Date of Conferral







Patricia Anderson


Little is known about literacy engagement between low-income parents and their preschool children, although it may affect children's language development and later school achievement. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine shared reading interactions among low-income parents and their children. The research questions addressed the lexical diversity of books read and the shared book reading experience of preschool children as reported by their low-income parents. The conceptual framework was based on the work of Hart and Risley, who proposed that the extent and value of literacy environment and collaboration during shared book reading are linked to the socioeconomic background of the parents. Ten parents who are clients of a subsidized childcare program formed the sample and generated data collected from reading logs and interviews. The text of a selection of books logged by parents was assessed for lexical diversity and transcripts of interviews were analyzed using open coding. The results of this study indicated that the participants recognized reading as a family activity and engaged their children in conversation about stories they read and new words encountered in the texts as regular aspects of their children's reading experience. Low-income parents in this study described shared book reading as a positive experience they and their children enjoyed. Lexical diversity was apparent in the books parents recorded in a 2-week reading log. This study increased understanding of the value low-income parents place on shared literacy engagement with their preschool children, and the high quality of the shared reading experience reported by these parents. Positive social change may result when educators support low-income families in literacy engagement improving their children's language development and later school achievement.