Objective: To determine whether mothers with plans related to shared reading and baby books in the home at the time of delivery of their newborns would be more likely to engage in shared reading behaviors at age 6 months.
Methods: This was a cohort study with enrollment after birth and follow-up at 6 months in an urban public hospital. Predictors included mothers' attitudes and resources related to shared reading during the postpartum period. Outcomes included mothers' shared reading activities and resources at 6 months, as assessed by the StimQ-READ measure.
Results: A total of 173 mother-infant dyads were assessed. In multiple regression analyses adjusting for sociodemographics and maternal depression and literacy, StimQ-READ score at 6 months was increased in association with all 3 postpartum predictors: plans for reading as a strategy for school success (adjusted mean 1.7-point increase in 6-month score; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.3-3.0), plans to read in infancy (3.1-point increase; 95% CI, 1.6-4.6), and having baby books in the home (2.3-point increase; 95% CI, 0.9-3.6). In multiple logistic regression analysis, mothers with 2 or more attitudes and resources had an adjusted odds ratio of 6.2 (95% CI, 2.0-18.9) for having initiated reading at 6 months.
Conclusions: Maternal attitudes and resources in early infancy related to shared reading are important predictors of reading behaviors by 6 months. Cumulative postnatal attitudes and resources are the strongest predictors of later behaviors. Additional research is needed regarding whether guidance about shared reading in early infancy or pregnancy would enhance programs such as Reach Out and Read.