Early Literacy Home Visiting Program Shows Promise

A short-term evaluation  of Book Harvest’s Book Babies program shows participants exhibited statistically significant differences in performance on key measures related to reading and kindergarten readiness skills when measured against a comparison group. The evaluation was completed by the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy (FFFP). 

Book Babies works to enable school readiness for Medicaid-eligible children in Durham with a home visiting and book provision program that begins at birth and continues until kindergarten enrollment. Participating families receive more than 100 new books, 12 literacy coaching home visits, and a variety of additional literacy resources and supports from trained professionals over the course of their child’s first five years.

The short-term evaluation provides preliminary information on the children and families participating in the program and serves as a precursor to a longitudinal randomized control trial evaluation that launched in 2017.

“The findings from this study are very encouraging and indicate that Book Babies is having positive effects on many of the early literacy skills that are critical for kindergarten readiness and later reading success,” said Co-Principal Investigators Nicole Lawrence, PhD, and Elizabeth Snyder-Fickler, PhD.

“Book Babies provides families with a unique combination of home visiting, book provision, literacy coaching, and opportunities for parent leadership and participation,” continued Young. “Taken together, the evaluations being conducted by CCFP may shine a light on ways to support parents on their children’s literacy journey starting at birth and to provide an effective, scaleable path to school readiness and long-term academic success for every child in our midst – something which has eluded our country for far too long.”

For more information about Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy’s Book Babies Short Term Evaluation, contact Sonya Ulrich at sonya.ulrich@duke.edu or visit https://childandfamilypolicy.duke.edu/.