Environmental, behavioural, and cognitive predictors of emergent literacy and reading skills

  • Author / Creator
    Stephenson, Kathy
  • This thesis consists of three separate papers broadly examining how different environmental and child variables affect language and literacy acquisition in two or more orthographies. The first paper is a quantitative meta-analysis of studies that have examined the effects of shared book reading on language, emergent literacy skills, and reading achievement with preschool children. The results suggest that shared book reading explained approximately 7% of variance in all the language and literacy measures combined. The mean effect size of shared book reading was slightly larger for the combined language measures (d = 0.77) than for the combined emergent literacy measures (d = 0.57), or the combined reading achievement measures (d = 0.63). An examination of the effects of shared book reading on specific language, emergent literacy, and reading skills revealed that shared book reading is more related to some skills than others.
    The second paper examines the effects of home literacy (shared book reading, teaching activities, and number of books), children’s task-focused behaviour, and parents’ beliefs and expectations about their child’s reading and academic ability on Kindergarten children’s (N = 61) phonological sensitivity and letter knowledge and on Grade 1 word reading. The results showed that after controlling for nonverbal IQ and vocabulary, parent teaching activities prior to Kindergarten predicted significantly letter knowledge; parents’ beliefs about their children’s reading ability predicted significantly phonological sensitivity and Kindergarten word reading; and children’s task-focused behaviour predicted significantly letter knowledge and Kindergarten and Grade 1 word reading
    The third paper reports on a cross-linguistic longitudinal study that examines the environmental, behavioural, and cognitive predictors of Grade 3 word reading fluency, passage comprehension, and spelling in children learning to read in an orthographically inconsistent language (English) and in an orthographically consistent language (Greek). Results indicated that home literacy factors did not directly predict Grade 3 reading or spelling skills for either the English- or Greek-speaking samples. Task-focused behaviour directly predicted spelling for the Greek-speaking sample. Vocabulary was more important for reading and spelling in English than in Greek. Letter knowledge was more important for spelling in Greek and for passage comprehension in English.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • McInnes, Alison (Educational Psychology)
    • McQuarrie, Lynn (Educational Psychology)
    • Bus, Adriana (Leiden University, Netherlands)
    • Bisanz, Jeff (Psychology)
    • Smith, Veronica (Educational Psychology)