Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Lori A. Roggman


Lori A. Roggman


Ann M. Berghout Austin


Maria C. Norton


Parker C. Fawson


Sandra L. Gillam


Reading success has been linked to high school completion, future job success, and future generations of children who can read. Unfortunately, children who are unable to read on grade level by the end of first grade are at a great disadvantage and unlikely to catch up later. Without the ability to read and comprehend text, all aspects of schooling become progressively more difficult and the challenge of poor reading ability can be so difficult to overcome that many poor readers will not complete high school. For these reasons, it is important to identify early experiences in a child's family environment that predict the early skills that are necessary for later reading and reading comprehension. The child's family environment includes the quality of both the general home setting and specific kinds of parent-child interactions. The skills necessary for reading success include vocabulary, phonological skills, and other early literacy skills, but broader cognitive and regulatory skills may also be necessary. Because children from low-income families are at higher risk for reading problems, this study examines extant data on early environments, early development, and second-grade reading from a sample of 117 children from low-income families who participated in a longitudinal study from the child's infancy to second grade. Early family environments and children's early cognitive and other skills that are measured at 36 months and just prior to kindergarten entry at 54 months, were analyzed in relation to their second-grade vocabulary, reading ability, and reading comprehension. The results of this analysis of extant longitudinal data help identify early predictors of reading success for children at risk for reading problems.




This work made publicly available electronically on November 29, 2010.