Empowering Young Children in Poverty by Improving Their Home Literacy Environments

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2 Scopus citations


An innovative DVD of classic nursery rhymes and stories empowered at-risk kindergarten children to control in the home when and how much they listen, promoting better listening, reading, and overall literacy comprehension skills. Coupled with modest teacher training, and limited use in the classroom, the DVD generated dramatic vocabulary growth in nine months and remarkably higher reading scores three years later. Funded by a Georgia Improving Teacher Quality grant, the study was conducted in 33 kindergarten classrooms in 31 Title I schools, each of which normally produced significantly below average test scores in reading. The study documents 459 kindergarten students mean improvement from the 27th to the 47th percentile on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III). The 303 students who remained in the system as 3rd graders and took Georgias statewide Criterion Referenced Competency Test in reading failed to meet standards less than half as often (7.6% vs. 16.13%) as their system peers, and scored in the highest range 35% more often (39.6% vs. 27.02%). Forty thousand DVDs have since been distributed and the DVDs ten hours of audio, text, and pictures are now freely available online at hearatale.org.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016


  • Family literacy
  • literacy
  • nursery rhymes
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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