Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Heather C. Janisse


An important first step to children gaining early literacy skills that can shape academic achievement is a child's interest in reading. Early interest is an important predictor of long-term academic success among children and is therefore important to study. Many children are considered at risk for poorer academic outcomes, including African American children growing up in poverty and children who are overweight. Therefore, it is especially important to understand influences on early reading interest in these populations. Very little is currently known about what influences child literacy interest. Therefore, the overall goal of this study was to examine the relation between parental expectations, the home literacy environment, parental behavior and child interest in reading. Specifically, the current study focused on African American children from low socio-economic status families who were overweight because these children may be at risk for less developed literacy skills. Twenty-six mother child dyads participated in the current study and were recruited from an urban Head Start preschool program. Results revealed significant correlations between a child's home environment and child literacy interest, as well as between parental behavior and literacy interest. No relationship was found between parental expectations and child literacy interest.