Teenage Mothers’ Socio-Economic Status and Involvement in Their Children’s Early Literacy Skills Acquisition in Kilifi, County Kenya

Henry Mugambi Murong’a, Ong’ang’a Hudson Ouko, Bitengo Teresa Mwoma


Early literacy competency is a key factor in a child’s reading progress, school transition and academic achievement. Children who acquire pre-literacy skills adequately and early in life have been seen to have a smooth transition, have a thorough understanding of concepts in other learning areas and become high academic achievers. Since acquisition of pre-literacy skills is a fundamental issue in the education cycle of an individual, it should not be left to teachers alone. It is of essence to establish how parents can be involved in their children’s acquisition of pre-literacy skills since they are the first teachers that a child encounters. Parents can be involved in promoting their children’s acquisition of pre-literacy skills by providing resources that promote acquisition of pre-literacy skills, assisting children to do homework, involving children in shared book reading and creating a stimulating Home Learning Environment (HLE). A family’s Socio-Economic Status has been identified as one of the major factors that influence the rate of parental involvement in education. Parents from privileged SES backgrounds are more involved in their children’s education than their counterparts from low SES backgrounds. Most teenage mothers drop out of school before completing the whole education cycle and therefore they lack marketable skills that would help them get decent jobs. This means that they end up in low paying and unsatisfying jobs. It was therefore important to find out how the SES of teenage mothers influence their involvement in children’s acquisition of pre-literacy skills. This article highlights findings from a study that sought to establish the influence of teenage mothers’ SES on their involvement in children’s acquisition of pre-literacy skills. The study was based on Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory and employed descriptive survey design. It was carried out in Kilifi County, Kenya and involved a sample of 115 teenage mothers. A questionnaire was used to collect data from respondents. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data. Findings indicated that the SES of teenage mothers influence their involvement in children’s acquisition of pre-literacy skills. The authors recommended that the back to school policy should be fully implemented, county governments increase resources allocated to pre-primary schools and donor agents should help teenage mothers acquire vocational skills.

Keywords: Demographic factors, early literacy, education level, pre-literacy skills, pre-primary children, socio-economic status, teenage mothers

DOI: 10.7176/JEP/11-18-15

Publication date:June 30th 2020

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