities with the child at 10 months. This relationship remained after controlling for other background factors. The association was equally evident amongst all parents - including both those with lower and higher levels of education.
  • A parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website was found to be positively associated with doing frequent home learning activities both when the child was aged 10 months and 3 years. Again, this relationship remained significant after controlling for other factors. When the child was 10 months, this relationship was stronger in families where parents had higher levels of education. By age 3, however, no such variation was observed.
  • While receipt and use of the initial Bookbug pack and having accessed the PlayTalkRead website were found to be positively associated with doing frequent home learning activities, it is not possible to conclude that using these resources led to home learning. It is possible that parents who were already predisposed to undertaking home learning activities were simply more likely to use or recall using of them.
  • A positive association was found between a child's main carer having received and used the initial Bookbug pack and the child having better expressive vocabulary at age 3, also when other factors were controlled for. This relationship appeared to be stronger in families where parents had higher levels of education.
  • While receipt and use of the initial Bookbug pack was found to be positively associated with expressive vocabulary at age 3, it is not possible to conclude that using this resource led to better vocabulary. Again, it is possible that parents who were predisposed to undertaking home learning activities, which in turn would have improved their child's vocabulary, were simply more likely to use or recall using this resource.
  • No evidence was found to suggest an independent association between a parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website and their child's vocabulary score at age 3.

6.3 Bookbug and frequency of early reading activities

As noted earlier, a key aim of the Bookbug programme is to encourage parents to share books with their children. This section explores whether receipt and use of the initial Bookbug pack was associated with reading frequency at 10 months and 3 years, or with an increase in reading frequency between the two age points.

Table 6.1 below shows the frequency of reading or looking at books by whether the parent had received and used the Bookbug pack. The table shows that parents who received and used the pack read or looked at books more frequently with their child at both ages than parents who did not receive or use Bookbug.

Table 6.1 Frequency of looking at books and reading, by Bookbug receipt and use

Bookbug receipt and use ( BC2)
Received and used Received but did not use Did not receive
% % %
Reading frequency 10 months
Most days 74 39 64
A few days a week 19 27 23
Less often 7 33 13
Unweighted bases 4389 348 1365
Reading frequency at age 3
Most days 92 84 87
A few days a week 7 13 10
Less often 1 3 3
Unweighted bases 3644 288 1068
Change in reading frequency between 10 months and 3 years*
Increase in reading frequency % 88 89 84
Unweighted bases 919 170 353

*Only including those who looked at books less frequently at 10 months.

10 months - sig testing on most days: p<.001; Age 3 - sig testing on most days: p<.001; Change in reading - sig testing on increase: NS

The relationship between receipt and use of the Bookbug pack and reading frequency shown in Table 6.1 may simply be explained by the fact that those who recalled receiving and using the resources were already predisposed to engage in more frequent reading with their child. It was possible to control for this predisposition to some extent. As demonstrated in sections 5.3 and 4.3.3 above, both receipt and use of the Bookbug pack and doing frequent home learning activities are strongly associated with socio-economic advantage. Multivariable analysis was therefore undertaken to test the relationship between receipt and use of the pack and frequency of home learning activities while controlling for differences in socio-economic characteristics and other differences in circumstances known to influence reading frequency. [29] This showed that irrespective of socio-economic circumstances, parents who reported receipt and use of the Bookbug pack were more likely to read more frequently with their child when their child was aged 10 months and 3 years.

When the child was aged 10 months, receipt and use of the Bookbug pack was positively associated with doing frequent reading activities, even after controlling for other background factors that are known to affect reading frequency. However, when frequency of reading at 10 months was included in the model predicting frequent reading at age 3, there was no longer an independent relationship between receipt and use of the Bookbug pack and frequency of reading at this age. Thus any association between Bookbug and frequency of parent-child reading at age 3 may simply be a consquence of an association at 10 months and the subsequent relationship between early and later parent-child reading.

Encouragingly, the relationship between receipt of and use of the Bookbug pack and home learning activities does not appear to be confined to the most advantaged socio-economic groups. Earlier analysis showed that parents with higher levels of education were both more likely to have received and used the pack and to read frequently with their child. As a result, we may have expected the relationship between receipt and use of the Bookbug pack and frequent reading to be stronger amongst parents with higher levels of education than amongst those with lower levels of education. Analysis was undertaken to test whether the relationship between having received and used the pack and frequent reading at age 10 months varied by level of parental education. [30] The analysis showed that there was no difference in this relationship according to parental education.

Whether or not parents had received and used Bookbug was not associated with an increase in reading frequency between the age 10 months and 3 years.

6.4 PlayTalkRead website and frequency of activities

As noted earlier, a key aim of the PlayTalkRead campaign is to encourage parents to do more activities with their young children. The following sections explore whether accessing one aspect of this campaign - the PlayTalkRead website - was associated with the frequency of undertaking parent-child activities when the cohort child was aged 10 months and 3 years.

Table 6.2 shows the proportion of parents who looked at books or read stories, or sang songs or recited nursery rhymes with their child most days by whether they had accessed the PlayTalkRead website by the time of the 10 months interview.

Table 6.2 Activities at 10 months, by whether accessed PlayTalkRead website

Whether accessed PlayTalkRead website ( BC2)
Accessed website Did not access website
% %
Overall frequency of activities at 10 months
Did both activities most days 78 63
Did one activity most days and other activity less frequently 20 29
Did both activities once a week or less 2 7
Unweighted bases 488 5630

Sig testing on 'Did both activities most days': p<.001

Those who had accessed the PlayTalkRead website were more likely to read and sing frequently with their child at 10 months than those who had not accessed the website. This association remained significant when controlling for additional factors, including parental level of education. [31] Interestingly, when testing the association between the child doing frequent activities at 10 months and the child's parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website separately for the two activities ( i.e. looking at books or reading stories, and singing songs or reciting rhymes), the association remains significant for reading, but not for singing.

Table 6.3 below compares the mean score of how many days in the last week BC2 children did the four activities at age 3 - looking at books or reading stories; singing songs or reciting nursery rhymes; painting or drawing; and playing at recognising words, letters, shapes and numbers - by whether their parents had accessed the PlayTalkRead website (either when the child was 10 months or 3 years old).

Table 6.3 Frequency of activities at age 3, by whether parents had accessed PlayTalkRead website

Mean score ( BC2)
Accessed PlayTalkRead website 21.8
Did not access PlayTalkRead website 20.3

On average, at age 3, children whose parents had accessed the website had engaged in a slightly higher number of activities in the previous week than those whose parents had not accessed the website. This relationship remains significant when controlling for differences in parental level of education and a range of other factors. [32], [33]

As with Bookbug, earlier analysis showed that parents with higher levels of education were both more likely to have accessed the PlayTalkRead website and to undertake frequent activities with their child. As a result, we may have expected the correlation between a parent accessing the PlayTalkRead website and their child doing frequent activities to be stronger amongst parents with higher levels of education than parents with lower levels of education. Additional analysis suggested that the relationship between accessing the PlayTalkRead website and undertaking frequent activities varied by parental level of education at age 10 months but not at age 3. [34] At 10 months, it appears that the relationship between having accessed the PlayTalkRead website and the child undertaking frequent home learning activities is stronger in families where parents had higher levels of education. [35]

Caution must be taken when interpreting these results. It is not possible, based on the analysis presented here, to make any inferences about the direction of the relationship between parents accessing the PlayTalkRead website and doing frequent activities with their child. That is, based on this analysis we do not know whether parents started doing (more) frequent activities with their child as a result of accessing the website, or whether the parents who accessed the PlayTalkRead website were already doing frequent activities with their child and were simply accessing the website as one out of a number of resources to support them in their parenting.

6.5 Bookbug pack and PlayTalkRead website: Associations with vocabulary at age 3

Findings showing that frequency of early home learning activities are independently associated with vocabulary ability at age 3 arguably support the rationale behind initiatives such as Bookbug and PlayTalkRead which seek to encourage parents to undertake frequent home learning activities with their children from an early age. As outlined above, for children in BC2, frequency of reading at 10 months was independently associated with their parents having received and used Bookbug, and with their parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website. Frequency of activities at age 3 was also independently associated with their parent having accessed the PlayTalkRead website. Given this, it is feasible to suggest that - through their independent associations with frequency of reading at 10 months, and frequency of doing activities at age 3, respectively - the child's main carer having used and received the initial Bookbug pack and having accessed the PlayTalkRead website may also be associated with the child having better expressive vocabulary at age 3.

In order to test this, the multivariable model outlined in section 4.6 was amended to include receipt and use of Bookbug and whether the parent had accessed the PlayTalkRead website (either when the child was 10 months or 3 years old). The analysis showed that there was an independent association between the child's main carer having received and used Bookbug and the child having better expressive vocabulary at age 3, when other factors were controlled for. There was no direct relationship between accessing the PlayTalkRead website and children's vocabulary ability.

Further analysis suggested that the relationship between having received and used Bookbug and having good vocabulary at age 3 was stronger in families where parents had higher levels of education. [36]

It is important to note that the analysis does not allow us to conclude anything about causality - that is, we cannot conclude that parents receiving and using Bookbug leads automatically to their child having better vocabulary at age 3.

The lack of a direct relationship between parents having accessed the PlayTalkRead website and vocabulary was arguably not surprising given it does not tell us anything about how often they visited the website and the extent to which they used the information provided. Furthermore, it gives us no information on whether or not parents were aware of or engaged with the wider PlayTalkRead campaign.


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