This study investigated the effects of a family literacy program for Latino parents' language practices at home and their children's oral language skills. Specifically, the study examined the extent to which: (a) the program called Family Reading Intervention for Language and Literacy in Spanish (FRILLS) was effective at teaching low-education, low-income Latino parents three language strategies (i.e., comments, high-level questions and recasts) as measured by parent implementation, (b) parents maintained implementation of the three language strategies two weeks following the program, and (c) parent implementation of such practices positively impacted children's oral language skills as measured by number of inferences, conversational turns, number of different words, and the Mean Length of Utterance in words (MLU-w).
Five Latino mothers and their Spanish-speaking preschool children participated in a multiple baseline single-subject design across participants. After stable baseline data, each mother was randomly selected to initiate the intervention. Program initiation was staggered across the five mothers. The mothers engaged in seven individual intervention sessions. Data on parent and child outcomes were collected across three experimental conditions: baseline, intervention, and follow-up. This study employed visual analysis of the data to determine the program effects on parent and child outcome variables.
Results indicated that the program was effective in increasing the mothers' use of comments and high-level questions, but not recasts, when reading to their children. The program had a positive effect on the children's number of inferences, different words, and conversational turns, but not on the mean length of utterances. Findings indicate that FRILLS may be effective at extending and enriching the language environment that low-income children who are culturally and linguistically diverse experience at home. Three results with important implications for those who implement, develop, or examine family literacy programs are discussed.