How can parents improve the literacy skills of their children?



Learning to read is a unique ability developed in early school years, that is indispensable to children’s academic achievement, as well as to a healthy, safe and a prosperous life. However, the development trajectory of reading skills can be severely influenced by children’s socio-economic background. Research has shown systematically that one of the leading causes of the limited literacy skills of many underprivileged children is their inadequate language development which is often explained by the low- quality of parent-child communication. To date, there is very little empirical evidence that shows how families can improve the language skills of their children effectively.

"How can parents improve the literacy skills of their children?" (Homelit) is a research project funded by the Romanian Government through the Exploratory Research Projects mechanism (the 2021 Fundamental and Frontier Research Call*) which aims to measure the extent to which a home-based parent implemented educational intervention program can develop the language and literacy skills of socioeconomically disadvantaged children. This research wants to answer the following questions: 1. To what extent can a systematic guided homework program help parents improve the vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension of their children on measures that include target words? 2. To what extent the potential gains of such program generalize to standardized measures of vocabulary, listening and reading comprehension?

This project aims to answer these questions through a field experimental study (randomized control trial) that will measure the effects of a home-based educational intervention program aimed to develop the language and literacy skills of children raised in socio-economically disadvantaged homes. This type of design is acknowledged as the best way of drawing conclusions about whether an intervention is effective or not. The results of this study aim to inform teachers and educational stakeholders about how they can effectively team-up with the parents in order to support their students’ language and literacy development.

*More details about the call can be found here

Principal Investigator and Host Institution

Dacian Dolean, PhD (Babes-Bolyai University)

Arne Lervag (University of Oslo)
Monica-Melby Lervag (University of Oslo)
Vacant positions (10)

Project duration

31 months

Total funding

248,318.75 EURO