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The role of behavioral self-regulation in learning to read: A 2-year longitudinal study of Icelandic preschool children

Research suggests that behavioral self-regulation skills are critical for early school success, including success in literacy, but few studies have explored the relations that behavioral self-regulation may have with different components of early literacy development. The present study investigated the longitudinal contribution of behavioral self-regulation skills among Icelandic children in preschool to literacy measures of varying complexity in 1st grade. Behavioral self-regulation was assessed using a direct assessment (the Head-to-Toe task) and according to teacher reports (the Child Behavior Rating Scale). A total of 111 children participated in the study (mean age at Wave 1=55.70 months, 49% girls). Findings showed that both behavioral self-regulation measures predicted reading comprehension 2 years later after age, gender, maternal education, and emergent literacy skills were controlled, but relations with more basic reading skills--reading accuracy and fluency--were not as robust. Practice or Policy: These findings provide a new insight into the role of behavioral self-regulation in early academic achievement and extend previous research by showing that early self-regulatory skills play a role in children's initial steps in comprehending continuous texts. They also underline a need for a wider focus in emergent literacy interventions aimed at promoting prerequisites for reading. (author abstract)
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Reports & Papers

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