January 7, 2015

Texting Tips to Parents May Improve Children’s Literacy

According to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, when educators text tips to parents, preschoolers benefit. As reported in the New York Times, “[t]he research…found that preschoolers whose parents received text messages with brief tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.”

Over the course of eight months, the researchers sent text messages to 440 participating families with preschoolers. Half of the parents received texts three times a week with specific suggestions such as “Let your child hold the book. Ask what it is about.” The other half only received one text every two weeks with general information about vaccinations or kindergarten enrollment. When tested for letter and sound recognition, the children whose parents received the more frequent, specific texts performed at a level two to three months ahead of those whose parents received the general, biweekly texts.

The Times article notes that the cost for the program was less than $1 per child since most parents’ phone plans include unlimited text messages. For more information, click here to read the full study (subscription required).