Purpose: This article provides information about the Head Start Family and Children Experiences Survey (FACES). It also presents the findings of a study that capitalizes on the strengths of the data from FACES to investigate the impact of child and family characteristics, speech-language impairment, and the home literacy environment on the language and early literacy outcomes of children from low-income families.
Method: Data from the FACES 1997 cohort were used in this study. Variables included in the analysis were child and family characteristics (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, etc.); parent report of speech-language impairment; frequency of home literacy activities; and children's scores on vocabulary, letter-word identification, and early reading assessments.
Results: The results revealed that children's vocabulary abilities in Head Start were affected by maternal education, ethnicity, and the frequency of home literacy activities, and children's letter-word identification abilities were impacted by maternal education and the child's gender and age. Additionally, children's reading abilities in kindergarten were predicted by ethnicity, speech-language impairment, and the home literacy environment, as well as by children's vocabulary and letter-word identification abilities in Head Start.
Conclusion: The findings demonstrate the unique contributions that the home literacy environment and the presence of speech-language impairment during preschool make in children's early reading outcomes.