Early Child Language Mediates the Relation Between Home Environment and School Readiness

Université Laval, Quebec City, QC G1V 0A6, Canada.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.92). 05/2009; 80(3):736-49. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01294.x
Source: PubMed


Home environment quality is a well-known predictor of school readiness (SR), although the underlying processes are little known. This study tested two hypotheses: (a) child language mediates the association between home characteristics (socioeconomic status and exposure to reading) and SR, and (b) genetic factors partly explain the association between language and SR. Data were collected between 6 and 63 months in a large sample of twins. Results showed that home characteristics had direct effects on SR and indirect effects through child language. No genetic correlation was found between language and SR. These results suggest that home characteristics affect SR in part through their effect on early language skills, and show that this process is mainly environmental rather than genetic in nature.

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    • "Much attention has been given to the relationship between the home learning environment (HLE) and the development of language and vocabulary (Rodriguez and Tamis-LeMonda, 2011; Son and Morrison, 2010) or early cognitive attainment like early literacy and numeracy in pre-school (Anders et al., 2012; Hartas, 2011; Skwarchuk, 2009). The important role of HLE was also linked with later school readiness (Forget‐Dubois et al., 2009), pre-reading and reading, spelling, and mathematics attainment at primary school age (Hartas, 2012; Sammons et al., 2004; Melhuish et al., 2008; Niklas and Schneider, 2013). In a longitudinal study of pre-school in England, Sammons et al. (2002) (2004) and Melhuish et al. (2008) showed that their measure of early years HLE had an independent influence on the educational outcomes, with strong positive effects in predicting later attainment at school that were above and beyond the effects of parental Received 19 February 2015 Revised 22 June 2015 Accepted 8 July 2015 This study is part of a research project funded by the "
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    • "One of the major limitations of studies of biologically-related parents and children is that associations between parent and child variables may be due to their genetic similarity instead of environmental influence. However, previous research equipped to account for genetic influences has still found significant environmental influences (Forget‐Dubois et al., 2009; Roisman & Fraley, 2012; Stams, Juffer, & van IJzendoorn, 2002). In addition , missing data due to the lack of parent participation or attrition over the course of the study could limit generalizability of the findings. "
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