Helping build your preschooler's language skills may be just a text message away, new research suggests.
According to a study conducted by Stanford University researchers in local San Francisco preschools, a text messaging program targeted at parents of preschoolers helped to significantly increase the number of in-home literacy-based activities like "telling stories, going over words that rhyme, or completing puzzles together," a news release states. Even better, these activities, in turn, led to higher scores on literacy-based tests among the children.
Researchers with the Stanford Graduate School of Education created the program, called READY4K! The program periodically sent text messages to parents offering tips on how they could engage with their child to develop early literacy skills.
Sample text messages included reminders like: "Say two words to your child that start with the same sound, like happy & healthy."
Three texts were sent each week throughout the school year to the participating parents of four-year-olds. On Mondays, parents received a general fact about the benefits of a certain literacy skill. On Wednesdays, parents got a specific tip on something they could do to work with their child on building that skill. On Fridays, parents received ideas on how they can take it a step further.
"I believe that all families want to be involved in their child's learning, but many feel they don't have the time or perceive that supporting their child's learning might be labor intensive or something that the teacher is better at," Meenoo Yashar, Executive Director of Program Quality & Enhancement at the San Francisco Unified School District, said in the news release.
"The texting program offered some simple nuggets around literacy strategies and validated that families do want to be involved, if given information that is easy to receive and useful."
It's never too early to encourage reading and writing skills for your little one. Read about more ways you can help foster your child's interest in learning here.
Photo of dad and son courtesy of Shutterstock.