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We study these two interrelated questions in a randomized experiment comparing two new variations of the program to the FTG program. We assign parents of prekindergarten children into three experimental groups. We use a blocked randomization design and assign a third of parents within each preschool into each treatment group. The first group of parents only receives one TIP message on Wednesdays, henceforth the Tip program. The second group receives the FTG program (i.e., the original program). The third group receives the FACT message on Mondays, TIP messages on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, and the GROWTH message on Fridays (i.e., the original program and two additional TIP messages), henceforth the FACT-TIP-TIP-TIP-GROWTH (FTTTG) program. Table 1 provides examples of text messages for each treatment group that focuses on letter recognition.

Table 1.

Examples of Text Messages for Each Treatment Group

Text Messages by Treatment Program:
Week DayTip ProgramFTG Program (original program)FTTTG Program
Monday  FACT: Children need to know letters to learn how to read & write. Research shows kids with good letter knowledge become good readers. FACT: Children need to know letters to learn how to read & write. Research shows kids with good letter knowledge become good readers. 
Tuesday   TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? 
Wednesday TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? TIP: Now point out each of the letters in your child's name. After you point to a letter ask: What sound does it make? 
Thursday   TIP: See if your child can name the letters on common objects like a stop sign. Can s/he name all of the letters on the sign with your street's name? 
Friday  GROWTH: Keep pointing out letters. You're preparing your child 4K! Point out each of the letters in your child's name. Ask: What sound does it make? GROWTH: Keep pointing out letters to prepare your child 4K! Now have him/her make the letter sounds (ss, tt, oo & pp). What other words have those sounds? 
Text Messages by Treatment Program:
Week DayTip ProgramFTG Program (original program)FTTTG Program
Monday  FACT: Children need to know letters to learn how to read & write. Research shows kids with good letter knowledge become good readers. FACT: Children need to know letters to learn how to read & write. Research shows kids with good letter knowledge become good readers. 
Tuesday   TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? 
Wednesday TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? TIP: Point out the first letter in your child's name in magazines, on signs & at the store. Have your child try. Make it a game. Who can find the most? TIP: Now point out each of the letters in your child's name. After you point to a letter ask: What sound does it make? 
Thursday   TIP: See if your child can name the letters on common objects like a stop sign. Can s/he name all of the letters on the sign with your street's name? 
Friday  GROWTH: Keep pointing out letters. You're preparing your child 4K! Point out each of the letters in your child's name. Ask: What sound does it make? GROWTH: Keep pointing out letters to prepare your child 4K! Now have him/her make the letter sounds (ss, tt, oo & pp). What other words have those sounds? 

Notes: To ensure comparability of treatments, the text message content is similar across treatment groups. The Monday FACT texts are the same in both the original and the FACT-TIP-TIP-TIP-GROWTH (FTTTG) programs. The Tip program and the original program send the same TIP messages on Wednesdays. However, rearrangement and adaptation of a few texts are necessary in the FTTTG program in order to achieve a sensible progression of activities. Specifically, the FTTTG program sends Wednesday's TIP messages on Tuesdays, and the example in the GROWTH message is used as Wednesday's TIP message. More text examples can be found in York, Loeb, and Doss (2019) and in Doss et al. (2019). FTG = FACT-TIP-GROWTH.

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