The Relationships Between Home Support For Language And Emergent Literacy In Low-Income Families, Mother's Education And Immigrant Status, And Children's Language And Emergent Literacy Development At Kindergarten Entry
Language and emergent literacy skills are important to children's development of school readiness skills (Tabors, Roach, and Snow, 2001), and influence children's ability to learn to read. The latter is key in our literate society, and critical for school success (Whitehurst, & Lonigan, 2002). Poverty reduces children's environmental opportunities that promote language and emergent literacy skills. The present study is primarily a correlational study, and used quantitative methods to examine the relationships between home support for language and emergent literacy (HSLEL) in low-income families, mother's education and birth status (i.e., US born or Immigrant) and children's language and emergent literacy development at kindergarten entry. The sample for this study consisted of 76 mothers and 76 children. As a group the children in this sample, especially children of Immigrant mothers, performed below national levels in all measures. Results also indicated that even within this low-income sample, maternal educational attainment was positively correlated with children's language and early literacy skills. In addition, maternal birth status was the strongest predictor of children's receptive vocabulary. Lastly, six specific HSLEL items from the scale were statistically significantly correlated with child outcomes.The main conclusions of this study are that more study is needed to deepen our understanding of (1) the interplay between maternal characteristics (i.e., mother's education and birth status), and their children's language and emergent literacy skills; and (2) the interplay between maternal characteristics, home support for language and emergent literacy development, and children's language and emergent literacy skills. Finally, findings from this study underscore the need to consider the use of alternative measures to accurately evaluate the skills that children with this sample's characteristics possess prior entry to kindergarten. The main contribution of this study is the identification of factors that help explain the variability of children's kindergarten entry skills within a low income sample.
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