Maternal and Paternal Cognitive Engagement and Children’s Literacy Skills in 25 African Countries

Elif Dede Yildirim, Jaipaul L. Roopnarine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is increasing interest in promoting positive parenting to improve childhood development in low- and middle-income countries. Following propositions in parenting and cultural-ecological frameworks about the importance of early parent-child engagement in fostering children’s literacy skills, we used the UNICEF Multiple Indicator Surveys to assess the associations between maternal and paternal book reading, storytelling, and naming/counting and early literacy skills in 90,397 families and their preschool-aged children in 25 low- and middle-income African countries. Individual participant data meta-analysis indicated strong associations between maternal and paternal engagement in reading, storytelling, and naming/counting and children’s letter recognition, reading simple words, and recognizing symbols. Preschool enrollment and maternal education consistently moderated the associations between maternal and paternal engagement activities and children’s literacy skills. These findings are in agreement with those found in the high-income countries and have implications for the transferability of parenting practices from high-income to low- and middle-income countries in efforts to improve the early academic skills of young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-638
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Black Psychology
Volume45
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Keywords

  • African countries
  • children’s literacy
  • individual participant data
  • meta-analysis
  • paternal cognitive engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Applied Psychology

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