CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Computer Use by Latino Migrant Families: Increasing K-2 Children's Reading Skills Through Parent Training

Date of Award

2006

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Getrude W. Abramson

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

As more Latino migrant families decide to settle in non-traditional, rural areas, school districts are showing a tremendous increase in the number of students whose parents lack tools to help their children succeed in school. One such tool is the use of computers. The goal of this study was to implement a computer training program for Latino migrant families to improve the reading literacy skills of their K-2 children in spite of being limited English speakers and having low levels of schooling.

In this investigation, a descriptive, interpretative and theoretical case study was used as a research method. The researcher implemented the Integrated Migrant Parent and Child Computer Training (IMP ACCT), a weekly computer training program for Latino migrant families. Gettysburg College students acted as tutors and visited Latino migrant homes to deliver IMP ACCT to eight limited English proficient Latino migrant families from the Gettysburg Area School District. All Latino migrant parents reported progress in their computer skills that allowed them to help their children improve their reading skills. At the beginning of the study, two of the ten children read at grade level. At the end of the study, eight of the ten participating Latino migrant children read at grade level. Children were also pre- and post-tested with the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Test; as a group, children's scores demonstrated significant statistical gains (p= .000) in reading. Moreover, parents were pre- and post-tested on their English as second language (ESL) skills with the Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) test. All parents improved their English skills and moved to a higher CASAS level. In addition, parents' participation in school activities increased. The case study provided serendipitous values to the tutors who indicated that this program brought them many social, personal and academic benefits as well. They developed strong relationships with families and improved their Spanish skills and cultural awareness.

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