Reading to children below five is at 49% in Georgia, and many kids need to catch up in literacy skills. Two main goals were set, and three objectives were under the first goal and two on the second goal. Goals 1) To improve the percentage of parents reading to their children at least four times weekly in Georgia. 2) To improve the language skills of children under five in Georgia. The Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, and Track program (MAP-IT) was used as a program planning model to increase the percentage of parents who read to their children at least four times a week and improve their literacy skills.
Various interventions were implemented toward achieving the set objectives. They included; education of parents and the community on the relevance of reading to children, supply of books to disadvantaged groups, and inclusion of reading to children in parents’ daily to-do lists. On the other hand, the Health Belief Model was used to guide the behavior framework and implementation of activities related to objectives 1 and 3 in the first goal. The expected behavior changes were for families with children below five years to own a book and cultivate a habit of reading to their children each day or at least four times a week. The consequences of parents not reading to their children include; poor literacy skills children, closed-mindedness, and poor to no parents-children bond time.
Collaboration of nurses with existing community services like schools within the community, educational organizations, the health sector, library management, teachers, parents, day-care organizations, and social workers will form a multidisciplinary workforce that covers the whole community in promoting the culture of parents reading to their children. Lastly, the progress of each objective in Georgia will be evaluated by physically tracking parents and their children. They will report their progress in a questionnaire and then analysis of the responses. Therefore, each objective will be evaluated separately with its set measures.
Goals and Objectives
Reading to children below five is at 49% in Georgia despite the various research and education on the necessity and importance of this simple act. Many children need to catch up in literacy skills development as they rely solely on teacher training. The goals set ss are:1) To improve the percentage of parents reading to their children at least four times a week in Georgia. 2) To improve the language skills of children under five in Georgia. Habitual reading to children by parents significantly impacts their verbal, mental, and literacy skills (Aram et al., 2018). Moreover, parents get to guide their kids, know them better, and bond as a family during this time. In the first goal, the following objectives need to be achieved: 1) By May 2023, 88% of all homes with children below the age of five years in Georgia will report owning at least three storybooks, novels, picture books, or poetry books for reading to their kids. 2) By July 2023, seven in ten kids below the age of five years will report being read their favorite books by their parents at least four times a week. 3) By June 2023, 80% of the parents will report having routine daily time for reading stories to their kids.
The objectives for goal two include: 1) By June 2023, 89% of children whose parents read to them at least four times a week will demonstrate excellent and improved literacy skills by reading and speaking fluent English. 2) By July 2023, six in ten parents and the kids will report knowledge and understanding of at least three new vocabularies weekly. Good literacy skills ensure effective communication with other children and interactions with peers and seniors. In addition, good literacy skills boost confidence and self-esteem (Michalak et al., 2017). Therefore, children who read stories by their parents daily have an added advantage in their language.
Program Planning Model
The Mobilize, Assess, Plan, Implement, and Track program (MAP-IT) will increase the percentage of parents who read to their children at least four times a week and improve their literacy skills. MAP-IT is the best program, including all the stakeholders and the community (McKenzie et al., 2022). The Georgia education administration, health workers, and parents will be mobilized to work towards improving the literacy levels of their children by reading to them. Teachers should educate parents on the critical role of reading stories to their children. The schools or education sector will contribute by providing books for reading to children to ensure an equal chance for both low-income and high-income families. After mobilizing, I assessed the families in Georgia that need book resources or illiterate parents and also identified the strengths of particular families. I will plan the vision, strategies, or activities to be carried out by the parents, children, and schools and the steps to be followed to achieve the goals. Next, I will implement the strategies and activities and plan and track the percentage of parents who read to their children. Therefore, the MAP-IT program will work towards increasing the number of parents who read to their kids about four times a week or more.
Various activities were carried out toward achieving the set objectives. The parents, schools, and children were involved in the activities to ensure collaboration and support. Parents, teachers, children, and the community were educated about bonding parents with their children when reading and the mental and cognitive development that reading impacts on children. Furthermore, reading children’s diverse world topics gives them a comprehensive view (Nichols, 2020). About 8,000 children’s books of different genres were distributed in low-income and middle-income homes to ensure equal chances for both children. Busy and working parents were encouraged to develop a plan and read to their children at a specific time each day. Children were allowed to note the book their parents were reading and the vocabulary learned from each book. In addition, parents were encouraged to include reading to their children in their ‘Daily To-Do Lists. Thus, parents’ education on the importance of reading to their children increased the number of parents who read.
Implementation Strategies/Behavior Framework
The Health Belief Model guided the activities and implementation of objectives 1 and 3 in the first goal. The model says that people change their behavior if they are susceptible to a consequence or the perceived consequence is severe. It also says that promoting positive behavior will be adopted if the perceived barriers are removed, and the risks of the change reduce the consequences (Rosenstock et al., 2019). The expected behavior changes were for families with children below five years to own a book and cultivate a habit of reading to their children each day or at least four times a week. The consequences of parents not reading to their children include; poor literacy skills children, closed-mindedness, and poor to no parents-children bond time.
Moreover, the kids develop unruly behavior due to passive parenting. The barriers to parents reading to their children are; financial constraints in buying a book, illiteracy of parents, and busy work schedule. These barriers were removed by borrowing books to read from libraries, asking a literate family member or relative to read to the children while together, and parents adding reading to their children to their daily To-Do List, respectively.
Furthermore, computer games and other internet-related activities like music entertainment proved to be a barrier between the parents and the children. Parents interact more with the TV and their phones than with their children. Therefore, YouTube and other educational websites read to the kids but with a different authenticity, expression, closeness, and understanding. From this, the internet barrier must be removed by keeping phones and electronic devices away or off when parents read to their kids to ensure quality time and deeper concentration. Hence, implementing the behavior of parents reading to their children will be enhanced.
Collaboration with Existing Services
Collaboration with the Georgia schools with children less than five years, Georgia education organizations, parents, and the community will hasten the implementation and change of behavior and result in reaching out to many parents, organizations, and children. We will also partner with community libraries to lend reading materials to parents who need help buying reading materials regularly. Nonetheless, the health sector will educate the parents and the community on the cognitive, mental, social, and psychological relevance of parents reading to their children. Social workers will also be incorporated into helping disadvantaged families and children. Therefore, multidisciplinary collaboration is necessary to ensure diverse coverage of all children, parents, and the community.
The progress of each objective in Georgia will be evaluated by physically tracking parents and their children. They will report their progress in a questionnaire and then analysis of the responses. Objective 1 in goal one will be met if the percentage of homes with children under five years owning at least three children reading books is 88% or more. Objective two will be met after analysis show that seven (or more) out of ten kids in Georgia are read stories by parents at least four times a week. On the other hand, objective three will be achieved if the survey shows that 80% (or more) of the parents report a habit of reading to their kids simultaneously each day. Objective one will be met if 89% (or more) of children whose parents read demonstrate fluency in reading and speaking English. At the same time, objective two will be achieved when six (or more) in ten parents and children will understand at least three new vocabularies each week. Therefore, each objective will be evaluated separately with its set measures.
Aram, D., Fine, Y., & Ziv, M. (2018). Enhancing parent–child shared book reading interactions: Promoting references to the book’s plot and socio-cognitive themes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(1), 111–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2012.03.005
McKenzie, J. F., Neiger, B. L., & Thackeray, R. (2022). Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Michalak, R., Rysavy, M. D. T., & Wessel, A. (2017). Students’ perceptions of their information literacy skills: the confidence gap between male and female international graduate students. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 43(2), 100–104. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2017.02.003
Nichols, S. J. (2020). Unsettling the Bedtime Story: Parents’ Reports of Home Literacy Practices. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 1(3), 315–328. https://doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2000.1.3.7
Rosenstock, I. M., Strecher, V. J., & Becker, M. J. (2019). Social Learning Theory and the Health Belief Model. Health Education Quarterly, 15(2), 175–183. https://doi.org/10.1177/109019818801500203