Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Yaoying Xu

Second Advisor

Evelyn Reed

Third Advisor

Sarah Price

Fourth Advisor

Chin-Chih Chen


This study aimed to investigate parent-child verbal interactions in Spanish in a group of Latino preschoolers growing up in the United States through a parent-mediated program at home, and the effects of the program on their receptive vocabulary in Spanish. A single subject multiple baseline across participants design was used in the study. The participants were 3 Latino mothers and their sons, with low family income, living in the United States. The intervention taught the mothers strategies to enhance their children’s language through a sharing-book activity. The study lasted for 6 weeks during which baseline and intervention conditions data were collected through videotapes of the Dyads’ mealtimes. The results of the study showed that their verbal interactions were functional, brief, and typically not extended to children’s activities. The number of verbal interactions increased for 2 of the 3 Dyads from baseline to intervention condition and decreased for 1 of them. The children’s receptive vocabulary and school readiness skills increased after the intervention as showed by pre and post intervention assessments. The social validity survey suggested that Latina mothers found the project beneficial since, it not only increased their children’s interest in books, but also their own motivation to share books with them. Research and practical implications were discussed.


© Patrica G. Onorato 2016 All Rights Reserved

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