NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

One Step at a Time: The Effects of an Early Literacy Text Messaging Program for Parents of Preschoolers

Benjamin N. York, Susanna Loeb

NBER Working Paper No. 20659
Issued in November 2014, Revised in November 2014
NBER Program(s):CH, HE, ED

Substantial systematic differences exist in children’s home learning experiences. The few existing parenting programs that have shown promise often are not widely accessible, either due to the demands they place on parents’ time and effort or cost. In this study, we evaluate the effects of READY4K!, a text messaging program for parents of preschoolers designed to help them support their children’s literacy development. The program targets the behavioral barriers to good parenting by breaking down the complexity of parenting into small steps that are easy-to-achieve and providing continuous support for an entire school year. We find that READY4K! positively affected the extent to which parents engaged in home literacy activities with their children by 0.22 to 0.34 standard deviations, as well as parental involvement at school by 0.13 to 0.19 standard deviations. Increases in parental activity at home and school translated into student learning gains in some areas of early literacy, ranging from approximately 0.21 to 0.34 standard deviations. The widespread use, low cost, and ease of scalability of text messaging make texting an attractive approach to supporting parenting practices.

download in pdf format
   (530 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20659

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
McCaig and Pavcnik w20891 Informal Employment in a Growing and Globalizing Low-income Country
Kahn and Walsh w20503 Cities and the Environment
Mishkin and White w20737 Unprecedented Actions: The Federal Reserve’s Response to the Global Financial Crisis in Historical Perspective
Mayer, Kalil, Oreopoulos, and Gallegos w21602 Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Parental Engagement: The Parents and Children Together (PACT) Intervention
Gertler, Shah, Alzua, Cameron, Martinez, and Patil w20997 How Does Health Promotion Work? Evidence From The Dirty Business of Eliminating Open Defecation
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us