Designing and Implementing a Bilingual Early-Literacy Program in Indigenous Mexico Villages: Family, Child, and Classroom Outcomes

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Laura M. Justice
Jaclyn M. Dynia
Maria J. Hijlkema
Alejandra Sánchez Chan


Bilingual education • reading programs • indigenous • home literacy environment • shared reading


Globally, there is great interest in enhancing young children’s literacy development as a route to improving worldwide literacy. To contribute to this area of interest, this paper reports findings from a multi-pronged early-literacy program designed to improve the print-knowledge of young children in Yucatec Mayan villages. The school-based Club de Lectura Solyluna provided 16 culturally relevant bilingual (Spanish/Maya) children’s books to caregivers during four workshops. The sample of 567 mothers and their preschool-aged children (n = 567) were enrolled in 28 preschool classrooms, which also received teacher trainings, children’s books, and establishment of a school-based library. Outcomes were examined with respect to overall parent participation and uptake of workshop materials, features of the home-literacy environment, and children’s gains in print knowledge in both Mayan and Spanish. The study findings show positive outcomes across all outcomes evaluated with the exception of growth in children’s Mayan print-concepts skills. The program description and findings should be of relevance to efforts to implement early-literacy programming with indigenous villages in lower- and middle-income countries.


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Abstract 392