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Paying Parents to Read to Their Children Boosts Literacy Skills

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers have found a surprising way to help boost the skills of children with language impairment: Pay their parents to read to them.  A new study tested four techniques to get parents or other caregivers to complete a 15-week literacy intervention for their children with language impairment.  Only one of those techniques – paying parents 50 cents for each reading session – led to children showing significant gains in reading test scores, findings showed.  “We were somewhat stunned to find that paying parents had this strong effect. We didn’t anticipate this,” said Laura Justice, lead author of the study and professor of educational psychology at The Ohio State University.  The other three techniques tried in the study were offering positive feedback to the parents, offering encouragement, and modeling to parents how to read in a way that improved children’s literacy skills.  None of these three was helpful, and offering feedback actually had a slight…

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