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J Learn Disabil. 2003 Jan-Feb;36(1):59-67.

The role of environment in the development of reading skills: a longitudinal study of preschool and school-age measures.

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  • 1College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville, KY 40292, USA.


The purpose of this study was to extend previous studies on the influence of environmental measures on intelligence scores by examining how proximal and distal measures of children's environments in the preschool period and in the primary-grade period are related to their performance on reading achievement tests. Reading performance was explored using two approaches. The first approach involved the identification of children within a longitudinal sample who had poor reading skills at 8 years of age. The second approach used the full range of reading scores to explore whether factors influencing poor reading were different from those influencing good reading. Participants were 113 children, including 35 children with poor reading skills, who were part of a longitudinal study of cognitive development. Socioeconomic status (SES), Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME) scores at 3 and 10 years of age, and school-administered and individually administered reading achievement scores were obtained. Both SES and HOME scores were found to be related to reading abilities, but preschool environment measures were more strongly and consistently related to and predictive of reading scores. Differences in the patterns of correlations and the results of the predictive models were found between the full sample and the poor readers. Variables other than proximal and distal measures of the environment are involved in the development of reading skills.

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