Intention to Read to Newborns Following a Brief Reading Promotion Intervention among Low-Income Pregnant Women

  • Deshanett Clay
  • Carolyn R. Ahlers-Schmidt
  • Mary Benton
  • Matt Engel
  • Molly Brown
Keywords: reading, education, infant, pregnant women


Introduction. Reading to children can increase word knowledge and
success in school. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
beginning reading at birth. However, children from low-income
families are exposed to less words, including reading exposure, than
children from high-income families.
Methods.xPregnant women attending a community prenatal education
program targeted at high-risk and low-income populations
were recruited into this study. Participants completed a pre-survey,
engaged with a brief educational intervention, then completed a
matched post-survey. Surveys assessed perceived benefits, intended
behaviors, and self-efficacy regarding reading to their child.
Results. Of 61 eligible participants, 54 (89%) completed the study.
Participants reported being Black (33%), White (30%), Hispanic
(28%), and other race (9%). Average gestational age at enrollment
was 27 weeks (range 13 to 38 weeks). The average age of respondents
was 26 years (SD = 7.2); 46% reported being pregnant for the first
time. Following the intervention, no change in knowledge regarding
benefits of reading was observed, however, baseline knowledge was
high (58% - 94%). At post-test, significantly more women reported it
was important to start reading to their child at birth (83% vs 56%; p
< 0.001) and that they planned to start reading to their child at birth
(70% vs 50%; p = 0.001).
Conclusions. A brief educational intervention showed promise in
increasing pregnant women’s intentions to read to their children and
should be considered in conjunction with other reading promotion
programs. Follow-up to assess actual reading behavior is needed.
Kans J Med 2019;12(2):50-52.

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