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The home literacy environment and preschool children's reading skills and interest

This study explored the association between the home literacy environment (HLE), conceptualized as comprising parents' reading beliefs and home literacy practices, and preschoolers' reading skills and reading interest. It also identified factors in the HLE that predict emerging reading competence and motivation to read. A total of 193 children age 6 years from 14 preschools across Singapore and their parents participated in the study. The parents completed a reading belief inventory, a family literacy activity inventory, and a demographic questionnaire that surveyed the child's reading interest. The children were administered a battery of standardized literacy tests. The study found a moderate relationship between the HLE and children's reading competencies and a strong relationship between the HLE and children's reading interest. When parents' education level and children's age were controlled, hierarchical multiple regression analyses found that family literacy activities contributed more unique variance to children's reading outcomes and reading interest than did parents' reading beliefs. Active parental involvement was the strongest component of the HLE, with parent-child engagement in reading and writing emerging as the best predictor of both the child's emerging reading skills and reading interest. With respect to reading beliefs, parents' efficacy in supporting literacy development before their child attended school positively predicted reading competence, as did parents' affect and verbal participation in fostering reading interest. However, verbal participation negatively predicted Singapore children's reading competence. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers

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