Methods: Program implementation was evaluated using a mixed methods design that included information on program use, focus groups, and a parent survey. Constructs evaluated included frequency of literacy bag use, satisfaction with the program, and parent involvement with school. Participants were parents and teachers of preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students. In total, 22 participants joined four focus groups held in the fall and spring of the school year. Parents of 35 students completed surveys in the spring.
Results: In total, 960 literacy bags were checked out by families over the course of the school year. Synthesizing inductive and deductive themes, focus groups revealed LETS Read to be a satisfactory program with the potential to influence the home-school partnership. For example, one participant said, “[LETS Read] is great for teaching parents how to read with their kids.” Survey data revealed that 1/3 of parents identified their child as not having the necessary literacy skills to be successful in the subsequent grade. Nearly all parents (97%) reported teachers to be encouraging of literacy skills and the LETS Read program. Most parents (93%) reported their child’s teacher to be interested in knowing them and to be respectful of their parenting choices.
Conclusions: The LETS Read program was well-received by families and teachers. As a third of children were identified as potentially needing additional literacy skills to be successful in the upcoming grade, the program met an important need. The LETS Read program is one way that schools can provide caregivers with tools to pre-emptively support their children’s early literacy development, which may prevent later academic, social, and behavior difficulties.