Mexican American mothers of low and middle socioeconomic status: communication behaviors and interactive strategies during shared book reading

Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch. 2009 Jul;40(3):271-82. doi: 10.1044/0161-1461(2008/07-0053). Epub 2008 Oct 24.


Purpose: The aim of this investigation was to describe and compare the communication behaviors and interactive reading strategies used by Mexican American mothers of low- and middle-socioeconomic status (SES) background during shared book reading.

Method: Twenty Mexican American mother-child dyads from the Southwestern United States were observed during two book reading sessions. The data were coded across a number of communication behavior categories and were analyzed using the Adult/Child Interactive Reading Inventory (ACIRI; A. DeBruin-Parecki, 1999).

Results: Mexican American mothers used a variety of communication behaviors during shared book reading with their preschool children. Significant differences between the SES groups regarding the frequency of specific communication behaviors were revealed. Middle-SES mothers used positive feedback and yes/no questions more often than did low-SES mothers. Mexican American mothers also used a variety of interactive reading strategies with varying frequency, as measured by the ACIRI. They enhanced attention to text some of the time, but rarely promoted interactive reading/supported comprehension or used literacy strategies. There were no significant differences between the SES groups regarding the frequency of interactive reading strategies.

Conclusion: Parent literacy programs should supplement Mexican American mothers' communication behaviors and interactive reading strategies to improve effectiveness and participation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior*
  • Mexican Americans / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Reading*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States