Family Engagement and Latine Children’s Early Narrative Skills

Gigliana Melzi, Christine McWayne, Wendy Ochoa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study examined the concurrent relations between culture-specific dimensions of family engagement for low-income, Pan-Latine families and children’s narrative ability, a critical predictor of reading success. One hundred seventy-five children and their caregivers were recruited from seven Head Start centers in a large city in the northeastern region of the US. Family engagement was assessed through a culturally grounded instrument (McWayne et al. 2013; McWayne and Melzi 2014) that measures parental behavior along one school-based and three home-based engagement dimensions. Children’s spontaneous narrative productions were elicited through two tasks: a picture-elicited and a conversational narrative task. Findings showed that family engagement dimensions were differentially related to important aspects of children’s narrative production, even after accounting for child and parent demographic characteristics. Specifically, families’ efforts to provide stimulating experiences for their children beyond “the basics” (i.e., Supplemental Education) were significantly related to children’s ability to tell longer narratives during the picture-elicited narrative task. In addition, parents’ active school-based engagement (i.e., School Participation) was significantly associated with children’s ability to narrate independently in the conversational narrative task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalEarly Childhood Education Journal
Issue number1
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Dual-language
  • Early literacy
  • Family engagement
  • Immigrant
  • Narratives
  • Preschool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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