Home and Preschool Literacy Environments of Children from Low-Income, Linguistically Diverse Families: Relations with Early Literacy Outcomes




Hutchison, Lindsey A.

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The current study examined relationships between the home literacy environment (HLE), classroom literacy environment (CLE), and emergent literacy skills for young children from low socioeconomic, linguistically diverse backgrounds (N = 1043). Parents and teachers completed surveys, and specialists administered language assessments to children. Language groups included “English, “Spanish,” “English and Spanish,” and “English and Other.” Results indicated that, within the HLE, reading frequency was lower for the “English and Other” group, however recitation of poems was higher for this group. Availability of literacy materials and reading frequency were positively related to children’s book knowledge. This pattern held for children 3 years and older, but not for those under 3. For those 3 years and up, reading frequency was positively related to auditory comprehension. For those under 3, number of literacy materials was positively related to language skills. For native English-speakers, reading frequency and expressivecommunication were negatively related, while they were positively related for Spanish speakers. For English and Spanish speakers, number of literacy materials was positively related to auditory comprehension and book knowledge. Within the classroom, whole and small group reading were occurring less often than desired. CLE quality was negatively related to expressive communication, while it was positively related to book knowledge. Cluster analyses revealed that classrooms clustered into two groups, and children 3 years and older in the higher-quality cluster scored higher on language naming, auditory comprehension, expressive communication, book knowledge, and book interest than those in the lower-quality cluster. Though child gender and the HLE accounted for significant variance in early literacy skills, the CLE only had an effect beyond this for expressive communication skills. It also did not moderate the effects of the HLE. Future research should focus on the gap between the HLE and CLE, especially for children from low-income, linguistically diverse families.



Literacy, Preschool, Low-income, Language, Childhood, Education