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Areas of Research:

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Family Food Routines as a Context for Child Development

Area Summary:

We have conducted several studies examining the conversations between parents and children that promote children's learning within family routines. Through a series of observational studies, we examined parent-child interaction in a pretend grocery game setting. These studies involved diverse age ranges (preschool, kindergarten and first grade) and socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds (low-income African American, Chinese, Mexican and Dominican families living in NYC, low-income Chilean families living in their home country, middle-income European American families living in the U.S.). From these observational studies, patterns of parental behaviors linked to the development of children's literacy and math skills have been identified. Based on the evidence obtained by observational studies, the Food For Thought family intervention program was designed by Dr. Leyva and a feasibility study was conducted with over 60 families in 2015. We then conducted a 2-year evaluation of the effectiveness of the Food For Thought program in over 10 elementary schools in a southeast school district, one of the largest districts in the U.S., with over 260 families. The results of this study are now available; see “Related Publications” below. We have also begun a new study of parent-child interaction around math skills within family routines. Based on previous literature about barriers to integrating math conversations into family routines, the Math Made 4 Me (MM4M) family intervention program was designed by Dr. Leyva and Dr. Libertus and the lab is currently undergoing a feasibility study of the program.

Food Routines Interventions:

Collaborators:

Funded by:

Related Publications:

  1. Leyva, D., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., Weiland, C., & Leech, K. (2022). Positive impacts of a strengths-based family program on Latino kindergarteners' narrative language abilities. Developmental Psychology, 58(5), 835-847. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0001332
  2. Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., & Febles, A. (2022). A Strengths-Based, Culturally Responsive Family Intervention Improves Latino Kindergarteners' Vocabulary and Approaches to Learning. Child Development. Online First. doi: 101111/cdev.13698.
  3. Leyva, D., Libertus, M., & McGregor, R. (2021). Relations between subdomains of home math activities and corresponding math skills in 4-year-old children. Education Sciences, 11, 594-609. doi: 10.3390/edusci11100594
  4. Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Shapiro, A., Yeomans-Maldonado, G., & Febles, A. (2021). A Strengths-Based, Culturally Responsive Family Intervention Improves Latino Kindergarteners' Vocabulary and Approaches to Learning. Annenberg Institute at Brown University. EdWorkingPaper: 21-349. https://doi.org/10.26300/akf9-xc34
  5. Leyva, D. (2019). How do low-income Chilean parents support their preschoolers’ writing and math skills in a grocery game? Early Education and Development, 30, 114-130. doi: 10.1080/10409289.2018.1540250.
  6. Leyva, D., & Skorb, L. (2019). Food For Thought: Turning everyday family practices into opportunities to develop rich language and literacy abilities in Latino children. In Grover, V., Uccelli, P., Rowe, M., & Lieven, E. (Eds.), Learning through language: Towards an educationally informed theory of language learning. Cambridge University Press.
  7. Leyva, D., Davis, A., & Skorb, L. (2018). Math intervention for Latino parents and kindergarteners based on food routines. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27, 2541-2551. doi: 10.1007/210826-018-1085-5.
  8. Leyva, D., & Skorb, L. (2017). Food For Thought: Family food routines and literacy in Latino kindergarteners. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 52, 80-90. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2017.07.001.
  9. Leyva, D., Tamis-LeMonda, C., Yoshikawa, H., Jimenez-Robbins, C., & Malachowski, L. (2017). Grocery games: How ethnically diverse low-income mothers support children’s mathematics and literacy. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 40, 63-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2017.01.001.
  10. Leyva, D., Hopson, S., & Nichols, A. (2012). Reading a note, reading a mind: Early understanding of print and theory-of-mind. Reading and Writing, 25, 701-716. doi: 10.1007/s11145-011-9296-9.
  11. Leyva, D., Reese, E., & Wiser, M. (2012). Early understanding of the functions of print: Parent-child interaction and preschoolers’ notating skills. First Language, 32, 301-321. doi: 10.1177/0142723711410793.

In the news

January 7, 2022

Dr. Leyva was interviewed by News4 Nashville about her research on household chores and school grades. Source

November 16, 2021

Dr. Leyva wrote an article for The Conversation based on the FFT intervention program: "How getting kids to make grocery lists and set the table can improve their vocabulary and willingness to learn." Source

May 17, 2020

Diana Leyva is featured in Child Trend News. here is a Spanish and an English version of the news and a link to a 10-min interview about her research "Keep Kids Learning at Home During COVID-19!" Full interview with Dr. Leyva Source

July 25, 2019

Diana Leyva is featured in Fox43 for her research on "Learning math and reading at the store!"

July, 2019

Diana Leyva is featured in Child Trend News. There is a Spanish and an English version of the news and a link to a 10-min interview about her research "Grocery store math and reading add up!" Full interview with Dr. Leyva Source

October 4, 2018

Diana Leyva blogs for the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) on "ECD implementation insights: Will this program work here? Assessing Feasibility" Source

March 7, 2018

Diana Leyva is featured in a local newspaper in Dunedin, New Zealand about her research "Grocery games" Source