Parental text messaging

Parental text messaging

By Ruoyu Lian, Johns Hopkins University

The use of parental text messaging to positively influence children’s educational behaviors has gained popularity. A recent study conducted by Catherine and colleagues hypothesized that a text message intervention using the MORE@Home app would be beneficial to enhancing parents’ engagement, and the specific content of text messages could affect students’ academic behaviors. Three components were examined: personalization of messages; reading view differences; and the use of goal setting.

The research design tested each possible combination of the intervention components by involving 5172 second and third-grade students (4993 families) and their parents from thirty elementary schools in the research study. The results from the study showed that personalized messages were more effective than non-personalized messages (ES = +0.08, p < 0.05), spending an extra 1.6 minutes using the app (ES = +0.11, p < 0.01), and completing 0.7 books (ES = +0.12, p < 0.01). It also showed that the combination of goal-setting with differential views-of-reading experienced a four-percentage-points higher login rate, 1.8 additional minutes on the app, and an additional 0.7 books completed comparing individual factors.

The findings from this study demonstrated that text messaging may be an effective tool to improve students’ outcomes with a variation of component effects.

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