2011 Program Evaluation Summary

The Colorado Bright Beginnings programs provide critical, research-based information and games that parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers can use every day to have a positive impact on their child’s healthy development and readiness for school.  Our logic model is based on the following premise:

  • Long-Term Outcomes – Increased knowledge and positive parenting behavior change result in positive outcomes for children based on the research on which the program content is designed
  • Medium-Term Outcomes – Parents change their behavior based on new information and tools provided through Bright Beginnings visit.
  • Short Term Outcomes – Parents use the Bright Beginnings materials multiple times to increase their knowledge about their child’s healthy development.

Program impact evaluation conducted by outside evaluation experts has shown the following:

2002-2003: The Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Children’s Hospital conducted a randomized control trial on “Promoting Language Development During Well Child Care Visits” in which the experimental group (Language Power group) was provided the Colorado Bright Beginnings Language Power and My First Picture Book language development program for parents of children between the ages of 12 – 24 months.

Language Power (LP) had a positive impact on the frequency of daily bedtime reading, on both mothers’ and children’s behavior during shared reading, and indirectly, on the children’s vocabulary mediated through the effect on daily bedtime reading.  This included the finding that more Language Power mothers adopted the conversational style of interaction promoted by the Language Power program.   In turn, the children’s behavior indicated that they were familiar with and able to engage in a conversational interaction around the picture book.

  • Language Power mothers were more likely than control group mothers to report daily bedtime reading (30% vs. 18%; p=<.06).
  • Child vocabulary percentile at follow-up was significantly higher in those whose parents reported reading 6-7 nights a week (Mean 52.0, SD 31.7) than in those reporting less frequent reading (Mean 35.8, SD 30.8) (p<.005). This indicated an indirect effect of LP on vocabulary mediated through effect on high frequency of reading at night
  • The pattern, promoted by the LP program, of using praise, asking questions and talking more was significantly more likely in the LP than Control mothers (p<.02)   LP children spoke more words per turn than Control children (p<.05) and talked more when given the familiar LP picture book
  • 50%  of Language Power  mothers met three criteria (using praise, asking at least 22 questions and averaging more than 8 words per turn) vs. only 7.1%  of the Control mothers did (p<0.02).  The Odds ratio is 13 (95% c.i. 1.39-121.38), indicating that the odds a Language Power mother was demonstrating the pattern was 13 times the odds that a control mother was demonstrating the pattern.  These estimates are not very precise but do support the interpretation that the Language Power program had a significant impact on the mothers’ behavior during picture book reading.

Berman S, Camp BW. Tools to promote language development from 12-24 months of age: assessment of the Bright Beginnings Moving On Program materials [abstract]. Pediatr Res. 2002;51:18A.

Berman S, Cunningham M, Pratte K, Camp B. Promoting language development during well-child visits. Paper presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting; May 5, 2005; Washington, DC.

2005-2006: Statewide Program Evaluation conducted by OMNI Research Institute

The following summary highlights some of the key results of Colorado Bright Beginnings’ statewide program follow-up evaluation completed by 838 families who had received a Bright Beginnings infant or one-year-old program at least 6 month prior to follow-up (note: the two-year-old program had not been launched at this time and was therefore not measured as part of this evaluation.)

Parents Report Using the Bright Beginnings Materials

  • 76% used My First Picture Book with their child; of these, 71% use it at least once per week with their child
  • 74% used the core parenting handbook Giving Your Child a Bright Beginning; of these, 59% referred to this book on at least three or more occasions
  • 70% of  parents used the LearningGames© child development book; of these, 72% of parents reported using it at least once per week, and 36% of parents report using it daily!
  • Families typically considered more “at risk” due to factors such as low education, non-English speaking, or minority status, report using the LearningGames materials more frequently (either daily or at least 2-3 days per week) than other groups if they report using them at all (ranges from 7 – 24% higher usage depending on risk factor).

Parents are learning from these resources:

  • 97% of parents who used Language Power report it helped them understand why talking to their child is critical for their development
  • 96% reported that the Giving Your Child a Bright Beginning handbook taught them helpful information about their child’s development
  • 93% of parents felt the LearningGames book helped them better understand how their child learns
  • 80% said the Bright Beginnings visit made them feel more knowledgeable about the resources in their local community
  • 75% said the Bright Beginnings visit increased their confidence in parenting

Parents change their behavior to support their child’s development based on what they learned:

  • 97% of families who used Language Power report it gave them useful tools to help support healthy interaction with their child
  • 97% felt an increased parental bond with their child after using the Picture Book
  • Two-thirds of respondents reported they changed their parenting as a result of things they learned from the Giving Your Child a Bright Beginning handbook
  • More than half of the parents reported they either contacted or plan to contact new community resources such as support groups, medical clinics, or child care resources as a result of the Bright Beginnings visit
  • The “Child-Centered Literacy Orientation (CCLO)” was used to assess the preference for and prevalence of reading between Bright Beginnings parents and their children.
  • 47.8% of families in the nation and 56.2% of families in Colorado report reading to their child every day (National Survey of Children’s Health).  This is one of the components that serves as an indicator for whether CCLO is present in a family.
  • 88% of the families who participated in Bright Beginnings had CCLO present at the time of this evaluation
  • 33 – 39% of families characterized as “at risk” typically report having CCLO present based on past studies conducted across the nation
  • When analyzed specific to each “at risk” factor, CCLO was also much higher for “at-risk” Bright Beginnings families, ranging between 49% -76% depending on the risk factor
  • 94% of families receiving a Bright Beginnings visit reported that their child was up to date with immunizations compared to the 83.4% of Colorado families who are up to date on their immunizations according to the 2005 Colorado National Immunization Survey

2008-2009: The Statewide Program Impact Evaluation conducted by OMNI Research Institute as part of the Second Hand Smoke Prevention (TGYS-TTI) Evaluation confirmed similar follow-up data:

  • 95% of respondents reported that the Bright Beginnings books and materials increased their confidence as a parent.
  • 95% reported that the Bright Beginnings visit made them more knowledgeable about the resource available to them in their community
  • 95% of parents said that they learned useful information about their child’s development from their visit
  • 2/3 of parents reported that they have changed their parenting as a result for the things they learned from their Bright Beginnings program.

Research-based foundation for Bright Beginnings Content:

The LearningGames© Curriculum: The LearningGames curriculum is a series of research-validated early learning activities developed for the Abecedarian Project. This renowned project provided center-based intervention for children, from birth to 60 months of age, who were at risk of developmental delays. It is one of the most studied early intervention projects in the world, with the children and families tracked and evaluated until the children were 21 years old; age 30 data currently is being gathered and analyzed. Research results from the Abecedarian Project have been published in hundreds of academic articles in peer-reviewed journals, have been reported on all major network news programs, and have been described in national magazines including Newsweek and Time.

Language Power and My First Picture Book:

Hart, B and Risley, T.R. “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3”, American Educator, 27(1), 2003

Hart B, and Risley, T.R. Meaningful Differences. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes; 1995.

My Second Picture Book: Dialogic Reading is an interactive shared picture book reading practice designed to enhance young children’s language and literacy skills. During the shared reading practice, the adult and the child switch roles so that the child learns to become the storyteller with the assistance of the adult who functions as an active listener and questioner.

Whitehurst, G. J., Arnold, D. S., Epstein, J. N., Angell, A. L., Smith, M., & Fischel, J. E. (1994). A picture book reading intervention in day care and home for children from low-income families. Developmental Psychology, 30 (5), 679–689.

Whitehurst, G. J., Epstein, J. N., Angell, A. L., Payne, A. C., Crone, D. A., & Fischel, J. E. (1994). Outcomes of an emergent literacy intervention in Head Start. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86 (4), 542–555.