NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. — Parents often have tremendous demands on their time and their attention. What if they could find a quick, effective way to ensure they had information they needed to support their young child’s language, math, and science skills?
A sudden chime or beep from your phone. It’s an interruption that can actually keep your day on track. Now, new research shows certain text messages are helpful for families. Noah Goodman is an educational researcher studying the bilingual family program Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM based on the animated PBS kids’ series.
“Each week they get a text message on their phone and that message has links to videos and activities,” described Goodman.
For six weeks, 95 families got the instructions for environmental and science projects, everything from monitoring home water usage to making crafts from recycled materials. Parents told researchers that getting videos and activities through text messages made it easy to engage in fun projects with their kids.
Goodman detailed, “They always had the phones attached to their hips, so they always knew where to find the activities. They didn’t have to keep track of any paper or anything like that.”
In another study, researchers evaluated Ready4K, an eight-month long text messaging program for parents of preschoolers. Parents received specific activities that could improve skills and be part of the daily routine, like pointing out the first letter of a child’s name on signs and in magazines.
These are activities that can give parents tools to teach language or learn about saving the environment with the touch of a button.
In the Ready4K study, researchers found that children whose parents received the texts with specific tips were more motivated to complete the tasks and their children scored higher on an early literacy assessment.