Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Perspectives on Shared Reading Among A Sample of Latino Parents

Jimenez, M.E., Hudson, S.V., Lima, D., Mendelsohn, A.L., Pellerano, M., Crabtree, B.F. (2019). Perspectives on Shared Reading Among a Sample of Latino Parents. Child: Care, Health and Development, 45(2), 292–299.,

Access: Institutional Access

Publication year


study description

Qualitative study using semistructured in-depth interviews.

core topic(s)

Shared Reading

Population Characteristics

Infant/Newborn , Lingually Diverse , Race, Ethnicity, and Culture , Toddler/Preschool , Urban

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Parent Behaviors and Skills , Parent Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs , Play


We sought to understand shared reading within the broader context of parenting among Latino parents.


Shared reading.

outcomes evaluated

Parental perceptions of shared reading.


Spanish-speaking, Latina mothers of children aged ≤3 years from an urban Federally Qualified Health Center.


We conducted in-depth interviews, purposively sampling Spanish-speaking, Latina mothers of children aged ≤3 years from an urban Federally Qualified Health Center. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed iteratively. We allowed themes to emerge from data rather than impose an a priori framework. We sought disconfirming evidence within interviews and collected additional data to ensure no new themes were identified (saturation).

sample size

n=12 (interviews)


Measure of Perceptions: semi-structured in-depth interviews using an interview guide developed through a literature review and ethnographic interviews.


We achieved saturation after 12 interviews. The median child age was 1.4 years. We identified four major themes: (a) All participants reported engaging in literacy promoting activities such as conversations, storytelling, play, and singing even if they did not read to their children daily. (b) Parents' attitudes regarding early learning and development influenced the extent to which parents engaged in shared reading with their child. (c) Participants described feelings that they ought to read daily with their children but were not and cited a variety of barriers. (d) Parents who engaged in frequent shared reading described it as a joyful and relaxed experience; parents who did not engage in shared reading described reading as instructing children or engaging in drills (e.g., teaching letters).


Urban, Latina mothers who did not read regularly with their children nonetheless recognized its importance suggesting that existing programs have raised awareness even among underserved families. Refinement of messaging may be needed to move past raising awareness to facilitating shared reading for some parents.


Given that this is a qualitative study and we purposively sampled Latina mothers of children aged ≤3 years from one urban clinic, our findings may not transfer to all settings. Although this is a Reach Out and Read site, we did not observe intervention receipt. We also do not have objective data to confirm how often parents read with their children. Thus, participants' responses may be subject to recall or social desirability bias although participants openly discussed not engaging in shared reading which makes this less likely. All interviews were conducted in Spanish, but we did not assess English proficiency. Similarly, although a substantial percentage of our participants had not completed eighth grade increasing the possibility of below proficient literacy levels, we did not formally assess literacy levels in our sample.