Date of Award

Fall 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Jane M. Hager

Committee Member

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Robert A. Gable

Committee Member

Robert Lucking

Committee Member

Donald Myers


A surge of interest in working with parents to help their children build prerequisite language skills that would prevent reading failure has developed in recent years. The challenge of preventing reading failure in students is exacerbated when parents themselves have limited skills in reading. In recognition of this fact, schools and other institutions have begun to provide intergenerational programs to teach parents and children together. The workshop which is the subject of this study is one such program.

Thirteen parents and their pre-kindergarten children, who had been identified by the school as at-risk students, were exposed to an intergenerational reading workshop in which the parents were taught how to read aloud to their children. A control group of thirteen parents and their pre-kindergarten children, likewise identified by the school as at-risk students, did not attend the workshop but, in all other respects, had the same school program as the experimental group.

Both groups were pretested on listening comprehension skill using two tests. The first of these is the Circus, a standardized test that assesses the ability to recall the main idea of the story and specific details which support the main idea. The second test is the Early School Inventory--Preliteracy, which assesses the ability to retell a story using the conventional elements found in a simple narrative. These same tests were administered immediately following the intervention and again eight and twelve weeks after termination of the intervention. A repeated measures analysis of variance was performed on the resulting data. For each of the two measures of listening comprehension, a statistically significant difference between experimental and control groups for interaction of time and treatment was found (p