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Cognitive Mediation and Emotional Support of Fathers and Mothers to Their Children During Shared Book-Reading in Two Different SES Groups

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This study was designed to investigate the cognitive and emotional nature of the book-reading mediation of fathers and mothers to their preschool children. Thirty-nine families (each including a mother, a father, and their kindergarten child) participated in this study: 19 of low SES (LSES) and 20 of middle SES (MSES). The mothers' and fathers' interactions while reading an unfamiliar book were videotaped and their verbal expressions were coded for extracting the parental mediation level. The results demonstrated that mothers encouraged their children and discussed topics not related to the story more than fathers. Fathers used higher cognitive levels of mediation than mothers mainly by discussing issues that are beyond the text, whereas mothers also used paraphrasing mediation. Similarly, MSES parents presented a higher level of cognitive mediation than LSES parents, mediating issues beyond the text, whereas LSES parents also used paraphrasing. The mothers and fathers presented different emotional support to their children. A significant correlation was found between cognitive and emotional support (r = .41) among fathers across SES groups. The results are discussed in terms of the families' SES background and parental gender. Implications for researchers and educational practices are discussed.
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Keywords: SES; cognitive mediation; emotional support; shared book-reading

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Bar-Ilan University

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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