THE HOME LITERACY ENVIRONMENT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT: ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND SOCIAL SKILLS OF CHILDREN IN IMMIGRANT FAMILIES
MOON, UI JEONG
Hofferth, Sandra L
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The home literacy environment has been shown to be crucial to young children's academic achievement and social skills. This study examines the longitudinal effects of home-based literacy related activities on children's academic achievement test scores and social skills from kindergarten up to 5th grade. To conduct this study, data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), provided by the U.S. Department of Education, were utilized. Children with at least one immigrant parent were categorized according to their mother's country of origin: South America, Mexico, Caribbean/Central America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, other countries, and the U.S. (with a foreign-born father). Using a latent difference score model, parental involvement and reading activity at home were linked to children's academic achievement test scores and social skills at kindergarten, along with changes in scores between each time point. Results of analyses suggest that boys benefit more from parents' involvement at home than do girls. Both boys' and girls' independent reading appear to be strongly linked to developing strong reading and math skills. More parental involvement and their independent reading benefited boys' self-control and interpersonal skills, but it did not have that benefit for girls. In addition, there were substantial differences in the effects of parental involvement and children's reading activity on children depending on mother's country of origin. The reading and math score of children of East Asian and Southeast Asian mothers benefited from their independent reading activity, whereas the scores of children of Latin-origin mothers benefited from both parental involvement at home and reading activity. For children of Mexican and Caribbean/Central American descent, especially, parental involvement had a continuing significant effect on math and reading scores up to 5th grade. Similarly, compared to other immigrant groups, the social skills of Latin American-origin boys were influenced more by parental involvement at home, and those of Southeast Asian-origin boys were influenced more by reading time at home.