The role of home literacy practices in preschool children's language and emergent literacy skills

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2005 Apr;48(2):345-59. doi: 10.1044/1092-4388(2005/024).


This study examined how 4 specific measures of home literacy practices (i.e., shared book reading frequency, maternal book reading strategies, child's enjoyment of reading, and maternal sensitivity) and a global measure of the quality and responsiveness of the home environment during the preschool years predicted children's language and emergent literacy skills between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Study participants were 72 African American children and their mothers or primary guardians primarily from low-income families whose home literacy environment and development have been followed since infancy. Annually, between 18 months and 5 years of age, the children's mothers were interviewed about the frequency they read to their child and how much their child enjoyed being read to, and the overall quality and responsiveness of the home environment were observed. Mothers also were observed reading to their child once a year at 2, 3, and 4 years of age, and maternal sensitivity and types of maternal book reading strategies were coded. Children's receptive and expressive language and vocabulary were assessed annually between 3 years of age and kindergarten entry, and emergent literacy skills were assessed at 4 years and kindergarten entry. The specific home literacy practices showed moderate to large correlations with each other, and only a few significant associations with the language and literacy outcomes, after controlling for maternal education, maternal reading skills, and the child's gender. The global measure of overall responsiveness and support of the home environment was the strongest predictor of children's language and early literacy skills and contributed over and above the specific literacy practice measures in predicting children's early language and literacy development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Black or African American
  • Caregivers
  • Child Language*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers
  • Reading*
  • Speech Production Measurement
  • Videotape Recording
  • Vocabulary