Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Parent-Mediated Reading Interventions with Children Up to Four Years Old: A Systematic Review

Sloat, E.A., Letourneau, N.L., Joschko, J.R., Schryer, E.A., Colpitts, J.E. (2015) Parent-Mediated Reading Interventions with Children up to Four Years Old: A Systematic Review. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 38(1), 39-56.,

Access: Institutional Access

Publication year


study description

Systematic Review.

core topic(s)

Early Literacy , Shared Reading

Population Characteristics

Child Age , Infant/Newborn , Toddler/Preschool

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Clinic-Based Programs and Interventions , Home Language/Literacy/Learning Environment , Parent-Child Relationships/Interactions , Reading Frequency


This systematic review evaluates evidence on the effectiveness of parent-mediated interventions that increase the time parents spend reading with young children up to 4 years old.


Interventions to increase parent-child reading.

outcomes evaluated

Interventions effectiveness in increasing reading time.


Crochrane review methods to search literature and identify eligible articles. Studies were then analyzed using 5 thematic discussion areas: study design and participants, intervention characteristics, home-based, clinic-based, assessment measures, data collection points.

sample size

n=4 (studies met inclusion criteria); n=3 (studies included in meta-analysis)


Measure of Treatment Effect: time spend reading (primary outcome), expressive and receptive vocabulary (secondary outcomes).


Four studies met inclusion criteria, reporting outcomes for 664 children. Three provided data for meta-analysis of effects on reading duration. The standardized mean difference in reading duration was 1.61 (95% CI, 1.03, 2.19 fixed-effect), favoring intervention over control.


Interventions aimed at increasing the amount of time parents spend reading interactively with their children yield positive results. Findings also demonstrate that pediatric primary care providers are well positioned to deliver reading promotion programs to parents and preschoolers.


Few studies were included in our review, all of which originated in the United States. Furthermore, a single researcher acted as principal investigator in two of the four review studies (High et al., 1998, 2000), and co-author on a third (Golova et al., 1999). These three study designs were also similar in that they were all conducted in urban community based pediatric health centers serving low-income multiethnic populations. Cronan’s et al’s. (1996) study also targeted a low-income multiethnic population recruited from a community-based school readiness program. Interventions for the three studies occurring in health centers were also similar in their use of a combination of reading materials, guidance, and instructional reading strategies. As such, it could be argued that the above represents a limited applicability of the evidence either to other health and home care settings, or to other public and private sector settings and agencies delivering early childhood programs emphasizing parent-mediated reading.