, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 1265-1287

Parents’ goals for and perceptions of alphabet books

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Abstract

This study examined parents’ goals for reading ABC books with their children and their perceptions of page features. Factor analysis of a questionnaire answered by 225 parents of junior and senior kindergarten students revealed four goals for reading alphabet books. In order of importance as rated by parents the goals were: Learning to Read, Enjoyment and Bonding, Learning from Books, and Soothing the Child. Maternal education, number of ABC books owned, and ABC book reading frequency were related to parents’ goals. When viewing ABC pages, parents rated pages with little text, simple illustrations, and letter sound-word consistency as more appropriate for fulfilling purposes related to learning to decode than pages with a lot of text, complex illustrations, and letter sound-word violations. These perceptions are congruent with previous research and experts’ advice. However, parents rated pages with more complex illustrations as more appropriate for enjoyment, potentially putting books with complex illustrations at cross purposes with the previous goals.