Fathers’, Mothers’, and Other Household Members’ Involvement in Reading, Storytelling, and Play and Preschoolers’ Literacy Skills in Kenya

Dickson Mukara Matsantsa Ong’ayi, Elif Dede Yildirim, Jaipaul L. Roopnarine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Research Findings: Positive parenting is widely recommended as a viable mechanism for boosting children’s early cognitive skills across the world. Drawing on data from the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Surveys, associations were determined between maternal, paternal, and other household members’ engagement in play, book reading, and storytelling and children’s early literacy skills in Kenya. The sample consisted of 990 mother-father pairs, household members, and preschool-aged children from three rural counties in Kenya. Maternal book reading was associated with children’s ability to read words. Paternal book reading was associated with children’s ability to identify letters and read words and paternal engagement in play was associated with children’s ability to identify letters. Other household members’ engagement in book reading was associated with children’s ability to read words and recognize symbols. Number of books in the home, enrollment in preschool education, household wealth, maternal education, and fathers’ residential status were variously associated with children’s literacy skills. Practice or Policy: These findings suggest the relative contribution of book reading versus play and storytelling by mothers, fathers and allocaregivers in advancing children’s early literacy skills development in the Kenyan cultural context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-454
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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