Enhancing Reach Out and Read With a Video and Text Messages: A Randomized Trial in a Low-Income Predominantly Latino Sample

Acad Pediatr. 2021 Aug;21(6):968-976. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.02.011. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


Objective: To determine the effect of adding a video and text messages to Reach Out and Read (ROR) on parent-reported literacy activities compared to the standard version.

Study design: We conducted a mixed methods hybrid type I effectiveness-implementation randomized trial in a community health center that serves low-income Latino families. We assessed shared reading frequency and the StimQ Reading subscale, at enrollment and 6-month follow-up and the StimQ Parent Verbal Responsivity subscale, Parent Reading Belief Inventory, and Survey of Wellbeing of Young Children-Milestones at follow-up. We randomized 160 parent-child dyads to ROR or ROR plus video and text messages (enhanced ROR). We collected process data on ROR and engagement with texts. We interviewed 15 enhanced ROR participants. We analyzed quantitative data using regression and qualitative data using immersion/crystallization.

Results: One hundred thirty-seven parent-child dyads completed the study (87% Latino, mean child age 9 months). We found differences in the StimQ Reading subscale (B = 0.32; P = .034) and marginal differences in attitudes about reading favoring enhanced ROR. Between-group differences for shared reading frequency, verbal responsivity, and developmental delay were not significant. Qualitative themes provided insight into the enhanced ROR including how it encouraged parents, remaining barriers like competing priorities and lack of social support, and unanticipated benefits (ie, parent appreciation for attention on their families' wellbeing).

Conclusions: A video and text message enhancement to ROR resulted in modest improvements in the home literacy environment over ROR alone. Additional strategies are needed to overcome potent barriers faced by low-income families.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03242850.

Keywords: Latino; early childhood; literacy promotion; primary care; text messages.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Literacy
  • Poverty
  • Reading
  • Text Messaging*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03242850