Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Use of Audio Prompting to Assist Mothers with Limited English Proficiency in Tutoring Their Pre-Kindergarten Children on English Vocabulary

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Use of Audio Prompting to Assist Mothers with Limited English Proficiency in Tutoring Their Pre-Kindergarten Children on English Vocabulary

Article excerpt


Parents with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) may find it difficult to become involved in their children's education due to their lack of English proficiency. The present study examined the effects of using audio prompting to assist mothers with LEP in teaching their preschool children English vocabulary. Mothers were trained to tutor their children using a Talking Photo Album. The Talking Photo Album used audio prompting that can support a naive tutor. In this study, the mother with LEP received necessary assistance in providing accurate English object names and feedback to her child. Results of the study indicate that all participant mothers and children made substantial gains in naming objects, and children successfully generalized from pictures of objects to authentic or three dimensional representatives of the objects.


Parent involvement is a critical component of preschool children's success in school. Several investigations have demonstrated that parent support is an important factor in the development of school readiness, including early literacy skills, in preschool children (Bennett, Weigel, & Martin, 2002; Parker, Boak, Griffin, Ripple, & Peay, 1999; Rush, 1999). These studies examined the effects of the family literacy environment, quality of parent-child interactions, and parent involvement in literacy activities with their preschool child on various school readiness indicators.

Parent tutoring is one way of involving parents in supporting children's acquisition of academic skills. Results of several investigations have shown the overall positive impact of parent tutoring on academic achievement. Parent tutoring has been shown to be effective in the areas of reading (Fiala & Sheridan, 2003; Hook & DuPaul, 1999; Thurston & Dasta, 1990), math (Thurston & Dasta, 1990), and spelling (Thurston & Dasta, 1990). According to a meta-analysis completed by Erion (2006), procedures used in all of these studies included the provision of modeling and supervised practice and most of the studies provided written instructions to the parents.

Although results of several investigations have highlighted the overall positive impact of parent involvement on academic achievement of children who have Limited English Proficiency (LEP) (Aspiazu, Bauer, & Spillett, 1998), those children with LEP are less likely to experience the benefits of parent involvement. Bhagwanji and McCollum (1998) found that non-English speaking parents participated significantly less frequently in most involvement activities compared to English speaking parents. These investigators discussed the possibility that minority families new to the United States may feel inadequate when working with their children and their child's teacher due to language differences and lack of experience with the school system and culture.

An example of a simple, explicit strategy for improving literacy skills in LEP children and for increasing the involvement of LEP parents in their child's education can be seen in a study by Lopez and Cole (1999), who examined the effect of parent tutoring using an academic drill procedure on Hispanic children's academic readiness skills. Parents in the study had limited English proficiency, yet successfully taught letter names to their children through the use of a scripted procedure involving repeated exposure to letters. Using a multiple-base-line across participants design, researchers demonstrated a functional relationship between parent tutoring in letter names and participants' letter naming accuracy and fluency.

Additional research on simple, explicit strategies for parent tutoring is needed across a range of skills. Of particular importance for preschool English language learners is the acquisition of English oral vocabulary. It is particularly important that children with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) are provided home support for acquiring language skills. …

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