MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Adriana Weisleder, PhD
Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics
NYU Langone Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: An estimated 250 million children in low- and middle-income countries do not reach their developmental potential due to poverty. Many programs in the US, such as Reach Out and Read and Video Interaction Project, have shown success in reducing poverty-related disparities in early child development by promoting parent-child interactions in cognitively stimulating activities such as shared bookreading.
This randomized study sought to determine whether a program focused on supporting parent-child shared bookreading would result in enhanced child development among 2- to 4-year-old children in a low-resource region in northern Brazil. Families in the program could borrow children’s books on a weekly basis and could participate in monthly parent workshops focused on reading aloud.
Findings showed that participating families exhibited higher quantity and quality of shared reading interactions than families in a control group, and children showed higher vocabularies, working memory, and IQ.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: These findings are important because they demonstrate that supporting parents of young children through a program focused on shared bookreading can enhance developmental outcomes among children in low and middle income countries. The study included many families with very low income and education who were supported and empowered by the program to engage in reading aloud with their children. Impacts on young children’s vocabulary and IQ before they start school are likely to increase their educational achievement and economic productivity. The program was performed at educational child care settings but could be utilized at any community location. We believe that there is tremendous potential for this program to be scaled in Brazil and in other countries.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: This program represents a promising approach that should be studied at scale, including across multiple geographic regions. Future research should also seek to establish optimal conditions for implementation and scaling.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Reading Aloud and Child Development: A Cluster-Randomized Trial in Brazil
Adriana Weisleder, Denise S.R. Mazzuchelli, Aline Sá Lopez, Walfrido Duarte Neto, Carolyn Brockmeyer Cates, Hosana Alves Gonçalves, Rochele Paz Fonseca, João Oliveira, Alan L. Mendelsoh
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