Socioeconomic Differences in Reading Trajectories: The Contribution of Family, Neighborhood, and School Contexts

  • Aikens N
  • Barbarin O
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In the present study, the authors use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort of 1998-1999, to examine the extent to which family, school, and neighborhood factors account for the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on children's early reading. Through the use of hierarchical linear modeling techniques, growth curve models were estimated to depict children's reading trajectories from kindergarten to 3rd grade. Family characteristics made the largest contribution to the prediction of initial kindergarten reading disparities. This included home literacy environment, parental involvement in school, and parental role strain. However, school and neighborhood conditions contributed more than family characteristics to SES differences in learning rates in reading. The association between school characteristics and reading outcomes suggests that makeup of the student population, as indexed by poverty concentration and number of children with reading deficits in the school, is related to reading outcomes. The findings imply that multiple contexts combine and are associated with young children's reading achievement and growth and help account for the robust relation of SES to reading outcomes., (C) 2008 by the American Psychological Association

Author-supplied keywords

  • achievement trajectories
  • reading
  • socioeconomic status

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  • Nikki L. Aikens

  • Oscar Barbarin

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