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Page, Jane; Murray, Lisa; Niklas, Frank ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3777-7388; Eadie, Patricia; Cock, Megan L.; Scull, Janet and Sparling, Joseph (January 2021): Parent Mastery of Conversational Reading at Playgroup in Two Remote Northern Territory Communities. In: Early Childhood Education Journal

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This paper explores strategies that support Aboriginal parents’ mastery of evidence-based early learning strategies, and their impact on young Aboriginal children’s learning outcomes. The three-year study followed 32 parent-child dyads attending Families as First Teachers (FaFT) playgroups in two remote Northern Territory communities in 2015–2017. Trained FaFT staff provided parents with coaching in the use of Conversational Reading—an evidence-based shared reading strategy in first language—at FaFT. The study examined patterns of parent mastery across the three-year study period, the relationship between levels of parent-child participation at FaFT (program dosage) and parent mastery, and the impact of parent mastery of Conversational Reading on young Aboriginal children’s language and learning outcomes. By including measures of parent-child participation and parent mastery of key program strategies at three time points, the study also provides a picture of the fidelity of program implementation across the study period. The findings indicate that parents’ mastery of strategies (and thus the fidelity of program implementation) increased over time in line with the program dosage parents received. Higher levels of parent-child participation at FaFT and parent mastery of strategies at the end of the program were positively associated with children’s language and learning outcomes. This study demonstrates that the provision of coaching at playgroup is an effective way to build parent capacity in the implementation of evidence-based early learning strategies, and that supporting parent mastery of teaching strategies has the potential to improve the learning outcomes of young children in remote Aboriginal communities.

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