This article describes the impact of a bilingual literacy intervention conducted with nearly 118 000 children in Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) sites in Los Angeles County, California.
All WIC participants at 6 WIC sites in Los Angeles County participated in the literacy intervention. Three cohorts of participants were selected to participate in the evaluation of the intervention. A control group of 200 families received no intervention, 103 families received 2 years of intervention, and 102 families received 4 years of intervention. Participants were predominantly Hispanic (92%), 3- to 4-year-old children and their parents. All families had low income levels, and more than one-half were Spanish-speaking. School readiness assessments were conducted with the children; parent literacy resources and activities at home were observed. Structural equation modeling was used to allow for simultaneous testing of relationships between variables.
The Spanish-speaking subset showed a strong intervention effect. Among Spanish speakers, the 4-year intervention group (P < .001) and the 2-year intervention group (P < .05) had significantly higher school readiness scores, compared with the control group. The structural equation model revealed that exposure to the intervention significantly enhanced literacy resources and activities at home, which in turn led to greater school readiness.
WIC-based literacy intervention significantly increased low-income, Spanish-speaking children's school readiness.