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The home-literacy environment of young children with disabilities

Some studies have reported that young children with disabilities have qualitatively distinct home-literacy environments and interests than young children without disabilities. Such differences may contribute to differences in the early-literacy skills of children with and without disabilities. This study was designed to measure three distinct features of the home-literacy environment for children with and without disabilities (frequency of storybook reading, literacy teaching during book reading, children's print interest; hereafter frequency, teaching, and interest) and determine the extent to which these may vary for the two groups of children. Parents of 692 preschool-aged children (57% with disabilities), all enrolled in inclusive early children special education classrooms, completed a comprehensive assessment of the home-literacy environment in fall of the academic year. Children's teachers completed an assessment for each child on their early-literacy skills. The home-literacy environments of children with and without disabilities was distinguishable only for children's interest; frequency and teaching were comparable. Importantly, children's interest was positively associated, concurrently, with early-literacy skills. This study helps to pinpoint which aspect of the home-literacy environment distinguishes between children with and without disabilities. Findings also suggest the potential importance of identifying avenues to improve the print interest of young children with disabilities. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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