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The role of the home literacy environment in the development of early literacy skills and school readiness in kindergart...

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Title:
The role of the home literacy environment in the development of early literacy skills and school readiness in kindergarten children from low socioeconomic and minority families
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Martin, Nicole R
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University of South Florida
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Reading
School
DIBELS
Race
Language
Dissertations, Academic -- Interdisciplinary Education -- Specialist -- USF
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theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

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Abstract:
ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relationship between two predictor variables and children's Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Initial Sound Fluency (ISF) and Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) scores, as well as Early Screening Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K) scores. The two predictor variables were 1) parents' perception of their home literacy environment, and 2) parental beliefs about the importance of literacy (race had to be dropped out of the study due to the limited amount of participants per race variable). The participants were 68 kindergarten students and their parents from two schools in a school district in West Central Florida. Results showed that the home environment is a relatively good predictor of student's early literacy skills, when ISF is used to assess early literacy, with that variable accounting for 16% of the variance in the ISF scores. No other significant relationships were found, with parental belief not predicting any of the early literacy scores. Implications for educating low-income families to prepare their children for school are discussed.
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Thesis (Ed.S.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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by Nicole R. Martin.
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Title from PDF of title page.
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oclc - 173314826
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0001694
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The Role of the Home Literacy Environment in the Development of Ea rly Literacy Skills and School Readiness in Kinde rgarten Children from Low Socioeconomic and Minority Families by Nicole R. Martin A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Education Specialist Department of Psychological and Social Foundations College of Education University of South Florida Major Professor: Kelly Powell-Smith, Ph.D. Deidre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D. Lou Carey, Ph.D. Linda Raffaele-Mendez, Ph.D. Date of Approval: June 28, 2006 Keywords: reading, school, DIBELS, race, language Copyright 2006, Nicole R. Martin

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Acknowledgements I would like to express thanks to Dr. Powell-Smith who has been a key component in the completion of my thesis. She has guided my efforts and motivated me throughout the entire process. Through her knowledge, kind words, and direction she has made the experience of writing this thesis memo rable. I also would like to thank my other committee members, Dr. Cobb-Roberts, Dr. Carey, and Dr. Raffaele Mendez, for their words of wisdom. Their insightful suggesti ons were valued during the research and writing process. Further, I would like to th ank the participants and school personnel who were instrumental in making th is project possible. Their will ingness to participate in this project may be useful in assisting children a nd families in the future. Lastly, I would like to express deep appreciation to my fa mily and friends for their support and encouragement throughout graduate school. I would not have made it through this journey without them.

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i Table of Contents List of Tables………………………………............................................................................... iv Abstract………………………………………………………………………………………... v Chapter I: Introduction ..……………………………………………………………………… 1 Statement of the Problem ..……………………………………………………………. 1 Purpose of the Study ..…………………………………………………………………. 6 Research Questions ..………………………………………………………………….. 6 Hypothesis One………………………………………………………………... 6 Hypothesis Two....…………………………………………………………….. 7 Hypothesis Three……………………………………………………………… 7 Significance of the Study ..……………………………………………………………. 7 Definition of Terms ………………………………………………………….……….. 8 Early Literacy Skills……………………………………………………………8 Home Literacy Environment…………………………………………………... 8 Socioeconomic Status…………………………………………………………. 8 Title One………………………………………………………………………. 9 Chapter II: Review of the Literature…………………………………………………….…….. 10 Overview …………………………………………………………………….………... 10 Children and Low Socioeconomic Status………………………………………………. 10 Cognitive Development/Academic Achievement and Low Socioeconomic Status……. 11 Early Literacy and Socioeconomic Status……………………………………………….19 Literacy ………………………………………………………………………………... 23 Early Literacy…………………………………………………………………………… 25 Home Literacy Environment …………………………………………………………… 27 Family Literacy Practices………………………………………………………………..29 Summary………………………………………………………………………………………. 39 Chapter III: Methodology ………………………………………………………….………... 42 Overview………………………………………………………………………………... 42 Participants……………………………………………………………………………… 43 Ethical Considerations………………………………………………………………….. 45 Instrumentation.………………………………………………………………………… 46 Measurement of Early Literacy Skills………………………………………….46 School Readiness Uniform Screening System………………………………… 53 Home Literacy Environment Survey………………………………………….. 51 Procedures………………………………………………………………………………. 53

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ii Data Analysis …………………………………………………………………………. 55 Chapter IV: Results ………………………………………………………….………………. 57 Preliminary Analysis……………………………………………………………………. 57 Power Analysis………………………………………………………………… 57 Internal Consistency …………………………………………………………... 57 Descriptive Statistics…………………………………………………………... 58 Multiple Regression Analysis ………………………………………………………….. 63 Chapter V Discussion…………………………………………………………………………..70 Regression Findings…………………………………………………………………….. 70 Home Literacy Environment……………………………………………………………. 73 Parental Beliefs about Literacy…………………………………………………………. 75 Race……………………………………………………………………………………... 75 Limitations……………………………………………………………………………… 76 Delimitations……………………………………………………………………………. 78 Directions for Future Research…………………………………………………………. 78 References……………………………………………………………………………………... 81 Appendices…………………………………………………………………………………….. 86 Appendix A English/Spanish Parental Informed Consent……………………………… 87 Appendix B English/Span ish Home Literacy Environment Survey……………………. 97

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iii Lists of Tables Table 1. Kindergarten Demographi cs for School One & School Two……………… 44 Table 2. Student Demographics for Total Sample………………………………….. 45 Table 3. Kindergarten DIBELS Benchmarks………………………………………. 49 Table 4. Percentages of Students in each Indivi dual Pattern of Performance on Beginning of Kindergarten DIBELS Benchmark Assessment…………..... 50 Table 5. Benchmarks for ESI-K…………………………………………………….. 51 Table 6. Descriptive Statistics for Home Literacy Environment…………………… 59 Table 7. Descriptive Statistics for Early Literacy Measures...……………………… 59 Table 8. Percentages of Children in each ESI-K Category by Child Variable...…… 60 Table 9. Percentages of Children in each DIBELS Category by Child Variable…... 61 Table 10. Percentages of Students per Cl assifications on the Early Literacy Measures…………………………………………………………………... 62 Table 11. Intercorrelations for Initial S ound Fluency and Predictor Variables……… 64 Table 12. Intercorrelations for Letter Nami ng Fluency and Predictor Variables……. 65 Table 13. Intercorrelations for ES I-K and Predictor Variables………………………. 65 Table 14. Multiple Regression Summary fo r Variables Predicting Initial Sound Fluency……………………………………………………………….......... 66 Table 15. Multiple Regression Summary fo r Variables Predicting Letter Naming Fluency……………………………………………………………………... 67 Table 16. Multiple Regression Summary for Variables Predicting ESI-K…………… 68

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iv The Role of Home Literacy Environment in th e Development of Early Literacy Skills and School Readiness in Kindergarten Childre n From Low Socioeconomic and Minority Families Nicole R. Martin ABSTRACT The present study investigated the rela tionship between two predictor variables and children’s Dynamic Indicators of Basi c Literacy Initial Sound Fluency (ISF) and Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) scores, as well as Early Screening I nventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K) scores. The two predictor variables were 1) parents’ perception of their home literacy environment, and 2) parental beliefs about the importance of literacy (race had to be dropped out of the study due to the limited am ount of participants per race variable). The participants were 68 kindergarten stude nts and their parents from two schools in a school district in West Central Florida. Re sults showed that the home environment is a relatively good predictor of student’s early literacy skills, when ISF is used to assess early literacy, with that variable accounting for 16% of the variance in the ISF scores. No other significant relationships were found, with parental belief not predicting any of the early literacy scores. Implications for educ ating low-income families to prepare their children for school are discussed.

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1 Chapter I Introduction Statement of the Problem Literacy can be defined as “using printe d and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to de velop one’s knowledge and potential” (Kirsch, Junbeblut, Jenkins, & Kolstead, 1993, p.2). A ccording to the National Institute for Literacy (1998) the adult illiteracy rate in United States is thirty eight percent. In 1992 the illiteracy crisis in the U.S. was recognized by then president, George Bush who signed the National Literacy Act through which the Na tional Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) was conducted (Yussen, & Smith, 1998). The NALS a ssessed literacy pr oficiency on three scales: prose, document, and quantitative literacy (Yussen, & Smith, 1998). The scales tap into adults’ skills in perf orming everyday functiona l literacy tasks such as, filling out an application, understanding a newspaper article, or understanding quantitative information from a graph. Five levels of lite racy proficiency were identified representing the ability to understand and to accurately comple te literacy tasks acro ss the three literacy scales. According to findings from the NALS, about one-half of American adults performed at the two lowest levels of literacy proficiency. Further, educational attainment was highly associated with literacy prof iciency. Finally, African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians were more likely than Caucasians to perform in the two lowest literacy levels.

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2 Literacy difficulties amongst children ar e prevalent as well. Data from the 2003 National Assessment of Educa tional Progress (NAEP) show that 37 percent of fourth graders read below the basic level. Further in twelfth grade, 26 percent read below the basic level. Among African Americans, Hisp anic, and American Indian students, the picture is even more dismal: 46 percent of Black, 44 percent of Hispanic, and 43 percent of American Indian eighth graders and 43 pe rcent of African Americans read below the basic level (U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National A ssessment of Educational Progress; (NAEP, 2003). Further, almost 3 million children in the U.S. have some form of a learning disability and receive special educati on support in school. Among these students, approximately 85 percent have reading di fficulties. These numbers do not include children in private and religious school s or home-schooled children (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disa bilities, 2004). Since, 1992 the percentage of students who spend 80 percen t or more of their time in school in special education classes increased from 21 percent to 45 per cent. Racial differences have also been observed. One percent of Caucasian children compared to 2.6 percent of non-Hispanic African American children rece ived learning disabled relate d special education services in 2001(OSEP 23rd Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Education, 2001). With such large portions of students having learning disabilities, lasting impacts have been found. The 23rd Annual Report to Congress (2001) reported that 27 percent of children with learning disabilities drop out of high school. Further, only 13 percent of students with learning disabili ties, compared to 53 per cent of students in general

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3 education, have attended a 4-year post sec ondary school program w ithin two years of leaving high school (National Longitudinal Transition Study, 1994). Recently, congress took action to improve literacy targeting youths, with the reauthorization of the Elementary and Sec ondary Education Act (ESEA). On January 8, 2002 President Bush signed the No Child Left behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This new law attempts to educate all students and to hol d teachers and schools accountable for those who fail. This law was in part motivated by the rising achievement gaps between ethnic groups specifically in the areas of reading. According to NCLB, four major objectives are identified: accountability for results, emphasis on reading instruction which is scientifically based, more parental options and more local control and flexibility. In addition, NCLB requires each state to meas ure every public school student’s annual progress in reading and math in grades 38 and at least one time during grades 10-12. Those measurements must be aligned with state academic content and achievement standards (U.S. Department of Education, NCLB, 2004). Two key reading initiatives have developed as a result of NCLB, Reading First and Early Reading First Through the Reading First initiative states are given funds and tools to tackle reading deficits. Reading First initiatives will provide $900 million to states and local districts and Early Reading First will provide $75 million to enhance prereading skills for children in Head Start and other preschool programs. Reading Fir st’s main emphasis is to improve literacy and r eading instruction in early elementary. Funds will be used to improve professional de velopment and support teachers. Also, the program will provide states and districts to prepare classroom teachers to screen and identify reading problems and to help students overcome reading barriers. Reading First

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4 is unique from previous nati onal reading programs for several reasons. First, it is more focused on improving classroom teacher’s ab ility to provide consistent reading instruction to all students. Second, all states ar e eligible to apply fo r funds where previous programs distributed funds competitively excluding some states. Finally, Reading First identifies clear specific expectations for what should happen in the classroom because instruction must be based upon sc ientific reading research. The Early Reading First grant promotes reading readiness in school-age ch ildren, particularly those from low-income families. Both the Reading First and Early Reading First programs are aligned so there is consistency in teaching children to re ad between preschool and kindergarten. Early Reading First was developed because the ESEA recognized that many children enter school without preliteracy skills that are need ed to succeed in K-3 reading instruction. Children from low socioeconom ic status and minorities are typically identified as being at high disadvantage for school readin ess. Minority children and children from low-income households have been identified as groups who are at increased risk for academic failure because of deficits in preschool literacy experiences and exposure to language (Washington, 2001) According to the Department of Education (2003) the National Assessment of Educational Pr ogress reading assessments indicated that 12 per cent of African Americans children, 16 percent of Hispanic children and 17 percent of American Indian children scored at or above the proficiency level compared to 40 percent of Caucasian ch ildren. Poverty, instability in the home, inadequate nutrition and medical care are defi cits that create environmental stressors possibly affecting young child ren’s functioning (Fazio, Na remore, & Connel, 1996).

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5 The first three years of life are the most crucial because this is when children are most susceptible to their interactions with a dults and peers. Therefor e, parenting style and family literacy activities are strong factors that impact a child’s literacy skills. These factors are highly impacted by SES, race, and educational status of parents. For example, middle SES families were found to speak 141 mo re utterances per hour than a family on welfare (Hart & Risley, 1995). Hart & Risley have found compelling evidence that children become mirror images of their parent s in regards to vocabulary, and in language and interaction styles. Families from lowe r SES backgrounds tend to engage in less conversation, use more short direct demands and ask fewer questions. Consequently, a strong correlation was found between SES and vocabulary. SES also impacts other factors in the ho me. Children in families living above the poverty line are much more likely to be enga ged in literacy activi ties on a regular basis than children who live in poverty. Further stud ies have shown that 61 percent of children living above the poverty line were read to ever y day by a parent or other family member, compared to 46 percent of children living be low the poverty level (U.S. Department of Education, National Center fo r Education Statistics, 1996) Differences in literacy activities amongst racial and ethnic groups have also been documented. For example, research has found th at Caucasian children are more likely to be read to every day (64 percent) than Af rican American children (44 percent), or Hispanic children (53 percent). Also, 41 per cent of Caucasian children visit a library once a month compared to 31 percent of Afri can American children and 27 percent of Hispanic children. Further, African American and Hispanic children ar e less likely to be

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6 told a story frequently (47 percent) th an Caucasian children (59 percent). (U.S. Department of Education, National Ce nter for Education Statistics, 1996) Purpose of Study Literacy is a skill that is valued highly in society. Illiteracy has social and economic implications, which impact such things as class level, job placement, and daily functioning. Literacy development begins prior to the age of 5; therefore, research has been conducted examining factors that impact literacy development in pre-school aged children. Among the most important of factor s identified is the home environment. The home environment is identified as a viable fa ctor in the development of literacy skills because the home is typica lly the setting in which la nguage and literacy is first encountered. The purpose of this study was to add to previous lit erature assessing the potential impact the home environm ent has on early literacy skills. Research Questions 1. What is the relation between kinderga rten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Earl y Literacy Scores (I nitial Sound Fluency) and their race (Caucasian, African American, a nd Hispanic), parents perceptions of their home literacy environment, and parental be liefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Environment Survey? Hypothesis 1 A significant relation exists be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynamic Indicat ors of Basic Early Literacy Scores (Initial Sound Fluency) and their race, parent’s percep tions of their home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy.

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7 2. What is the relation between kindergarte n students’ early literacy scores as measured by the Dynamic Indicators of Ba sic Early Literacy Scores (Letter Name Fluency) and their race (Caucasian, African Am erican, and Hispanic), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment, and pare ntal beliefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Survey? Hypothesis 2 A significant relation exists be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynamic Indicat ors of Basic Early Literacy Scores (Letter Name Fluency) and their race, parent’s perc eptions of their home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy. 3. What is the relation between kindergarte n students’ early literacy scores as measured by the Early Screening InventoryKindergarten and their race (Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Survey? Hypothesis 3 A significant relation exists be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by the Early Scre ening Inventory-Kindergarten and their race, parent’s perceptions of their home literacy en vironment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy. Significance of the Study Research has shown that socioeconomic a nd minority status has an effect on preliteracy skills as well as lite racy practices in the home. A ccording to Washington (2001) Caucasian children are more likely to be read to every day than Hispanic or African American children, and less than half in povert y are read to every day compared to 61

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8 percent of children above the poverty line (Washington, 2001). Also, the National Institute for Literacy (1998) reported that lo w literacy is strongly related to poverty. For example, 43% of those with the lo west literacy skills live in poverty. This study provides further information on th e differences in early literacy skills as well as differences in home environmen ts among children from diverse backgrounds. This information may help to lead to multi-cult ural parent based interventions that help to foster parent’s ability to produce enriching l iteracy environment. Fu rther, according to the National Institute for Literacy (1998) more that 4 in 10 preschoolers, 5 in 10 toddlers, and 6 and 10 babies are not read to regularly. The results from this study may serve as a resource for parents and educational pers onnel when considering what might promote literacy activities in the home. Definitions of Terms Early literacy skills Early literacy skills incl ude phonological awareness, alphabetic principle, and fluency with conn ected text (National Reading Panel, 2000). Home literacy environment. The home literacy environment includes learning materials that are provided in the house as we ll as the activities that are presented in the home that promote language and learning stimulation and involve the parents. Socioeconomic status U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006) reports the following poverty guidelines; a fam ily of four with a household yearly income of $20,000, and for each additional family member add $ 3,400 a year. Free & reduced lunch Free or reduced-price meals ar e served to students who are unable to pay the full price of meals and who qualify based on eligibility criteria approved by the school board. The income eligibility guidelines for free or reduced-price

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9 meals are in accordance with scales provided by the Florida Department of Education as adopted by the State Board of Education base d upon income guidelines prescribed by the United States Secretary of Agriculture Title I. A program to improve the opportunities of e ducationally deprived children by helping them succeed in school. The administra tion of Title I is shared by the federal government, states, and local districts. Local educational agencies su bmit applications to state educational agencies for approval. F unds are distributed to local educational agencies and monitored by state educati onal agencies. Services vary by program. Available services may include education/child development, direct health services, health referrals, dental se rvices, speech and hearing assessment (U.S. Department of Education, 1994).

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10 Chapter II Review of Literature Overview of the chapter This chapter reviews the literature that addresses the possible impacts that the home literacy environment has on the early literacy skills of children. Previous research has demonstrated that children who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds and whose mothers have low education are at the greatest risk of academic failure (Washington, 2001). This rationale is a very compelling one for examining the home literacy environments of low socioeconomic hous eholds as it relate s to early literacy skills. In the remainder of this chapter the following areas of research will be examined: the impact of socioeconomic status on cognitive development, academic achievement, and early literacy, as well as the impact of the home literacy environment on children’s literacy skills. This chapter concludes with a summary of the literature. Children and Low Socioeconomic Status According to the National Poverty Cent er in 2001 there are approximately 11.7 percent of people in the U.S. who live in poverty. Children represent a disproportionate share of the poor; they are 25.6 percent of the total popula tion, but 35.7 percent of the poor. The poverty rate for children also varies by race. According to the National Poverty Center statistics 9.5% of Caucasian child ren are living in pove rty, 30.2 % of African American children, and 28% of Hispanic child ren. Young children are also more likely to live below the poverty line than older childr en. Five million children under the age of 6

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11 live below the federally mandated poverty lin e. (University of Michigan, National Poverty Center, 2003). Growing up in an impoverished environm ent has numerous implications for the successful development of children. Children who lack stimulating environments have been found to demonstrate cognitive and academ ic deficits amongst ot her factors (Stipek & Ryan, 1992). A trend in the literature ha s found that a child’s home environment and early child care is highl y correlated with school r eadiness (Smith & Dixon, 1995; DeBaryshe, 1995). Impoverished homes are typically found to lack the resources to provide children with en riching experiences (Duncan, Brooks-Gunn, Klebenov, 1994). With the increasing rise in educational stan dards for children’s performance in school, research has examined the differences in experiences between SES groups. Cognitive Development/Academic Achievem ent and Low Socioeconomic Status Stipek and Ryan (1992) examined cognitiv e and motivational differences between children from disadvantaged and more affl uent backgrounds. The pa rticipants in the study were two hundred sixty-two children who attended preschool and kindergarten. Forty seven percent of the children were Hi spanic, 27% were Afri can American, 1 % was Asian, 24% were Caucasian, and 1% was identified as “other ethnicity.” Four types of data were collected: information about st udents’ SES was collected through school records and parent questionnaires, the child ren’s cognitive skills and motivation were assessed at the beginning and end of the year behavioral and emotional attitudes were observed in the students’ classroom, and parents’ education, income and teaching behaviors were self-reported.

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12 The children’s SES was determined by in formation parents reported about family income. There were three levels of income. The lower level was classified by a family’s yearly income being less than $ 25,000. In the lower level group there were 105 Hispanic, 30 African American, 3 Asian, and 1 child classified as “other ethnicity.” The second level consisted of a family yearly income of $ 25,000-$ 45,000. The third level consisted of a family yearly income of greater than $ 45,000. The participants were administered the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement Tests as well as items from the Peabody Individual Achievement Test The participant’s number, letter, and reading skills were assessed with both measures. Further, the short form of the McCarthy was used to gain information about other cognitive competencies. A subscale of the Young Children’s Feelings About School was used to assess children’s perception of their competencies, attitudes toward school, and emotions about school. Classroom observations were conduc ted for two hundred and four of the participants. The observer randomly selected a participant to observe for four minute units. This observation was completed until each participant was obser ved a total of eight times. The total frequency of behaviors and expressions observed during the four minute units were recorded. Some variables that we re observed were responding to a completed project (i.e., verbally calling attention, smiling), making social comparisons, refusals to comply, being reprimanded by the teacher. A series of MANOVAs were conducted to obtain results. The first set of data analyses was conducted to examine differen ces between children when they entered kindergarten or preschool. In both cond itions children from higher SES backgrounds scored higher on the cognitive competencies m easures than their lower SES counterparts.

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13 The gap was more salient amongst kindergartners than preschool children. This particular gap was more pronounced in the area of verbal fluency. A two by two MANOVA was computed separately for the African Ameri can and Hispanic groups because they had large numbers of participants who we re both economically advantaged and disadvantaged. SES most impacted the African American participants in the areas of word knowledge, verbal fluency, conceptu al grouping, and letter recognition. The disadvantaged Hispanic children were most affected in the areas of puzzle solving, number memory, numbers achieveme nt, and letters achievement. Analyses of motivation variables resulte d in no differences between economically advantaged and disadvantaged participants ex cept in the amount of time the participants reported they worried. Preschool disadvantaged part icipants were found to worry more at the end of the year, whereas advantaged partic ipants worries declined toward the end of the year. In kindergarten a sim ilar reversed pattern was found. The analyses of the classroom observati ons found that economically advantaged participants seemed to be bored more th an economically disadvantaged participants. Advantaged children were more likely to make comments about their competencies, make more negative social comparisons, and mo re likely to seek help from an adult. Disadvantaged participants were observed to draw attention from another child or adult when they had accomplished something more often than advantaged children. Further, disadvantaged children were found to smile more after completing a task. Overall, the results of this study depict a clear picture of the differences in cognitive abilities amongst children from diverse economic backgrounds. The trend shows that more privileged children are at an academic advantaged on a variety of

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14 educational measures. Intra-racial group diffe rences also where found with regards to socioeconomic status. In addition to differences in cognitive ab ilities, research has also shown that children living in poverty are usually less prepared for sc hool and are more likely to experience academic failure (Washington, 2001). The achievement gap between middle and lower-class students is becoming wider today. Many researchers believe that the consequences of being raised in low soci oeconomic environments may have long term effects on students’ academic achievement (Krasner, 1992). For example, Anderson (1992) examined the relationship between poverty and student achievement amongst eighth graders. The study used data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS: 88). The 1988 study included 24, 599 students who attended public schools. Anderson conducted seve ral analyses of the data provided by the 1988 study. Student academ ic achievement was measured by standardized achievement tests administ ered in the NELS: 88 study. The student’s socioeconomic status was determined by whet her or not the students received free or reduced lunch. The study yiel ded various results indicating a strong relationship between academic achievement and socioeconomic st atus. On average, students from low SES families performed less well in school and were in more need of special educational services than their peers who were from hi gh SES families. Further, the researchers found that low SES students performed less well that their classmates from more advantaged backgrounds regardless if th ey attended a school with a high poverty level. In another study, Okpala, Okpala, & Smit h, (2001) examined the influence of socioeconomic status on the mathematics achie vement of fourth grade students in a low-

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15 income county. Other variables examined in the study were parental involvement and instructional expenditures. Th ere where a total of 42 elem entary schools in the county that included fourth grade st udents. About 47 % of the st udent population was Caucasian, 44.6 % were African American, 4.5 % were Hi spanic, 1.7 % were Asian American, and 1.6% were Native American. Two measures were used to examine st udent achievement. The first measure was the scale score from the end of the year stat ewide assessment used in the school district. The second measure was the percentage of stude nts in each school who performed at four different levels. Level 1 stude nts did not perform at the basic level; Level 2 students performed at the basic level; Le vel 3 students performed at th e proficient level; and Level 4 students performed at the advanced level. According to state requirements students had to perform at least at Level 3. Therefore, the percentage of students who achieved at Levels 3 and 4 were the students who mastered the subject area according to state policy. Receiving free or reduced lunch was used as an indicator of SES. Parental volunteer hours were measured by dividing all parental volunteered hours in each school by 100. Expenditures per pupil were calculated by adding the total instructional supplies for each school in the study and dividing the amount by the number of students in each school. Data in this study were classified into three different categories based on the income levels of parents in each school. The variable free or reduced lunch was used as an indicator of income level of each school. The free or reduced lunch score represented the percent of students who qualified for either category. The median free or reduced lunch score was between 45.1 and 65.0. Theref ore, schools with free or reduce lunch

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16 within the median category we re considered middle-income sc hools, schools with free or reduce lunch scores below 45.1 were consider ed high income schools, and schools with free or reduce lunch scores above 65.0 were considered low income schools. Of the 42 schools examined in this study 13 were classi fied as high income, 17 as middle income, and 12 as low income. The researchers found that the percenta ge of students overall who mastered mathematics increased from low income to high income schools. The low income schools percentage of students who mastered the subject area was 53.75, middle income schools percentage was 70.06, and high income was 78.85. A reverse pattern was noted in the racial composition of the school s. It was found that the perc entage of African American students decreased from low income to hi gh income schools, while the number of Caucasian students increased. Pearson product moment correlations were conducted to determine the relationship between academic achievement and the selected variable s. The correlation between parental volunteer hour s and mathematic achievement was low (.004) as well as the correlation between inst ructional supplies expenditure and achievement (.124) The percentage of students in free and reduced lunch programs was negatively correlated with the mathematics scores (-.773), indicating th at there is a strong relationship between academic achievement and socioeconomic status. Students whom were in free and reduced lunch programs had signifi cantly lower math scores. Similarly, in a study by Thompson (2002) environmental characteristics and neighborhood type was used as an indicator of SES to examine its impact on student achievement. The researcher conducted a qua ntitative study of se lected elementary

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17 schools (n = 61) from two mids ize urban school districts. On e district had a 39% minority population and the other distri ct reported a 14% minority population. The school’s level of SES was determined by several variables: the percent of minorit y student enrollment, school mobility, and the percent of students on free and reduce lunch. The environmental characteristics and neighborhood type was dete rmined by a cluster analysis of selected census data: “percent of houses built before 1950,” “percent of homes built after 1970,” percent of homes that pay $ 300.00 or less in rent,” “percentage of households with children,” “percent of neighborhoods that ha ve children who live in poverty,” “average population of homes per neighborhood,” “percent of homes that are owner-occupied,” and “the population density of various neighborhoods.” Student achievement was measured by school-level data versus indi vidual test scores. Results from the California Achievement Test were utilized to determine academic achievement. Reading, language, arts, and math achievement scores for fourth and sixth graders were used. A series of analyses were conducted to examine the influence of the selected variables on academic achievement. Re sults indicated that neighborhood types significantly impacted the students in the study, especially the sixth graders. The regression model indicated a 3% increase in the pr ediction with an effect size of .35 for the sixth graders. The results from this study imply, particularly with the sixth graders, that socioeconomic status has an imp act on academic achievement. Based on the variables used to define so cioeconomic status the researchers were able to predict student’s scores on the California Achievement Test A similar study by Crane (1996) examin ed to effects of students’ home environment, SES and maternal tests scores on academic achievement. The data used in

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18 this study were from a sample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). The NLSY is a random sample of 12,686 people who were born between 1957 and 1964. The participants have been inte rviewed every year since 1979. The Peabody Individual Achievement Tests (PIAT) in mathematics was used as indicator of academic achievement. Eight va riables of SES were used for analysis: income level of family, mother’s educational status, father’s educational status, mother’s occupation, father’s occupation, size of hous ehold, marital status, and the percent of students at the mother’s hi gh school who were poor. The pe rcentage of student’s who were considered poor at the mother’s school was used an indicator of the quality and social context of the mother’s education. The Short-Form version HOME (HOME-SF) inventory was used to measure the overall quality of the children’s home environment. The HOME-SF is a widely used instrument that attempts to measure the quality of the home environment by assessing the relationship between parent and child and ex amining the amount of stimulation provided in the home. The HOME-SF includes two subscales, one m easuring cognitive stimulation and the other emotional support. The assessment given to mothers to measure their cognitive ability was the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). The AFQT consists of sections on arithmetic reasoning, nu merical operations, word knowledge, and paragraph comprehension. Regression of the variables showed that home environment, SES, race and ethnicity had a negative impact on the PIAT scores. The mother’s and father’s education, and mother’s and father’s occupation we re found to have no significant effect on academic achievement. Early intellectual stimulation, as indicated by the HOME-SF was

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19 found to have the largest impact on the PIAT scores. Four HOME i ndices contributed to the measurement of early intellectual stimul ation. These indices were age of weaning, family income, household size, and the percenta ge of poor students at the mother’s high school. The HOME inventory also assesses other aspects of the home environment such as, the number of toys and the qual ity of the physical environment. The results of these studies support the notion that family SES backgrounds and academic achievement are highly correlated, w ith a pattern indicating that students from low SES backgrounds perform more poorly than their higher SES peers. The latter study indicated that the home environment of children also has a big impact in their educational performance. This trend has been found especi ally in the area of language and literacy development. Research has indicated that even as early as 48 months children from low income homes are at a disadvantage when compared with middle class children in understanding written langua ge (Smith & Dixon, 1995). Early Literacy and Socioeconomic Status Research on preschool students, from different SES backgrounds, early literacy skills has been conducted. Smith & Dixon (1995) researched the di fferences in the literacy concepts of low and middle class pres chool four-year old st udents. A total of 64 students participated in the study drawn from six different preschools. Three Head Start preschools were utilized to identify fam ilies with household incomes below the poverty line; and three preschools that required tuition were select ed to target middle income families. Only half of the Head Start mothers had earned a high school diploma or equivalent and none had a college degree. In contrast, 67 % of the middle class mothers had attended college and completed at least a bachelor’s degree.

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20 Two constructs were assessed in this st udy: function of print, and the form of print. A variety of assessments were perfor med to examine these two constructs. During the first four weeks of preschool the resear chers administered nine informal tasks to assess the two constructs. Four of the task s were used to determine the students’ understanding of the function of print: “rec ognizing environmental print,” “identifying literacy artifacts,” “describ ing the functions of liter acy objects,” and “recognizing readable print.” To assess the child’s ability to recogn ize environment print the children were shown ten 4 X 5 color photographs of l ogos. The children were shown each photograph and were asked to tell the admi nistrator what it said. The pho tographs consisted of such pictures as, McDonald’s si gns, stop signs, and Crayola boxe s. One point was given for each correct response. The children’s knowledge of literacy obj ects were assessed by having students identify materials that were presented to them. Some objects that were used include a newspaper, telephone book, map, and calenda r. To determine how the preschoolers perceived readable print the students were s hown 5 X 8 cards with strings on the letters or scribbles. When the students were shown the card they were asked if it contained a word that older people say. To measure the second construct, pres chooler’s explicit knowledge of the form and structure of print, five tasks were ad ministered: letter iden tification; letter sound identification; writing words and phrases di ctated; blending syllables into words; and blending phonemes into words.

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21 To identify letter names, the students were presented with 3 X 5 cards with lowercase letters and asked by the administrato r the name of the letter. To examine the students’ ability to identify letter sounds, seven utterances were spoken to each child individually and they were as ked to write on the paper someth ing that would help them to remember the word. The third task involved asking the presc hoolers to write down dictated words and phrases. Scores were given for symbolic pictur es and scribbles, as well as more advanced letter similar symbols. In the task measuri ng their ability to combine syllable segments into words the children were asked to identify words after hearing u tterances consisting of two isolated syllables. A similar task wa s administered to students to measure their ability to combine phoneme segments into words. The preschoolers were asked to identify a word after hearing verbal uttera nces consisting of two isolated phonemes. A questionnaire also was administered to the parents of the preschoolers. The questionnaire consisted of the Parent Survey of Home Literacy and other items that examined the frequency and quality of the lit eracy experiences that both the parents and child had together. The parents of children w ho were in Head Start preschools were read the questionnaire. Multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to determine whether low and middle SES preschoolers differ on the two cons tructs that were measured. The total scores for the function of prin t construct ranged from 12 to 31, with the median being 22. Overall, 61 % of the lower income presc hoolers had scores in the lower range. In contrast, 30 % of the high income preschool ers scored above the median. Fifty eight percent of the middle income preschoolers ha d scores that where above the median, and

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22 29 % of the middle income preschoolers scor es were in the lower half. An overall significant effect was found for the function of print construct, F (4, 59) = 4.85, p .01. The scores for the form and structure of print construct ranged from 7 to 77, with the median being 23. The same pattern wa s found between the low income and middle income groups. Sixty one percent of the low income preschoolers fell below the median, whereas only 29 % of the middle income stude nts’ scores were in the lower half. A multivariate analysis was conducted showing an overall significant effect, F (5, 58) = 4.22, p < .01. Analyses of the parent questionnaire de picted a strong difference in experiences between the two groups of parents. Seventyfour percent of the middle class parents reported reading to their children every da y, while an equal amount of low income parents reported reading to the children only once a week. Overall, the data concluded that low income children were read to less than 10 minutes per week before they began preschool. Even though books were found in 92 % of all preschooler’s homes few of the low-income parents reported reading a news paper or magazine. Furthermore, the books that low income parents reporte d reading consisted of adult content, such as the Bible which was regularly cited as a common book. Parents from low income homes also were reported less often that their children had areas where th ey could draw, color, or write. Further, there were differences found in the in itiatives that the groups of parents took to promote literacy interactions with their child ren. Only 30% of low income parents were reported to ask their children questions a nd elicit responses from their children.

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23 Literacy Literacy in the literature traditionally has been considered a visual and perceptual process that involves a series of hierarchical skil ls. Reading was seen as decoding, where the child had to be taught to respond to written symbols verbally while adding comprehension later (Hearn, 1992). Conseque ntly, reading instru ction in the past followed a rigid two-step process involving first teaching children the alphabet. For example, children where taught through key wo rds and practiced reading simple syllables (e.g., C is for cat). Furthermore, children’s literature did not exist making the Bible the most readily available text Reading materials were not adapted for young children, which heavily impacted reading comprehens ion. By the 1940’s reading instruction was focused more on whole word and reading comprehension. Words were introduced through their meaning first and were to be reco gnized solely by sight. If children failed to recognize a word they were encouraged to us e context and pictures to determine a word. Phonics was used as a last means and was ex ercised sparingly (Adams, 1990). Further, it was believed that children were not able to r ead until they were five or six years old and had acquired the appropriate skills. In the 1950’s, researchers began to questi on the whole word approach to reading. The belief that written English is alphabetic and thus phonics instruction is the most beneficial, began to reemerge. Having the abil ity to identify letters and the sounds that each letter represents was valued. Consequent ly, it was believed that once children were equipped with these skills they have the ab ility to lifelong reader s (Adams, 1990). By the 1970’s, the concept of “emerging literacy” bega n to formally develop. Marie Clay coined the term “emergent literacy” (Britto & Br ooks, 2001). Clay observed and recorded how

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24 children responded to literacy ac tivities at school and at home up until they were five or six years old (Hearn, 1992). Clay found that most of the children started school with different ranges of early literacy concepts based on their pre-school experience from books and writing (Hearn, 1992). From this, it wa s derived that reading is not an exact process of seeing and saying words but rath er a perceptual and cognitive process. Emergent literacy means that children obt ain literacy skills no t only from direct instruction, but also from a stimulating and responsive environment. Emergent literacy skills are made up of knowledge and attitude s that are developmen tal to conventional forms of reading and writing (Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Literacy has been identified as the key factor in student academic achievement. Typically if students do not master readi ng they are at risk for academic failure. Longitudinal studies have documented the long-term effects on children who have formally been taught reading versus children who have not had early literacy exposure. The Kindergarten Reading Fo llow-up (KRF) and the Reading Development Follow-up (RDF) both identified that children who enga ged in early educational experiences were found to be academically successful in high sc hool and obtained desirable adult literacy levels (Hanson & Siegel, 1998; 1991; Siegel 1987). High school seniors who were identified as experiencing more reading, la nguage, and other kinds of related educational experiences during preschool years had higher levels of reading competency than those who were provided with less. Further, compar ed to other high school seniors, those who received formal kindergarten reading instruct ion had better grades, attendance, attitudes toward reading, and needed le ss remediation. Most notably, th ese results were consistent across ethnic, gender, and social class groups.

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25 In another study investigati ng early literacy and academic achievement Hart & Risley (1995) recruited 49 families and thei r preschool children under the age of 3 from different socioeconomic backgrounds, ranging from highly affluent families to more impoverished families with most families in the middle. Several aspects of the family literacy experiences were observed: language style, quantity and quality of language interactions, and parenting style. They f ound that the quality of the first 3 years of language learning influenced the student’s lite racy accomplishments at the age of 3. They followed up the study with 29 families to determine how students with high accomplishments at the age of 3 would perform in third grade. They found that for the 29 children observed at 1-2 years of age, rate of vocabulary gr owth at age 3 was strongly associated with scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R) of receptive vocabulary (r = .58) and the Test of Language Development-2: Intermediate (TOLD) (r = .74). Vocabulary at age 3 was also found to be correlated with third grade reading comprehension scores on the Comprehension Test of Basic Skills (r = .56). These findings as well as others highlight the importance of literacy and its potential impact on academic success. Further, the results identify the urgency and significance of early literacy exposure and its effect on reading competency. Early Literacy In 1997, the National Reading Panel (NRP) wa s established by the Director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Secretary of Education. The panel was put in charged in de veloping a report that summarized research literature pertinent to critical skills, environm ents, and early interactions that are key for beginning reading. The NRP identified five area s that entail skills needed for beginning

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26 readers. These five areas are Phonemic Aware ness, Alphabetic Princi ple, Fluency with connected Text, Vocabulary, and Comprehens ion.( Langenberg, D.N., Correro, G., Ehri, L., Ferguson, G., Garza, N., Kamil, M.l., Marrett, C.B., Samuels, S.J., Shanahan, T., Shaywitz, S.E., Trabasso, T., Williams, J., Willows, D., & Yatvin, J., 2000). Research has shown that phonemic awarene ss, which is the ability to reflect upon and manipulate the sound structure of spoken language, is important for later development and is a precursor to liter acy (Dickinson & McCabe, 2001). Similarly, the NRP reported that phonemic awareness and lette r recognition are the tw o best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of school. Interventions that target phonemic awareness enhancemen t have been found to be successful in improving children’s reading abilities Phonics has also been identified as an important skill for reading. Phonics entails understanding how letters are linked to phoneme s to form letter-sound correspondences. Through meta-analysis the NRP derived that systematic phonics instruction positively impacts children’s reading ab ilities, indicating that phonics is an essential skill for children to learn. The NRP also identified fluency and compre hension as critical skills. Fluency is the ability to read with speed and accu racy. Fluency also has a strong impact on comprehension. The NRP also noted the importance of vocabulary and reading comprehension. Strong oral vocabulary skills, both expressive and receptive, have been identified as critical for both reading and general academic success (Washington, 2001). Vocabulary supports reading development, and as children get older, reading is an important source of vocabulary growth. Also, research is showing evidence that the size

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27 of a child’s vocabulary may have a positive effect on phonological awareness (Washington, 2001). Hart & Risley (1995) compared language use of preschool children whose parents were professors and preschool children from disadvantaged backgrounds. From their research they discovered that both groups of preschool children talked about similar things, but with very different depth in vo cabulary. The professors’ children talked at least twice as much as the children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The professors’ children were known to talk about different aspects of what they were doing and asked more questions about how and why things wo rk. Slower vocabulary growth rates were established for the less advantaged preschool st udents. Further, the researchers found that the vocabulary growth rates were strongly associated with rates of cognitive growth. In more recent years, it has been well established that the process of learning begins well before kindergarte n. Therefore, research has be en investigating the factors that have an effect on early literacy. If the negative and positive fact ors that impact early literacy can be accurately determined then appropriate intervention and prevention plans can be put in place. Home Literacy Environment In research on home environments, ideal cognitive outcomes have been associated with home environments that offer a ch ild numerous opportunities to learn through interaction with adul ts and age-appropriate material s (Hart & Risley, 1992). Children from middle and upper class households, are more likely to be exposed to print through books, newspapers, and magazines while, childr en from lower socioeconomic households typically are exposed more to television than reading materials. Ther efore, the quality of

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28 the home environment may have direct implications in the development of literacy skills of young children. The Family Literacy Commission defined fa mily literacy as the ways parents, children, and extended family members use li teracy at home and in their community (Britto et. al 2001). Sometimes family literacy occurs naturally in day-to-day activities and other times it is initiated purposely. Senechal, LeFevre, Hudson, & Lawson (2002) also identified two forms of home literacy activities; informal and formal literacy activities. Informal literacy activities are defined as those where the main goal is conveying the meaning of print. For exam ple, a common informal literacy activity performed in the home is the reading of be dtime stories. The focus of the time spent reading is on the meaning of the story and illustrations. In contrast, formal literacy activities are those in which the parent and child focus on print. This may take place when a child reads a book to a parent while the parent assists with unfamiliar words or phrases. Research has identified several core characteristics and experiences in the home that are associated with positive reading outcomes. These experiences are not just limited to exposure to books and other printed mate rials but also link to the oral language environment in the home (Baker, Sonnensche in, Serpell, Fernandez-Fein, & Scher, 1994). A list of essential experiences in the home are as follows: 1. Books for children are easily accessible. 2. There are large amount of print material for adults in the house, including books, magazines, and newspapers. 3. Children are read to on a regular basis. 4. Children are exposed to a dults reading regularly.

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29 5. Children are provided with space for reading. 6. Parents provide guidance and encouragement for reading. Family Literacy Practices Children’s literacy and academic achievement outcomes have been found to be a product of their cumulative interactions between themselves and their learning experiences. For example, Britto and Brooks (2001) investigated the home literacy environment and emergent literacy skills of low-income preschoolers. The families in the study were observed three times. The first ti me was at baseline, where the mothers’ reading ability was assesse d. Then, a 24-month follow-up oc curred where the mother’s reading ability was furthere d assessed. Finally, the third observation observed motherchild interaction. At the begi nning of the study, the participan ts were 126 teenage African American mothers, none of whom had finish ed high school or received a GED, whose children ages were seven months or younger. At the follow-up observation, the average age of the children was 36 months, and only 20 percent of the mothers had finished high school. The average reading gr ade level of the mothers was eighth-grade level. The shared book-reading observation was done in th e third year, when the mean age of the children was 48 months. Three dimensions of the family literacy environment were examined: (a) language and verbal interactions, (b) the learning climat e, (c) and the social and emotional climate. Language and verbal interactions were meas ured by coding maternal decontexualized and expressive language used in the home thr ough videotaped interac tions at book reading time. The learning climate was assessed from videotaped interactions of the mother and child solving puzzles, which was rated by the Home Observation for Measurement of the

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30 Environment Inventory (HOM E). The HOME inventory was also used to assess the encouragement and warmth in the home environment. To assess children’s emerging literacy, three constructs were examined: (a) receptive vocabulary, (b) expressive language (c) and school readiness. Receptive vocabulary was assessed using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised (PPVT-R). The number of different words spoken by the child during the shared book-reading session assessed expressive language. Finally, the Caldwell Preschool Inventory, Revised Version assessed children’s school readiness. Britto and Brooks (2001) found that childre n’s expressive language was strongly related to maternal decontextual and expr essive language used during book reading. The older the mother, the higher vocabulary the children had. However, the mothers’ high school completion was negatively associated with children’s expressive language during shared book reading. The mother’s high sc hool completion was also negatively associated with the children’s expressive language use during shared book reading. The learning climate in the home accounted for 42 percent of the varian ce in the children’s school readiness. Also, the social and emotional climate in the home accounted for 35 percent of the variance in pres chool children’s school readiness skills. Overall, the results suggest that the learning climate is highly associated with sch ool readiness skills. As part of the learning environment quality of assist ance provided by the mother versus academic stimulation in the home was most strongly asso ciated with early lite racy skills. Also, the social and emotional climate of the home effects early literacy skills. Bennett, Weigel, and Martin (2002) also examined the relationship between the family environment and children’s language and literacy skills. The pa rticipants were 143

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31 families and their preschool-age children. Approximately 88 % of the participants were Caucasian, 3.5% were Hispanic. 2.1 % ethn ic background was defined as other, 1.4% were African American, 1.4% were Asian Am erican or Pacific Islander, 1.4% were multi-ethnic or multi-racial, .7% were Native Americans, Alaskan Native or Aleut, and 1.4% failed to report their ethnic backgrounds. Three theoretical models were used to explain the family’s contributi on to literacy: the Family as Educator, Resilient Family, and Parent-School Partnership. The Family as E ducator model consisted of five variables: literacy environment of the home (e.g., number of books in home), direct teaching (e.g., parents helping with homework), creating oppo rtunities to learn (e .g., exposing children to different people and activities), parental education, and parent al expectations (e.g., how much schooling parents want their children to obtain). The Resilient Family model hypothesized th at the family can provide support and defense against external stressors while sti ll providing the time and attention needed to aid the acquisition of language and literacy. Three variables comprise the model: family organization (e.g., daily schedule, family rule s), family emotional climate (e.g., children’s perception of their relationshi p with their parents), and family stress (e.g., economic stress, demands on parents). The Parent-School Partnership model pur ports that parents who support schools’ efforts to teach their children are more succe ssful in promoting their children’s language and literacy development. Five variables ar e identified in the Parent-School Partnership model: formal parent-school involvement, am ount of contact with teachers, homework help by parents, parent-child interacti on during homework help (e.g., stressed vs. encouraging), and school attendance and punctuality.

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32 The participants were id entified through licensed child care centers. Once the participants were determined, direct c ontact was made to parents to schedule appointments for interview times. Most of the interviews were conducted in the family’s home. The interview began with an explanation of the goals and procedures of the study. The parents were also provided with a self-administered questionnaire which, was comprised of several standardized scales a nd measures developed by the authors of this study in attempt to assess the three theoreti cal models. While the parents completed the questionnaires the researchers assessed the children’s language and literacy skills. Four literacy and language outcomes were m easured: children’s book knowledge, writing skills, receptive language skills, and e xpressive language skills. Children’s book knowledge was assessed using the Child’s Emergent Literacy Task (CELT; Abt Associates Inc., 1991). The participants were asked to perform such tasks as, pointing to the front of a book, identifying a letter or wo rd, and indicating in which direction we read. Receptive and expressive language skills were measured using the subscales of the Preschool Language Scale-3 (PLS-3; Zimmerman, Steiner, & Pond, 1992), auditory comprehension (AC), and expressive communi cation (EC). The AC subtest consists of items that ask children to identify pictures of caterpillars, groceries, a doctor, and circle. In addition, the children were asked to iden tify quantities by counting objects such as strawberries. The EC subtest consists of items that asse ss children’s understanding of analogies such as, “An ant is little. A giraffe is…”. Also, the subtest measures children’s use of regular and irregular forms of past tense verbs. Results from this study indicated that the Family as Educator model was significantly associated with preschool children’s book-re lated knowledge and receptive

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33 and expressive language skills. Their results indicated that children who are exposed to words and language when reading books with their parents display adequate language and literacy skills. Both the Resilient Family and Parent-School Partnership Models were not significantly related to pr eschool children’s language and literacy skills. However, it is important to note that prio r research indicates that prot ective factors such as, family resources, routines, and stressors are typical ly important in regards to language and literacy development, particularly with children from low-income families (e.g., Hart & Risley, 1992). Further, the parents in this study were mostly middle class. This study indicates that intervention programs focu sing on teaching parents appropriate and effective ways to foster language and liter acy skills in preschool children may be effective. This study supports the relations hip between the home literacy environment and preschool-aged children’s acquis ition of emergent literacy skills. Reading aloud has been found to be an intricate component of the home literacy environment. Reading aloud typically is a da ily ritual that most middle and upper class families engage in (DeBaryshe, 1992). Reading aloud appears to be related to oral language and emergent literacy skills (D ebaryshe, 1995). Because reading aloud is significant for children’s deve lopment, it is important to understand the determinants of families’ book reading habits. Some characteristics that have been identified to be associated with home reading practices are social class, literacy skil ls, and parental belief symptoms. DeBaryshe (1995) studied mothers’ read ing beliefs systems about reading aloud. The participants were 60 low-income mother s and their children. Seventy seven percent were African American, and 23% were Caucas ian. Of the mothers, 23% had less than a

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34 high school diploma, 70% had completed high school, and 7% had a college degree. Fifty five percent were single parents, and the same percentage was employed. Two surveys were administered to the mothers assessing pa st and current literacy practices, level of comfort and interest in read ing, and maternal beliefs about reading aloud. Standardized tests such as the Language Test Battery were used to assess the children’s language skills and audiotaped samples of the parent and child book reading activ ities were obtained. The results showed that mothers with higher education and economic resources and stronger literacy skills had more fac ilitative belief systems about reading aloud. Mothers with more facilitative beliefs provi ded their children with more stimulating and frequent reading experiences. Also, the degree of reading exposure was positively associated with children’s reading inte rest as were maternal beliefs. Another study by DeBaryshe (1992) comp ared characteristics of families who engage in high and low rates of reading aloud and to test the outcomes of reading aloud. Standardized tests such as, the Peabody Picture Test-Revised (Form L), the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, and the verbal expression subscale of the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities were used to assess children’s language skills, and audio taped samples were used for assessing reading aloud activities. The participants were 73 low-income mothers and their chil dren. The children’s ages ranged from 26 months to 60 months. Fifty-two percent were boys, and 48% were girls. Seventy-eight percent were African American, and 22% we re Caucasian. Most families lived at or below the poverty line. Surveys were administ ered to the mothers to examine their belief system about reading in addition to the am ount of education and level of comfort and interest possessed about reading. Standardized tests were used to assess the children’s

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35 language skills, and audiotaped samples were taken during parent-c hild book reading. The majority of the mothers provided regular joint reading experience s for their children. The families were separated into groups of high and low reading exposure based on parent-child reading freque ncy, number of books owned, and stories read per reading aloud experience. Mothers in the lowreading families had less education, younger children, and were more likely to be single pa rents. Further, these mothers were less likely to have been read to themselves as children and showed le ss interest, enjoyment and skill in reading. Their children were less engaged in independent reading or exploration of books, were less excited duri ng reading aloud activit ies, and had lower vocabulary skills. The 1992 DeBaryshe study was part of a larger study by DeBaryshe (1995). The participants were compared to middle class and professional families from DeBaryshe study in 1992. The low-income families read less often, owned fewer materials, and started reading to their children at a late r age than the middle class and professional families. The mothers from the higher socioeconomic status families showed more levels of interest in reading, as did their children. The higher socioeconomic mothers asked more questions and gave more feedback to their children when reading aloud. In a similar study conducted by Green, Lilly, and Barrett (2002) the way children’s books were shared in daily fa mily life and how young children responded to books were examined. The participants were 11 families and 12 children ranging in age from 14 months to 5 and half years old. Initia lly, all parents were interviewed about their memories of reading in their own childhood, th e typical amount of time they read aloud with their children, and their children’s favorite books. Through the interviews, the

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36 researchers gathered background informa tion about the parent s’ early reading experiences to provide an unders tanding about the role of lite rature in thei r lives. Parents were asked to stick to their usual storybook reading routines duri ng the study. They were to record titles of the books they read aloud with their childr en, comments during the reading, and related activiti es. Also, the amount of books, magazines, and drawing and writing materials in the home was recorded. Green et. al found r eading aloud to be a recurring family activity. In the families’ daily lives, there were multiple opportunities for interaction with children’s li terature. Story readi ng occurred through various parts of the day, showing the degree of importance of book reading to the families. According to the journal entries and interviews, the majority of the books read to the children included new vocabulary, and action words that promoted language development. There were also many reports of parents engaging in conversa tions about the books after they had been read. Further, it was found that daily rou tines, conversations a nd events triggered connections to the different stories that were read. All the studies reviewed thus far iden tify reading aloud as a key aspect of children’s ability to develop literacy skills in the home. However, few of the studies examined the mother’s ability to comment during joint book readi ng. Joint reading is very common in households; however, not many parents approach it in the same manner. Various factors such as, SES, may have and affect on the way joint book reading is perceived and conducted. Hockenberger, Goldstein, and Hass (1999) investigated whether or not teaching mother’s from low SES backgrounds to commen t while reading with their children would improve the children’s emerging literacy skills The participants were nominated by Head

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37 Start teachers who identified and chose potentia l participants based on whether or not the child was exhibiting any developmental delays Seven mother-child pairs where chosen as participants. Three children exhibited m ild to moderate developmental delays. The other four child participants demonstrated typical cognitive functioning. All families that were selected to participate where classified as low SES based on Head Start standards. The children participants were betwee n the ages of 53 and 65 months. The McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities was administered to determine whether or not the children were developmentally delayed. To establish a more in depth depiction of the participant’s developmental abilities several other assessments were administered: The Battelle Developmental Inventory Test of Early Language Development-2 Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised and the Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test Seventy-six developmentall y appropriate books were available for the mother participants at the Head Star t center. Each week the mother s would borrow at least four new books to read. Each of the mother par ticipants was given a tape recorder and audiotape. The joint book r eading sessions were conducted in the households of the participants. The books were read at the child’ s bedtime. Each night a different story was read. The mother child pairs had to attend thr ee one hour training se ssions at the Head Start Center in one week. Du ring the trainings the mothers were exposed to the concept of emerging literacy and the type of skills that their children would need to learn before they entered school. The importance of book r eading and its effect on oral language and emerging literacy was also explained. The concept of commenting was defined and was illustrated through role plays.

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38 The data were derived from analyses of the audiotapes of the joint book reading sessions. All of the conversation that was conducted between the mother and child was coded, excluding text read from the book. The utterances between mother and child were coded into two broad categories: assertiv e conversational acts wh ich included specific comments, general comments, soliciting info rmation or clarification, and responsive conversational acts which included responses to questions for information gathering, responses to request for acti on or attention, acknowledgement s, imitation or paraphrases, and simple acknowledgements. Other utteranc es coded were, pauses for more than 3 seconds, and no responses. A multiple baseline design was used across all the participants with a withdrawal to measure the effects of the mother’s co mments while engaging in joint book reading. The baseline condition consisted of each mother child pair participating in 6 to 20 reading sessions in which the mother and child read together for approximately 20 minutes. Each mother was told to read as they typically do. After the baseline was established two mothers at a time where trained to comment during book reading. Parents were taught to comment six times during the book reading sess ion. If a mother fell below six comments in three consecutive days they had to repeat the third session of training. After four weeks of interv ention, a criterion of four c onsecutive reading sessions with improved rates of parent child interactio ns was applied to determine when to return the baseline phase. Once the criterion, was met commenti ng was withdrawn from the book reading sessions. As part of the withdrawal stage the pa rents were instructed to respond to the child’s comments or questions but not initiate comm ents. This condition

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39 occurred for 2 weeks. Afterwards the pare nts were asked to begin commenting during book reading sessions again for 4 more weeks. At both the baseline and withdrawal conditions, the rates of the mother’s comments during joint book reading were very low. All of the moth ers increased their comments relative to baseline level once the commenting intervention was implemented. During the withdrawal condition, the specific commenting rates of all mothers returned to baseline level. Further, the majority of th e mother’s rate of commenting increased during the intervention session, with one mother having to repeat a training session due to lack of comments. The results of the study show ed that two of three children who were considered developmentally delayed demonstrat ed an increase of one stanine in regards to emerging literacy and two of the four typi cally performing children also increased their score by one stanine. Other improvements in cluded, individual participants learning where to start to read a book, learning in wh at direction a book is read, improvement in the concept of left to right, and al l students improved in their knowledge and identification of letters. The results of this study suggest that the use of specific comments during joint book reading has a posi tive effect on children’s emerging literacy skills. Summary Reading is a very complex task that involves a series of skills a nd is a precursor to academic and personal success. Kaminski and Good (1998) described reading as culturally imperative in today’ s society; however, children especially low SES minority students are not proficient readers. Four poi nt five million black children in the fourth grade read below grade level as well as 3.3 million Hispanic children (Silliman, Bahr,

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40 Wilkinson, & Turner, 1999). Further, the Nation al Institute of Literacy has reported that one in six young children experi ence reading difficulties in grades one through three. Reading disabilities persist over time (Nationa l Institute of Literacy, 1997). Research has indicated that as much as 74 percent of children with ear ly reading disabilities have reading deficits at follow-up several years la ter (National Institute of Literacy, 1997). Thus, we know that that the long-term impli cations of low literacy levels among students are serious. There is a clear need for bot h basic and intervention research on the development of early literacy. Research is needed to empower the most influential individuals in children lives, parents and/or caregivers. President Bush has recognized the reading crisis of America and has intervened signing the No Child Left Behind Act. Readi ng Initiatives focusing on intervening early have been developed in an effort to imp rove achievement gaps between whites and minorities. It has been recognized that children who are exposed to a richer and linguistic environment earlier in life demons trate better literacy skills. Parents need to be made aware of th e potential impact of home literacy experiences to their child’s reading development. More advantaged children are entering school more equipped with the skills needed to become proficient readers (Smith & Dixon, 1995). Consequently, these students ha ve more successful school experiences resulting in better ca reer choices (Hanson & Siegel, 1998) Parents must be empowered to accept full responsibility for their children’s literacy development and to use skills and knowledge of teachers and others to make their responsibility concrete (Slaughter & Defoe, 2002). By enriching pare nts’ beliefs about literacy an d literacy interactions with

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41 their children, early literacy skills may be enhanced increasing children’s chances of academic success in school. This literature review has investigated a number of studies that have targeted parents as key interventionist in regards to exposing their children to literacy experiences (DeBaryshe, 1992; DeBaryshe, 1995; Bennet et.al., 2002). Through the family literacy environment parents have the opportunities to use literature to ente rtain, explain events, and extend enjoyment of stories as part of the daily routine. Several activities and experiences make up the home literacy e nvironment (e.g., having books that are easily accessible, having a space designated for readin g). Reading aloud has been identified as one of the most common forms of literacy exposure in the home (DeBaryshe, 1995). Hockenberger et.al. (1999) found that pa rents from lower SES backgrounds comment less during book reading and elicit less fee dback from their children. However, the researchers did not ensure that parents follo wed all the procedures, which may have had an effect on the validity of results of the study. More stud ies are needed to replicate similar findings. Purpose of This Study Further research regarding the effects of children’s early literacy experiences on their literacy development is needed. Past research has shown that when the home environment and SES are controlled, academic and cognitive score differences between Blacks, Hispanics and Whites disappear. Past research also examined a broad definition of the home environment or one specific com ponent (i.e., joint book reading). Further, it has been established that lower SES families engage in fewer family literacy practices. This study will attempt to build on past research but also provide data to potentially aid

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42 in the development of interventions th at may be carried out through home-school collaboration. Most studies have not utilized reading assessments that are correlated with the most current research on literacy. This st udy was more directly li nked to the research of the 5 Big Ideas of reading and incorporated assessments that are aligned with these 5 Big Ideas. This study specifically addressed the liter acy activities that are provided in the home and parental and caregiver’s beliefs a bout literacy. Importantly, these assessments are currently used in th e school system to make educational decisions. Finally, this research provided insight into parental belief patterns regarding literacy and the literacy expe riences provided in the home. This information may aid in educating parents about the importance of pr oviding literacy exposure in the home and in which specific activities to engage. This research also could help to further distinguish if literacy experiences in the home vary across SES and race.

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43 Chapter III Methodology Overview of Chapter This chapter describes the methods empl oyed in this study. Firs t the participants are described. Next, the methods of coll ecting data regarding the home literacy environment and early literacy skills of the participants are described. Additionally, the assessment tools used to examine the home literacy environment and early literacy skills are discussed, followed by an explanation of the analyses used to examine the data. Participants The participants in this study were 68 kindergarteners who attend two Title I elementary schools in a west Central Florid a school district, who participated in the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy (DIBELS) test ing sessions during the 20052006 school year and their parents. Informati on from the school dist rict’s ethnic report indicated that school size, ra cial composition, and socioecono mic status were comparable across schools. The racial composition of kindergarteners for School One was 34% Caucasian, 24% African American, 33% Hispan ic, and 9% are Asian or Multi-racial. School 2 had a racial compos ition of 5% Caucasian, 22% African American, and 72% Hispanic. According to the Florida School In dicators Report (2004), 82% of students at School One participated in the Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) program while 97% of students at School Two partic ipated in the FRL program. Per pupil expenditures at both schools during the 2004-2005 school year was $3,246. Further, at School One the

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44 percentage of students in grades K-5 abse nt 21 days or more was 9.4% during the 20012002 school year, and 6.3% at School 2. Demogr aphics for the kindergarten students at both School One and School Tw o are reported in Table 1. Table 1 Kindergarten Demographics for School One & School Two ___________________ Percentages_______________________________ School Males Females Caucasian African Am erican Hispanic Other Free & Reduced Lunch 1 58% 43% 34% 24% 33% 9% 82% 2 47% 53% 5% 22% 72% 1% 97% Demographic information for participants in this study is reported in Tables 1 & 2. The sample consisted of mostly Hisp anic students whose primary language was English, 34% of the surveys were returned in Spanish. In regards to socioeconomic status, the majority of the participan ts received free and reduced lunch.

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45 Table 2 Student demographics for total sample Child Variables N = 68 Percentages Gender Ethnicity Language Language of Survey Males 52.9% Females 47.1% Caucasian 18% African Americans 16% Hispanic 60.3% Other 5.9% English 69.1% Spanish 26.5% French 2.9% Other 1.5% English 66.2% Spanish 34% Presentation of Ethical Considerations Permission from the Institutional Review Bo ard at the University of South Florida was secured before the study was conducted. Permission to obtain the early literacy

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46 scores was obtained from the County District Office, the principals of both schools, as well as the parents of the participants. E ach student participan t and parent dyad was assigned a code number and data were re ported in such a way that identifying information was not revealed. Instruments Instruments for this study included th e Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Early Screeni ng Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K), and the Home Literacy Environment Survey. Measurement of early literacy skills. The early literacy skills of the students were assessed using DIBELS. The DIBELS are a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. The measures are designed to be short (e.g., one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. The DIBELS are design ed to be administered to students in kindergarten thr ough third grade. The DIBELS measures were specifically designed to assess Big Ideas of early lit eracy: Phonemic Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, Accuracy and Fluency, Voca bulary, and Comprehension. The DIBELS measures used in this study focus on Phone mic Awareness. In addition, the letter naming measure provides an indicator of risk. The DIBELS measur es consist of the following subtests: Initial Sound Fluency (ISF), Nons ense Word Fluency (NWF), Letter Naming Fluency (LNF), Phoneme Segmentation Fl uency (PSF), and Oral Reading Fluency. Kindergarten students are typica lly administered the ISF, NW F, LNF, and PSF subtests. Scores obtained on the DIBELS are compared to benchmarks indicating if a child is “at

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47 risk”, “some risk”, or “low risk” (Good, Wallin, Simmons, Kame’enui, & Kaminksi, 2002). Initial Sound Fluency is a standardized, individually administered measure of phonemic awareness. The measure focuses on the ability to rec ognize and produce the initial sound of words. The exam iner presents four pictures to the child. Then the child is asked to identify, orally or by pointing, the picture that begins with the sound produced orally by the examiner. The child is also as ked to orally produce the beginning sound of a word presented orally that ma tches one of the pictures give n. The score is determined by calculating the amount of time taken to id entify or produce the correct sound and converting the score into the number of correct initial sounds identified in a minute. The alternate-form reliab ility of the ISF measure is .72 in January of kindergarten. The concurrent criterion-related validity of ISF with PSF is. 48 in January of kindergarten and .36 with the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educatio nal Battery (WJPB) readiness cluster score. The predictive validity of ISF when co mpared to the spring of first grade reading on Curriculum Based Measure Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is .45 and when compared WJPB total reading cluster it is .36 (Good, et.a l., 2002). Although the re liability is low, repeating the measure has strong impacts. By repeating the assessment four times, the resulting average has a relia bility of .91 (Nunnally, 1978). Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) is a standard ized, individually administered test that provides an index of risk. Students ar e presented with both upper and lower-case letters in random order. The students are a llowed one minute to identify letter names. One month alternate-form re liability of LNF is .88 in kindergar ten. Median criterion-related validity of LNF with the Woodcock-Johns on Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised

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48 readiness cluster standard score is .70 in kindergarten. Predictive va lidity of kindergarten LNF with first-grade Woodcock-Johnson Ps ycho-Educational Batte ry-Revised reading cluster standard score was .65. Predictive valid ity of kindergarten LN F with first grade ORF was .71 (Good et.al., 2002). Hintze, Ryan, & Stoner (2002) conducted a field study to examine the concurrent validity of the DIBELS with another standardized measure of pre-reading skills, the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Pr ocessing (CTOPP). The CTOPP is normreferenced test with established reliabili ty and validity as a measure of phonological processing. The participants were 86 kindergar teners students who were administered the DIBELS and the CTOPP in the winter of th eir Kindergarten year. The students were administered LNF, ISF, and PSF. The results of the study indicated that these subtests of the DIBELS correlated with subtests and comp osite scores of the CTOPP. The LNF task had correlations ranging from .38-.59. ISF de monstrated correlations ranging from .21.52 and PSF correlations ranged from .08-.14. Th e ISF and PSF measures correlated with subtests and composite scores on the CTOPP that were designed to measure phonological awareness and memory, but were less correla ted with tasks that required students to rapidly name activities. Also, LNF correlated with subtests and composite scores on the CTOPP that represented phonological awarene ss and memory as well as rapid naming abilities. Good et.al., 2002 examined the decision rules for benchmark instructional recommendations in kindergarten through thir d grade. The decisions rules and cutoffs were established through the longitudinal predic tive information from participants in the DIBELS Data System. Low risk indicates that 80% or more of students are more likely to

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49 achieve subsequent or grade levels goals. At risk indicates that 20% or fewer of students are not likely to achieve subse quent goals. Some risk is the cutoff for approximately 50% of students where there is no clear predic tion of performance. The benchmarks for DIBELS measures in the fall of kindergarten are reported in Table 3 below. In Table 4, the percent of students with each DIBELS pattern who achieve subsequent scores are reported. For example, of the students who were low risk in ISF and at risk in LNF 26% meet subsequent goals in the middle of kinde rgarten in ISF. Further, in Table 4 the pattern percentile rank of each pattern is provi ded, the incidence column indicates that all patterns of performance are common in the beginning of kindergarten, and the instructional support recommendation column i ndicates the level of need for intervention (Good et.al., 2002). Table 3 Kindergarten DIBELS Benchmarks Measures Beginning of the year Initial Sounds Fluency Letter Naming Fluency ISF < 4 High Risk ISF < 4-8 Moderate Risk ISF > 8 Low Risk LNF < 2 High Risk LNF < 2-8 Moderate Risk ISF > 9 Low Risk

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50 Table 4 Percentage of Students in each Individua l Pattern of Performance on Beginning of Kindergarten DIBELS Benchmark Assessment Percent Meeting Later Goals Initial Letter Instructional Sound Naming Mid K End K Mid 1 End 1 Incidence Support Fluency Fluency Percentile ISF PSF NWF ORF Recommendations At Risk At Risk 3 9 44 24 34 Common Intensive Some Risk At Risk 9 13 48 27 31 Common Intensive At Risk Some Risk 13 13 53 32 44 Common Intensive Some Risk Some Risk 19 18 58 33 45 Common Strategic Low Risk At Risk 25 26 57 30 43 Common Strategic Low Risk Some Risk 33 35 68 43 56 Common Strategic At Risk Low Risk 42 23 59 50 74 Common Strategic Some Risk Low Risk 50 30 71 51 75 Common Strategic Low Risk Low Risk 76 62 83 69 87 Common Benchmark School Readiness Uniform Screening System The School Readiness Uniform Screening System is a screening instrument gi ven in the first 45 days of kindergarten to assess student’s readiness. A ll kindergarten students are asse ssed for school readiness with two instruments: The Early Screeni ng Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K) and the DIBELS. The ESI-K is a brief developmental screening instrument that is designed to screen children 4 years through 6 years. Th e ESI-K measures student development in three areas: Visual-Motor/Adaptive; Langua ge and Cognition; and Gross Motor. The Visual-Motor/Adaptive section uses block building, drawing tasks, and visual memory games to assess fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, short-term memory skills, and the ability to reproduce two-and three-dimens ional forms and structures. The Language & Cognition items focus on language comprehensions and verbal expressions, the ability to

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51 reason and count, and the ability to remember auditory sequences. Four tasks comprise this section: Number Con cept, Verbal Expression, Verbal Reasoning, and Auditory Sequential Memory. The Gross Motor sect ion is designed to assess the child’s developmental level in gross motor skills. These tasks include assessing the student’s ability to balance him or herself and to hop and skip. The ESI-K takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to administer (Florida Depa rtment of Education, 2004). Scores on the ESIK identify students are either “Ready”, “Getti ng Ready” or “Not Ready” for kindergarten. The benchmarks for the ESI-K ar e reported in Table 5 below. Inter-rater reliability for the ESI-K was obtained from 586 tester-observer pairs. The correlations were all above .97. Test-ret est reliability was conducted with 174 testretest pairs. The Cronbach reli ability coefficients for the te st-retest were .87. These data demonstrate that the ESI-K is a highly stab le and consistent scr eening tool. To obtain predictive validity, students who were admi nistered the ESI-K were also given the McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities (MCSA). A correlation coefficient of .73 (p<.001) was obtained by comparing the ESI-K total score with the General Cognitive Index of the MCSA (Meisels, Ma rsen, Wiske, & Henderson, 1997). Table 5 Benchmarks for the ESI-K __________Benchmarks__________ Age Range Not Ready Getting Ready Ready 4.5-4.11 9 or less 10-13 14 or more 5.0-5.5 13 or less 14-17 18 or more 5.6-5.11 15 or less 16-20 21 or more

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52 Home Literacy Environment Survey. Two previously existing surveys were modified and combined to be used in this study. The first of these surveys was the Stony Brook Reading Family Survey (Storch & White hurst, 2001). This survey consists of 52 multiple-choice questions that measure family variables on a four or five point scale. Eleven of the questions focus on the literacy environment in the home. This portion of the survey was used in this study for data coll ection. The literacy envi ronment portion of the survey consists of six variables that assess th ree key areas: shared re ading, availability of print materials, and the child’s motivation to read. Storch and Whitehurst (2001) used the literacy environment portion of the Stony Brook Reading Survey to examine the role of the family and home in the development of literacy in children from low-income backgrounds. The Bentler comparative fit index (CFI) was used to determine if there was an adequate fit of their model to the data from the sample of low-income children. The CFI is a measure of fit that ranges from 0 to 1. Values ar ound .9 are typically viewed as an acceptable fit between a model and data. A CFI of .928 was obtained in their study indicating an adequate fit of the author’s m odel to the data of low-income children. Prior administration of the survey showed that ma ny of the individual items correlated highly with language measures (Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell,1994). High correlations were found between the following items and childre n’s literacy skills: frequency of reading with child, age when reading with child be gan, number of picture books in the house, frequency of the child asking to be read to, and frequency of trips to the library. The second survey modified and comb ined with items from the Stony Brook Reading Family Survey was the Parent Surv ey of Home Literacy (Bennett, Weigel, & Martin, 2002). This survey is a questionnaire consisting of 65 questi ons investigating the

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53 frequency and quality of the l iteracy experiences in which pa rents are likely to interact with their preschoolers. No technical adequacy data were available for the Parent Survey of Home Literacy. Both surveys were combined and modifi ed to measure parent’s perceptions of their home literacy environment and parent’s beliefs about the importance of literacy (Appendix B). Repetitive and unrelated questions were deleted from the final survey and items were reworded for clarity and tone. Finally, items were grouped according to the following categories: demographics (items 14), home literacy environment (items 5-11), and parental beliefs about lite racy (items 12-14). Further, th e survey was translated into Spanish, to be administered to participan ts who primary language was Spanish. See Appendixes A and B for copies of the Eng lish and Spanish versions of the survey. Procedures Prior beginning data collection the resear cher obtained approval to conduct the study from the University of South Florida’ s Institutional Review Board. Permission to collect data from the par ticipating schools permission wa s obtained from the school district. School One and School Two were chos en because their demographics were most closely matched with the intended population for this study. The kindergarten teachers in the particip ating schools were instructed to send home with all kindergarten students a packet containing c onsent letters as well as the Home Literacy Survey. The teachers informed the researcher prior to sending the consent letters, which students needed the Spanish c onsent form and survey. The consent letters briefly described the purpose of the study and how to grant the rese archer permission to access their child’s early literacy scores from the school’s re ading coach. The packet also

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54 contained details on incentives for parents if they chose to particip ate in the study (see Appendix A for copy of consent letter). The t eachers also informed students that a reward would be given to the students who return th e forms, regardless of whether consent for participation was given. All students who retu rned consent forms, whether consent was granted or not, were allowed to select a reward. The reward consisted of a bag that contained a variety of candy. A deadline to turn in completed consent letters and surveys was set two weeks after the dist ribution of the forms. At the end of two-week deadline a follow up consent letter and survey was sent in the student’s daily bi nders as well as a reminder postcard to all parents who had not re turned signed or unsigned consent forms. The teachers were given a bin in which to pla ce completed forms. At the end of the four weeks the examiner collected the bins. Fu rther, two parents from each school, whom completed the permission form and survey we re randomly selected a nd sent a twenty-five dollar Wal-Mart gift certificate. Once the forms were collected, the DIBELS scores and home surveys were matched. Finally, the scores from the partic ipating schools fall admi nistration of the ESIK and DIBELS were obtained. DIBELS have be en adopted by the Florida Department of Education and are used in Reading First schools and the schools participating in this study. DIBELS are administered to all studen ts in kindergarten th rough third grade to identify at-risk students early and to evalua te the effectiveness of instruction. All students are assessed with DIBELS in the fall (September), twice in the winter (November and February), and once in the spri ng (April). The fall DIBELS data point was chosen for this study because it was most indicative of early lit eracy skills prior to kindergarten instruction.

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55 A total of 197 consent letter s and surveys were sent hom e to parents. Sixty-eight were returned indicating consent for participa tion, and overall return rate of 35%. School One had a return rate of 22.76%, while School Two had a return rate of 54.03%. Data Analysis The three research questions e xplored in this study were: 1) What is the relation between kinderga rten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Earl y Literacy scores (I nitial Sound Fluency) and their race (Caucasian, African-American, a nd Hispanic), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the Home Literacy Environment Survey? (2) What is the relation between kinderga rten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Earl y Literacy scores (Letter Name Fluency) and their race (Caucasian, African-American, a nd Hispanic), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment, and parental be liefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the Home Literacy Environment Survey? (3) What is the relation between kinderga rten students’ early literacy scores as measured by the ESI-K and their race (Cau casian, African-American, and Hispanic), parent perceptions of their home literacy e nvironment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the Home Literacy Environment Survey? This was a correlational study that utili zed a random sampling technique. The independent variables in this study were race, parents’ percep tions of the home environment, and parent’s beliefs about the importance of literacy. The dependent variables included the LNF and ISF DIBELS sc ores of students and the ESI-K portion of

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56 the SRUSS scores. Measures of central tendency, variability, distributions, and reliability are reported using the mean, median, standard deviation, skewness, kurtosis and internal consistency reliability indices for each i ndependent and dependent measure. A multiple regression analysis was conducted using each in dependent variable as predictors of the dependent variables. Further, an evaluation of the assumptions associated with regression analyses was conducted.

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57 Chapter IV Results This chapter provides a description of the results of statistical analyses used to address the three research questions in this study. First, a power anal ysis and the internal consistency of measures are reported. Next, a summary of the descriptive statistics is reported including the mean, standard deviat ion, range, skewness, and kurtosis for the Home Literacy Environment Survey, and the ESI-K and DIBELS. Further, a correlation matrix that shows the relationship between each of the independent and dependent variables is reported. Finally the results of the multiple regression analysis and an evaluation of the assumptions associated with regression analysis are reported. Preliminary Analyses Power analysis. A statistical power analysis was conducted to determine the number of participants required for statis tical power in the study using NCSS Power and Analysis Sample Size 2002 software. Results of the power analysis indicate that the sample size required for statis tical power of .05 is 52. The sa mple size for the current study is 68, indicating that the power is considered adequate for the study. Internal consistency of the measures. To gain a measure of internal consistency for each instrument, Cronbach’s alpha was calcu lated for the Home Literacy and Parental belief portion of the Home Literacy Envir onment Survey. Relatively strong internal consistency exists within the Home Liter acy portion (.80) while the Parental Beliefs about Reading portion was slig htly lower (.73). Nunnally (1978) suggested that a

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58 reliability coefficient should be .70 or above ; therefore, both indices observed represent acceptable internal consistency. There was m oderate variability in both the parent measures. The possible range for the Home Literacy Environment was 20-80; the observed range was 38-67. The possible range for the Parental Beliefs about Literacy was 14-28; the observed range was 16-28. These data indicate that parent participants did not rate either one of the measur es particularly high or low. Descriptive Statistics The information obtained to address the three research questions was provided by obtaining early literacy scores and home literacy environment surveys from kindergarten students at two elementary schools in a we st Florida School District. A total of 68 surveys were collected and utilized for this study. The descriptive statistics including the mean, standard deviation, range, skewness, and kurtosis for the Home Literacy Environment Survey are reported in Table 6. Both indexes had negative skewness, which indicates that scores on these measures were closer to the higher end of the scale. Therefore, most parents in this sample reported high home literacy environments and high beliefs about reading. A negative kurtosis in dicates a flat distribution. Both indexes had flat distributions, which viol ates the assumption of normality. The descriptive statistics including the mean, standard deviation, range, skewness, and kurtosis for the measures of early literacy (ESI-K, LNF, & ISF) are reported in Table 7. Both the ESI-K and the ISF had negativ e skewness indicating the scores on these measures fell closer to the higher end. LNF’ s skewness was positive therefore, the scores on this measure fell at the lower end, indica ting the participants ha d the most difficulty

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59 with this measure. All of the early literacy measures’ kurtosis was negative, indicating a flat distribution and violating the assumption of normality. Table 6 Descriptive Statistics for the Home Literacy Environment Survey N= 68 M SD Range Skewness Kurtosis Home Literacy Parental Beliefs about Reading 55.66 22.96 6.63 3.01 29 12.00 -.351 -.352 -.497 -.574 Note The scores for the Home Literacy portion of th e Home Literacy Environment ranged from 38-67. Scores on the Parental Beliefs about Literacy ranged from 17-28. Low scores on both portions represented a low home literacy environment and low parental belie fs about literacy, while high scores represented a high home literacy environment and high beliefs parental beliefs about literacy. Table 7 Descriptive Statistics for the Early Literacy Measures N= 68 M SD Range Skewness Kurtosis ESI-K Classification Letter Naming Fluency Initial Sound Fluency 2.75 2.15 2.16 .437 .815 .803 1.00 2.00 2.00 -1.18 .280 -.305 -6.25 -1.14 -1.38 Note Scores less than 13 on the ESI-K are “not read y”, 14-17 “getting ready”, 18 or higher “ready”. Scores less than 2 one LNF are “high risk”, 2-8 “moderate risk”, and 9 or higher is “low risk”. Scores less than 4 on ISF are “high risk”, 4-8 “moderate risk”, and 8 or higher “low risk”. Scores on the ESI-K identify students ar e either “Ready”, “Getting Ready” or “Not Ready” for kindergarten. Table 8 reports the percentages of children in each classification of the ESI-K by child variab les. Scores on the DIBELS (LNF & ISF) identify students as either “Low Risk”, “M oderate Risk”, or “High Risk”. Table 9 shows the percentages of children in each classification of the DI BELS by child variables. In

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60 comparing these categories, not ready on the ESI-K might be considered to be comparable to high risk on the DIBELS. Table 8 Percentages of Children in each ESI-K Category by Child Variables Not Ready Getting Ready Ready Total Sample N = 68 Gender Male (n=36) Females(n=32) Race A. American (n=11) Caucasian (n=14) Hispanic (n=41) Other (n=2) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 25 30.6 81.3 9.1 25.0 26.8 50.0 75 69.4 18.8 90.9 75.0 73.2 50.0

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61 Table 9 Percentages of Children in each DIBELS Category by Child Variables High Risk Moderate Risk Low Risk Letter Naming Fluency Total Sample N = 68 Gender Male (n=36) Females(n=32) Race A. American (n=11) Caucasian (n=14) Hispanic (n=41) Other (n=2) 26.5 33.3 18.8 9.1 16.7 34.1 25.0 32.4 27.8 37.5 36.4 33.3 29.3 50.0 41.2 38.9 43.8 54.5 50.0 36.6 25.0 High Risk Moderate Risk Low Risk Initial Sound Fluency Total Sample N = 68 Gender Males (n=36) Females (n=32) Race A. American (n=11) Caucasians (n=14) Hispanics (n=42) Other (n=2) 26.5 33.3 18.8 9.1 16.7 00.0 00.0 32.4 27.8 37.5 36.4 9090 99.0 00.0 41.2 38.9 43.8 54.5 00.0 90.0 00.0

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62 Children’s Classification on the Early Literacy Measures The percentages of students per classifications on the early literacy measures in School 1 and 2 of the sample, school district and the state of Fl orida are reported in Table 10. In regards to the ESI-K, 66% of students in School 1 of the sample were considered ready for kindergarten, 70% of Sc hool 2 of the sample, compared to 82% of the students in the district and 75% of st udents in the state of Florida. The DIBELS measures indicated an even stronger discrepa ncy of early literacy skills. Thirty-seven percent of students in School 1 and School 2 of the sample were considered high risk, compared to 18% of the district, and 25.5% of students in the state of Florida. Table 10 Percentages of Students per Classifica tions on the Early Literacy Measures ESI-K DIBELS LNF DIBELS ISF School 1-total population School 2-total population District total population/state of Florida Sample Ready-66% Getting Ready-25% Not Ready-9% Ready-70% Getting Ready-25% Not Ready5% Ready-82% Getting Ready-13% Not Ready-5% Ready-75% Getting Ready-25% Not Ready-0% Low Risk-35% Mod. Risk-37% High Risk-37% Low Risk 33% Mod. Risk-30% High Risk37% Low Risk-63% Mod. Risk-20% High Risk-18% Low Risk-41.2% Mod. Risk-32.4% High Risk-25.5% Low Risk-57% Mod. Risk-17% High Risk-26% Low Risk-32% Mod. Risk-37% High Risk-30% Low Risk-61% Mod. Risk-20% High Risk-20% Low Risk-28% Mod. Risk-23% High Risk-25%

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63 Multiple Regression Analysis Multiple regression analyses are based on several assumptions. The data were screened and an assessment of each assump tion was made. The first assumption is that there is a large enough sample size. Stevens (1999) recommends that for social science research, approximately fifteen participants per predictor vari able be used. In this study there were three predictor variables (race, home literacy environment, and parental beliefs). The variable race included Cau casians, African Americans, Hispanics and Mixed/Other. Within the sample for this st udy the total of African Americans (N = 11), Caucasians (N = 14), and Mixed/Other (N= 2) were less than fifteen per category; therefore, violating this assumption. As a re sult, the variable race was dropped from the regression analyses in order to have an ade quate sample size. Next, multicollinearity and singularity were assessed. Multi collinearity occurs when th e independent variables are highly correlated at .9 or above (Palla nt, 2001). To assess for multicollinearity, intercorrelations were examined between the predictor variables. These correlations are reported in Tables 11, 12, and 13. No correlati ons of above .9 were observed; therefore, this assumption did not appear to be vi olated. Singularity is present when one independent variable is a combination of a ny other independent vari able (Pallant, 2001). None of the independent vari ables in this study were a co mbination of each other; therefore, this assumption did not appear to be violated. Scatterplots depicted a linear relations hip between variables and nothing in the design of the study was believed to questi on the independence of the residuals. To examine the homoscedasticity assumptions, the residuals were plotted with the predicted

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64 values. This assumption did not appear to be violated and residuals were found to be approximately normally distributed. Outliers were examined using standardized residuals. Outliers are cases that have standardized residuals of more than 3.3 or less than -3.3 (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1996). None of the standardized re siduals were more than 3.3 or less than -3.3. Thus, it is believed that none of the cases had an undo in fluence on the regression analysis. Internal consistency measures for parents’ percep tion of home literacy was .80 and parental beliefs about literacy was .73, indicating that measurement error was small. Further, the predictors are not fixed, but regression is robust to viola tions. Overall, based on the screening of the data it appeared appropriate to proceed with the regression analysis and examine its results as valid. Table 11 Intercorrelations for In itial Sound Fluency and Predictor Variables (N= 68) Variables 1 2 Initial Sound Fluency Predictor Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions about their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Impor tance of Literacy .344** ---.096 .301** -*p < .05 **p < .01

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65 Table 12 Intercorrelations for Letter Naming Fl uency and Predictor Variables (N= 68) Variables 1 2 Letter Naming Fluency Predictor Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions about their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Impor tance of Literacy .183 ---.057 .301** -*p < .05 **p < .01 Table 13 Intercorrelations for ESI-K and Predictor Variables Variables 1 2 ESI-K Predictor Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions about their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Impor tance of Literacy -.004 --.149 .301** -*p < .05 **p < .01 The research questions were developed to examine the relationship between the independent variables, parents’ perceptions about the home litera cy environment and parental beliefs about literacy with the de pendent variables ISF, LNF, and ESI-K early literacy scores. To analyze this relations hip, intercorrelations were examined and a multiple regression was conducted, using SPSS. Multiple regressions predict the amount of variance accounted for in one variable by a set of predic tors (Stevens, 1999). Correlation procedures were us ed prior to conducting the multiple regression analysis to determine how and to what degree th e predictor variables were related.

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66 The results of the multiple regression analysis that addressed the first research question are reported in Table 14: What is the relation be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynami c Indicators of Basic Early Literacy scores (Initial Sound Fluency), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment and parental beliefs about the importance of lite racy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Environment Survey? In this tabl e the first column lists the independent predictor variables. The next columns report the unstandardized coefficients (B), the standard error of B, the betas, and the signi ficance levels. The regression coefficient for parents’ perceptions of their home literacy en vironment is significant in predicting ISF scores (t(68) = 3.445, p < .001. However, the re gression coefficient for parental beliefs about reading was not signifi cant in predicting ISF scores (t(68) = -1.8415, p = .070. The obtained R2 value for ISF was .162, suggesting about 16% of the variance in early literacy skills as measured by ISF was accounted by th e set of predictors. Using Cohen’s (1992) rough guidelines for effect sizes (.02 small, .14 medium, .35 large), .162 appears to be a moderate effect size. Table 14 Multiple Regression Summary for Variables Predicting Initial Sound Fluency Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions of their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Importa nce of Literacy B .050 -.058 SEB .014 .032 .410** -.219 Note R = .162 (N = 68, p < .001). *p < .05. **p < .01.

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67 The results of the multiple regression an alysis that addressed the second research question are reported in Table 15: What is the relation be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynami c Indicators of Basic Early Literacy scores (Letter Naming Fluency), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment and parental beliefs about the importance of lite racy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Environment Survey? In this tabl e, the first column lists the independent predictor variables. The next columns report the unstandardized coefficients (B), the standard error of B, the betas, and the signi ficance levels. The regression coefficient for both parents’ perception of their home litera cy environment and parental beliefs about reading were not significant in predicti ng LNF scores (t(68) = 1.429, p = .158, t(68) = .019, p= .985, respectively). The obtained R2 value for LNF was .034, suggesting about only 3.4% of the variance in early literacy skills as measured by LNF was accounted for by the set of predictors, with .034 indicating a small effect size. Table 15 Multiple Regression Summary for Variabl es Predicting Letter Naming Fluency Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions of their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Importa nce of Literacy B .022 .001 SEB .016 .035 .183 .002 Note R = .034 (N = 68, p < .001). *p < .05. **p < .01. The results of the multiple regression analysis that addressed the third research question are reported in Table 16: What is the relation be tween kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Earl y Screening InventoryKindergarten (ESI-K),

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68 parent perceptions of their home literacy environment and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy as measured by the modified Home Literacy Environment Survey? In this table, the first column lists the independent predictor variables. The next columns report the unstandardized coefficients (B), th e standard error of B, the betas, and the significance levels. The regression coefficient for both parents’ perception of their home literacy environment and parental beliefs about reading were not significant in predicting ESI-K scores (t(68) = -.361, p = .719, t(68) = 1.101, p= .275, respectively). The obtained R2 value for ESI-K was .018, suggesting about only 2% of the variance in early literacy skills as measured by the ESI-K was accounted for by the set of predictors, with .018 indicating a small effect size. Table 16 Multiple Regression Summary for Variables Predicting ESI-K Variables 1. Parents’ Perceptions of their Home Literacy 2. Parental Beliefs about Importa nce of Literacy B -.003 .001 SEB .008 .035 -.047 .002 Note R = .018 (N = 68, p < .001). *p < .05 **p < .01 The results of the multiple regression anal yses indicate that parents’ perception of their home literacy environment is the stronge st predictor of earl y literacy skills as measured by ISF. Betas with a positive sign in front of them describe a positive prediction and those with a negative sign describe a negative prediction. A positive prediction means that if one score goes up th e other score will go up, or as one score goes down the other will go down. Parents perceptio ns of their home literacy environment had

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69 a positive beta ( = .410, p < .001) which mean s the higher parents perceptions of their home literacy environment the higher their children scored on the ISF. The variable parental beliefs about literacy was a weak predictor of early literacy on all measures. This variable did not significantly predict the level of early literacy that the participants obtained on DIBELS or the ESI-K.

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70 Chapter V Discussion This study was conducted to examine the relationship between parents’ perceptions about their home literacy envir onment, parents’ beliefs about literacy, and their children’s early literacy scores as measured by DIBELS (LNF & ISF), and Early Screening Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K). The research sample consisted of 68 kindergarten students who were assessed by bot h the DIBELS and ESI-K in the first 45 days kindergarten, and their parents. This ch apter discusses the results of this study and how they connect to previous research, im plications for practice, limitations and directions for future research. Regression Findings Research question one examined the re lationship among kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynami c Indicators of Basic Early Literacy scores (Initial Sound Fluency), parent s’ perceptions of their hom e literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of liter acy. It is important to note that race was dropped as independent variable due to lack of variability across races. The Home Literacy Environment index was a significant pr edictor of children’s early literacy scores as measured by DIBELS-ISF and accounted for 16% of the total variance. Additionally, the Home Literacy Environment had a significant positive relationship with ISF early

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71 literacy. These results suggest that the more parents perceived their home environment to be conducive to promoting literacy, the higher th eir student’s early literacy scores were on the ISF. These results are consistent with past research in which strong home literacy environments have been found to be significan tly related to various other measures of early literacy (Bennet et. al., 2002; Britto & Gunn, 2001; Hockenbecker et. al., 1999). For example, Bennet et.al. (2002) found that preschool children whose families had a strong literacy environment (i.e., large number of books in the home, learning opportunities) had stronger book-related knowledge and receptive and expressive language skills. Similarly, Britto & Gunn (2001) found that the home lite racy environment accounted for a large percent of the variance in child ren’s school readiness. Since the results of this study are consistent with past research, a more reliab le relationship can be supported between early literacy and the home environment. Research question two examined the rela tionship between kind ergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by Dynami c Indicators of Basic Early Literacy scores (Letter Name Fluency), parent perceptions of their home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of liter acy. None of the independent variables were significant predictors of children’s early lit eracy scores as measured by DIBELS-LNF. These results were inconsistent with the pa st research, which found that the home literacy environment and parents beliefs about literacy were strong predictors of early literacy (Bennet, et. al., 2002; Britto & Gunn, 2001; DeBaryshe, 1992; DeBaryshe, 1995). For example, DeBaryshe (1995) found that children that were provided with frequent and more stimulating reading experiences had bett er language skills. Fu rther, these results were inconsistent with the results of re search question one in this study, where a

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72 significant relationship was found between th e home literacy environment and DIBELS ISF scores. Inconsistencies in the research ma y be due to the different measures of early literacy used in this study and past re search. DIBELS ISF is measure of phonemic awareness, while DIBELS LNF is measure of identification of letters. While both are components of early literacy, children may ha ve different skill levels in each area. Further, these results may indicate parents may provide students w ith exposure to the alphabet letters, but not the s ounds. Moreover, DIBELS LNF is a better predictor of early literacy than DIBELS ISF. The results of this study indicated that LNF was a more difficult task for the participants than ISF. These could be explaine d by the differences in the task. LNF is more of a visu al task where students must id entify letters of the alphabet. ISF is an auditory task wher e students identify initial sound of words given orally to them by the examiner. Lastly, the shapes of the distributions of both LNF and ISF were not comparable to a normal distribution which ma y have impacted the results. These findings indicate that more research is needed in this area, specifically in re gards to measures of early literacy (Good et.al., 2002). Research question three examined the relation between kindergarten students’ early literacy scores as measured by the ES I-K, parent perceptions of their home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about the importance of literacy. None of the independent variables were sign ificant predictors of early literacy as measured by the ESI-K. As stated earlier, these findings are not consistent with past research as well as the present study, which indicate that the home lite racy environment is a predictor of school readiness (Bennet et. al., 2002; Britto & G unn, 2001; Hockenbecker et. al., 1999). While past research shows a trend of the home e nvironment impacting early readiness skills,

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73 early literacy is assessed by different measures and variables. For example, Bennet et.al. (2002) assessed early literacy skills using f our literacy and langua ge outcomes: children’s book knowledge, writing skills, re ceptive language skills, and expressive language skills. Also, Britto & Gunn (2001) only assessed childr en’s expressive language. In the present study, the ESI-K was used. The ESI-K is a m easure of school readiness which assesses visual motor skills, language and cognition, as well as gross motor skills. The DIBELS measures were specifically designed to assess the Big Ideas of early literacy. While each of the studies assesses a component of early literacy or readiness skills, differences in measures or definitions of early literacy may cause differing results. For example, students may have more developed gross motor skills (ESI-K) versus phonemic awareness. The findings of this study sugge st that more research regarding specific components of early literacy that are impacted by home lite racy environment is needed. Home Literacy Environment As a single variable, pare nts’ perceptions about their home literacy environment explained 16% of the variance in their childre n’s early literacy scor es as measured by the DIBELS ISF scores. This finding was most cons istent with past research and indicates that interventions geared to the home environment prior to kindergarten could improve student’s literacy skills prior to formal instruction in kindergarten. Parents should be educated about the impact of literacy practices prior to school and the role these practices play in equipping children with the prerequi site skills to be su ccessful readers. For example, pre-schools and other community agen cies could offer trainings for parents. These findings also indicate that interventi ons that show parents how to teach specific phonemic awareness skills would be beneficial.

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74 With the home literacy environment acc ounting for only 16% of the variance in ISF scores in this study, several other fact ors may account for the remaining variance. Evidence indicates that indivi dual children, whether or not fa ced with adverse conditions may be at risk for reading difficulties. For example, children who have parents with histories of reading difficulty are at a higher risk for readi ng problems. Also children who have been diagnosed with an early language impairment, hearing impairment, and/or medical diagnosis may lack age-appropriate ski lls in literacy-related processes. Further, the exposure of knowledge and skills pertai ning to literacy in preschool may impact reading skills Snow, Burns, & Griffin 1998). Additionally, reading al oud to children has a strong impact on early literacy skills (DeBaryshe, 1992). Research indicates that 46% of children from low SES backgrounds are read to daily compared to 61% of children from middle to high SES backgrounds (Washington, 2001). Similarly, the present study indicated that only half of the parents (52%) from the low SES sample reported that th ey read to their children often. These data indicate the importance of in terventions geared toward e ducating and motivating parents about the positive effects of reading with their children. Research also indicates that commenting during reading aloud with children has positive effects (DeBaryshe, 1995). Further, Hock enberger et.al. (1999) investigated the effects of teaching low SES mothers to comment during reading aloud. Their results showed an increase in children’s literacy scores. These data demonstrate that interventions teaching parents how to implement “commenting” effectively in the home might be helpful. In the current study, how ever, only 30 % of the parents indicated that

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75 when reading with their kindergarten child th ey stop reading and point out pictures that tell about the story. Parental Beliefs about Literacy Although in this study parental beliefs about literacy was not a significant predictor of early literacy across all measures past research has shown that parents from low SES populations who have more facilita tive beliefs about literacy provide their children with more stimulating and frequent reading experiences (DeBaryshe, 1992). In this study only 21% of the parents indicated th ey love to read. Furt her, only 41% of the parents indicated that they read between sixteen to thirty minutes a day. These data indicate that research on programs to help motivate parents about reading may aid in improving the home literacy environment. Race Although the predictor variable race was dr opped from the study the racial makeup of the sample in this study may have had an impact on the results. Approximately 60% of the total sample was Hispanic. Also, 34% of the sample returned surveys in Spanish, indicating that Spanish was the dominant la nguage spoken in the home. Research has shown that lack of oral English proficiency has an impact on students’ academic abilities. For example, Reese, Garnier, Gallimore, and Goldenberg (2000), found among students entering kindergarten speaking Spanish, those with greater emergent Spanish literacy development and oral English proficiency were better able to transition more quickly to English reading, and attain a higher level of English r eading proficiency in middle school.

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76 Further, the Hispanic population in th is study consisted of a large portion of migrant students. Migrant students, who transf er from school district to school district, within or between states due to parent’s seasonal employment, ar e the most "at risk" group for academic difficulties. With research indicating that early literacy experiences support literacy development and English reading acquisition, regardless of language; students who have lack of exposure to enri ching environments, inconsistent schooling, and limited English proficiency are at a greater disadvantage for reading difficulties (Reese, Garnier, Gallimore, and Goldenberg, 2000). Limitations Several limitations may have had a possibl e impact on the results of this study. A possible threat to the internal validity of th is study was the use of self-report to assess parents’ perceptions of their home literacy environment as well as their beliefs about literacy. Respondents may have responded to th e home literacy environment survey in a socially desirable manner, which may have lead the parents to respond in such a way that the data represent an inflated view of thei r home literacy practices. An additional possible threat to the internal validity of this study was the sole use of the modified Home Literacy Environment Survey to measure both the variables home literacy environment, and parental beliefs about literacy. As seen with in the review of the literature, there are several measures of the home literacy environment which include observational and qualititative measures. Observational measur es of the home literacy environment may yield more valid results versus self-report. Fina lly, the slightly low internal consistency of the Parent’s Beliefs about Reading measur e may also be considered a limitation. The scale used in this study was a brief modified version of several diffe rent surveys used to

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77 measures parent’s beliefs about reading. Results showed that the responses had considerable restriction of range, which may account for the slightly low internal consistency. A threat to external validity of this study is th e ability to generalize the findings to other public schools. The sample was only taken from one county in the state of Florida; therefore, the sample is likely not represen tative of all public schools. The ability to replicate the location and the racial composition of both school s in this study may pose a threat to ecological validity. A nother threat to the external va lidity is sample bias. Even though the schools were chosen to be ethnically diverse and represen tative of low SES minorities, only the students who return a consent form were selected as participants. Thus, the sample may be unequally represented and not reflect the intended design of the study. Another potential limitation of the study is sample size. A larger sample likely would have produced more variability in the measures and increased the statistical power of the study. Also, with a larger sample size the race variable may have had more variability and would not have been dropped from the study. Finally, the non-normality of the early liter acy measures could have impacted the results, particularly the ESI-K. Skewness is the shape of a distribution. Negative skewness indicates scores falling closer to the higher end and positive skewness indicates scores falling closer to the lower end. Skewness should be with in the +2 to -2 range when the data are normally distributed. The ESI-K skewness of -1.18 indicates non-normality in the distribution. With a large sample size violations of normality will not affect the significance tests. However, due to the low sa mple size in this study and the skewness of

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78 the early literacy measures, results may have been impacted. Further, kurtosis is the peakedness of a distribution. A negative kurto sis indicates a flat distribution, while a positive kurtosis indicates a tall di stribution. Kurtosis also should be within the +2 to -2 range when the data are normally distributed. The kurtosis levels for ISF and LNF were 1.38 and -1.14, respectively which was in the +2 to -2 range. However, the kurtosis level for the ESI-K was -6.25, indicating the data wa s not normally distributed, which also may have impacted the significance of the re sults (Hutcheson, Graeme, & Nick Sofroniou, 1999). Delimitations There were several delimitations of this study. The study was restricted to two schools in one school district. The sample was selected because it wa s representative of the intended population (i.e. low SES, minoritie s). Further, the study was restricted to only the first SRUSS administrati on in the 2005-2006 school year. Directions for Future Research Due to the limitations of this study, se veral recommendations are suggested for future research. As stated earlier, in regard s to the limitations invol ved in using a selfreport measure, future studies should use qual itative as well as quantitative methods to gain comprehensive ratings of the home literacy environment of families. Observations and interviews may measure the home literacy environment and parent’s beliefs about reading more directly. Another recommendation for future resear ch would be to use a larger, more representative sample of students. The sample used for this study can only be generalized to the participating counties. Additionally, the sample was restricted to only those

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79 students who returned a consen t form within the amount of time allotted. Different methods of obtaining consent forms may be effe ctive in a high return rate. For example, asking for consent at kindergart en registration versus sending the forms home. Further, if the sample size were expanded to include st udents from low, middle, high SES, urban, suburban, and rural counties comparisons can be made and the results would be a better indicator of differences amongst SES, demographic areas, as well as race. Further research regarding the different c onstructs of early literacy is suggested. Previous studies have found a strong rela tionship among low SES families’ literacy environment and children’s early literacy and school readines s skills. This study utilized the most current measures of ear ly literacy, which are used in the school system to assist with educational planning. The results of this study indicated that home literacy environment was a predictor of early liter acy skills measured by DIBELS-ISF but not with DIBELS-LNF. Replication of the findings of this study may lead to interventions targeting the specific type of pre literacy skills that parents can implement. Finally, future research regarding differe nt measures of parents’ beliefs about reading and its impact on student’s early literacy skills is recommended. The results of this study indicated that parent s’ beliefs about reading as measured by the Home Literacy Environment Survey were not a predictor of a ny of the measures of early literacy. This finding is not consistent with past research, which indicated that parents’ beliefs about reading were one of the strongest predicto r of reading (DeBaryshe, 1992). The results found in this study could be due to the use of self-report as a measure of parental beliefs about literacy on the inconsistency in measures of early literacy.

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80 Conclusions This study was conducted to examine the relationship between variables the home literacy environment, parents’ beliefs about reading, race, and kindergarten student’s early literacy skills, as measured by the DIBELS (ISF, LNF), and ESI-K. The findings indicated that the home literacy environment was the only predictor of early literacy skills as measured by DIBELS-LNF. Due to the increasing emphasis the government and school districts are placing on ear ly literacy, these re sults are important for the future of education. Government programs that promot e early literacy s hould target the home environment when designing research-based in terventions. Further, the results indicate the need for more collaboration between pedi atricians, preschools, and other agencies that have contact with parent s in communicating to parents the importance of their role in developing and nurturing their children’s school readiness skills.

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81 References Abt Associates Inc. (1991), Child’s Emergent Literacy Task, Retrieved October 3, 2003, from, http://www.abtassociates.com/ Adams, M.J. (1990). Beginning to Read. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Anderson, J.; and others (1992) Poverty and Achievement: Re-examining the Relationship between School Poverty and St udent Achievement: An Examination of Eighth Grade Student Achievement Usi ng the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988. (Eric Reproduction Service No. ED 346 207) Baker, L., Sonneschein, R.S., Ferna ndez-Fein, S., & Scher, D. (1994). National Reading Report. (Rep. No. 24) University of Maryla nd Baltimore County, Department of Psychology, National Reading Research Center. Butler, K., Silliman, E. (2002). Speaking, readin g, and writing in children with language Learning disabilities. In E.R. Silliman., R.H. Bahr., L.C. Wilkinson., & C.R. Turner, Language Variation and Struggling Readers: Finding Patterns in Diversity (pp.109148). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum Bennett, K.K., Weigel, D.J., & Martin, S.S. (2002). Children’s Acquisition of Early Literacy Skills: Examining family contributions. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 17, 295-317. Britto, P., & Brooks, J. (2001). Beyond Shared Book Reading: Dimensions of Home Literacy and Low-Income Af rican American Preschoolers’ Skills. New Direction For Child And Adolescent Development, 92, 73-89. Crane, Jonathan. (1996). Effects of Home Envi ronment, SES, and Maternal Test Scores, on Mathematics Achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 89, 305-314. DeBaryshe, B. (1992). Early Language and Literacy Activities in the Home U.S. Department of Education Field Initiated Studies Program. Final Report for the Project. (University of North Carolin a). Greensboro, NC: Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies. DeBaryshe B. (1995). Maternal Belief Systems: Linchpin in the Home Reading Process. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16, 1-18.

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82 Dickinson, D., McCabe, A., (2001) Bringing It All Together: Th e Multiple Origins, Skills, and Environmental Supports of Early Literacy. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 4, 186-202. Duncan, G.J., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Klebanov, P.K. (1994). Economic deprivation and early childhood. Child Development, 65, 296-318. Fazio, B., Naremore, R., & Connel, P. (1996) Tr acking children from po verty at risk for Specific language impairme nt: A 3-year longitudinal study. Journal of Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 39, 611-24. Florida Department of Edu cation, (2004), School Readiness Uniform Screening System Administrative Manual, Retrieved May 31, 2005 from http://www.firn.edu/doe/sas/srus/pdf/srussmanual-04.pdf Good, R.H., Wallin, J. U., Simmons, D.C., Ka meenui, E.J., & Kaminski, R.A., (2002). System-wide Percentile Ranks for DIBELS Benchmark Assessment (Technical Report No. 9). Eugene, OR: University of Oregon. Good, R.H., Kaminski, R.A., Smith, S., Simmons D.S., Kameenui, E.J., & Wallin, J. (In press). Reviewing outcomes: Using DIB EL s to evaluate a schools core curriculum and system of additional intervention in kindergarten. In S.R. Vaughn & K.L. Briggs (Eds.). Reading in the classroom: Systems for observing teaching and learning. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes. Green, C., Lilly., E., Barrett, T. (2002) Families Reading Together: Connecting Literature and Life. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 16, 248-260. Hart & Risley. (1995). Meaningful Differences in the E veryday Experience of Young American Children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes. Hanson, R. & Siegel, D.F. (1991). The Long-Term Effects on High School Seniors of Learning to Read in Kinde rgarten: A Twelve-Year Follow-up Study (Eric Reproduction Service No. ED 323 494) Hearn, B., (1992). Literacy and reading development: A review of theories and Approaches. Early Child Development and Care 86, 131-146. Hintze, J.M., Ryan, A.L., & Stoner, G. Concurrent Validity and Diagnostic Accuracy of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills and the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts. Hockenberger, Goldstein, Hass, (1999). Effects of Commenting During Joint Book Reading by Mothers with Low SES. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 19, 15-27.

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83 Hutcheson, Graeme, A. Sofroniou (1999). The multivar iate social scientist: Introductory statistics using generalized linear models Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Kaminski, R., & Good, R.H. (1998). Use of curriculum-based measurement to assess early literacy: Dynamic indicators of basi c early literacy skills. In M. Shinn (Eds.), Advances in curriculum-based measurement and its use in a probl em-solving model. Guilford Press. Kirsch, I.S., Jungleblat, A., Jenkins, L., Kolstad, A. (1993). Adult literacy in America: A first look at the results of the National Adult Literacy Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Educational St atistics, U.S. Department of Education. Krasner, Diane. (1992). Risk and Protective Factors and Achi evement of Children at Risk. Los Angeles, CA: Graduate School of Education, University of California. Landau S, Everitt, BS. (2003) A Handbook of Statistical Analyses Using SPSS. CRC Press, Langenberg, D.N., Correro, G., Ehri, L., Fergus on, G., Garza, N., Kamil, M.l., Marrett, C.B., Samuels, S.J., Shanahan, T., Shay witz, S.E., Trabasso, T., Williams, J., Willows, D., & Yatvin, J., (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implic ations for reading instruction. Report of the National Reading Panel [On-line]. Available: http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/Documents/ Lonigan, C., Whitehurst, G. (1998). Relative Effi cacy of Parent and Teacher Involvement in a Shared-Reading Intervention for Preschool Children from Low-Income Backgrounds. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 13, 263-290. Meisels, S.J., Marsden, D.B., Wi ske, M.S. Henderson, L.W. (1997). The Early Screening Inventory-Revised. Ann Arbor, MI: Rebus, Inc. National Dissemination Center for Children w ith Disabilities, Lear ning Disabilities. (2004). Retrieved November 5, 2004, from http://www.nichcy.org/pubs/factshe/fs7txt.htm National Institute for Literacy, (1997), Fa mily Environment and Family Literacy, Retrieved November 15, 2003, from http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/facts/family.html Okpala, C, O., Okpala, A.O., & Smith, F.E. (2001). Parental Involvement, Instructional Expenditures, Family Socioeconomi c Attributes, and Students Achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 95, 110-115. Onwuegbuzie, A.J., & Daniel, F. (2004). Relia bility generalization: The importance of considering sample specificity, c onfidence intervals, and subgroup differences. Research in the Schools, 11, 61-72.

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84 Payne, A.C., Whitehurst, G.J., & Angell A.L. (1994). The role of home literacy environment in the development of langua ge ability in preschool children from lowincome families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 9, 427-440. Reese, L., Garnier, H., Gallimore, R., Gold enberg, C., (2000). Longitudinal Analysis of the Antecedents of Emergent Spanis h Literacy and Middle-School English Reading Achievement of Spanish-Speaking Students. American Educational Research Journal, 37, 633-662. Senechal, M., LeFevre, J., Hudson, E., La wson. (1996). Knowledge of Storybooks as a Predictor of young children’s vocabulary. Journal of Educational Psychology, 88, 520-536. Siegel, D.F. (1987). Identification and Validation of Pr ocess Factors Related to the Reading Achievment of High Sc hool Seniors: A Follow-up Study. Unpublished doctoral dissertati on, University of Tulsa. Slaughter, D. & Defoe C. (2002, September). Early Childhood Development and School Readiness: Some Observations about “Homework” for New Century Working Parents. Paper presented at the Annual Me eting of the Voices for Illinois Conferences. Smith, Susan & Dixon, Rhonda. (1995). Literacy Concepts of Low-and Middle-Class Four-Year-Olds Entering Preschool. Journal of Educational Research, 88, 245-253. Stipek, D., & Ryan, R. (1997) Economically Disadvantaged Presc hoolers Reading to Learn but Further to Go. Developmental Psychology, 1997, 33, 711-723 Storch, S.A., & Whitehurst, G.J. (2002). Oral language and code-related precursors to reading: Evidence from a longitudinal structural model. Developmental Psychology, 38, 934-947. Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. (2003). The past and future of mixed methods research: From data triangulation to mixed model de signs. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie (Eds.) Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 671-702). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Thompson, F. (2002). Student Achievement, Sel ected Environmental Ch aracteristics, and Neighborhood Type. The Urban Review, 34, 277-292. University of Michigan. (2003). National Poverty Center. Retr ieved August 28, 2003 from http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/

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85 U.S. Department of Education. (2003). Institu te of Education Scienc es, National Center for Education Statistics, National A ssessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 1992, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2003 Reading Assessments. Retrieved August 20, 2003, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/reading/results2003/natachieve-re-g8.asp U.S. Department of Education. (1994). National Center for E ducation Statistics National Education Longitudinal Study. Retrieved August 20, 2003, from http://www.pop.psu.edu/data-archive/codebooks/nels/cb961.inst.pdf U.S. Department of Education. (1996). National Center for E ducation Statistics, National Household Education Survey. Retrieved August 20, 2003, from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/ 97trends/ea3-1a.htm U.S. Department of Education, (2004). No Child Left Behind. Retrieved September 25, 2003, from www.nochildleftbehind.gov U.S. Department of Education. (2001). OSERS 23rd Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the IDEA Retrieved September 25, 2003, from http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/osep/2001/index.html U.S. Department of Education. (1994). State Chapter 1 participation and achievement information: 1991 summary report. Retrieved June 30, 2006, from http://www.futureofchildren.org/usrdoc/vol5no3APPc.pdf U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). Poverty Guidelines Retrieved June 30, 2006, from http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/06poverty.shtml Washington, J. (2001). Early Literacy Skills in African-American Children: Research Considerations. The Division for Learning Disabiliti es of the Council for Exceptional Children 4, 213-221. Yussen & Smith. (1998). Reading Across the Life Span New York, Springer-Verlag Zimmerman, I. L., Steiner, V.G., & Pond, R.E. (1992). The Preschool Language Scale-3: Examiners Manual. San Antonio, TX The Psychological Corporation: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

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86 Appendices

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87 Appendix A Parental Informed Consent Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for Parents Who are being asked to allow their chil d to take part in a research study Researchers at the University of South Fl orida (USF) study many t opics. We want to learn more about children’s early literacy e xperiences. To do this, we need the help of people who agree to take pa rt in a research study. i o Research study: The Role of Home Literacy Environment in the Development of Early Literacy Skills in Kindergarten Children From Low Socioeconomic and Minority Families Person in charge of study: Nicole R. Martin, M.A. Study staff who can act on behalf of the person in charge: Your child’s teacher, _________(RBES-352-524-5200; PES-352-524-5100) Ke lly Powell-Smith, Ph.D 813974-9698 Where the study will be done: R.B. Cox Elementary & Pasco Elementary Should your child take part in this study? This form tells you about this research st udy. You can decide if you want you and your child to take part in it. You do not have to take part. Reading this form can help you decide. Before you decide: € Read this form. € Talk about this study with the person in charge of the study or the person explaining the study. € You can have someone with you when you talk about the study. Find out what the study is about. You can ask questions: € You may have questions this form does not answer. If you do, ask the person in charge of the study or study staff as you go along.

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88 € You don’t have to guess at things you don’t understand. Ask the people doing the study to explain things in a way you can understand. After you read this form, you can: € Take your time to think about it. € Have a friend or family member read it. € Talk it over with someone you trust. It’s up to you. If you choose to participate in the study, then you can sign the form. If you do not want your child to take part in this study, do not sign the form. Why is this research being done? The purpose of this study is to find out the ex periences of kindergarten children prior to kindergarten that promote early literacy. Why are you and your child being asked to take part? We are asking you and your child to take part in this study because your child is just beginning kindergarten and within the firs t 45 days of kindergarten student’s are administered the School Readiness Unif orm Screening System (SRUSS). All kindergarten students are assesse d for school readiness with two instruments: The Early Screening Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K) and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy (DIBELS). How long will you and your child be asked to stay in the study? Your child will be asked to spend about 2 m onths in this study. The School Readiness Uniform Screening System is completed in September. The data collection process will begin in August with the Home Literacy Surv ey and will end at the beginning of October when all of the SRUSS data is collected. The researcher will not be testing your child, but obtaini ng SRUSS and DIBELS scores from the school. Parents are asked to comple te the Home Literacy Survey which takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Once the survey is complete it should be returned to your child’s classroom teacher. What other choices do you have if you deci de not let your child to take part? If you decide not to let your child ta ke part in this study, that is okay. How do you get started? If you decide to take part in this study, you will need to sign this consent form, complete the Home Literacy Survey that is attached, and give permission for the researcher to obtain your child’s SRUSS scores.

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89 What will happen during this study? Once you completed the consent form and Home Literacy Survey send them back to your kindergarten child’s teacher in his/her wo rk binder. Once the students complete the SRUSS the Survey scores will be matched with the SRUSS scores. Here is what you and your child will need to do during this study Your child will not need to do anything in this study that is not already a school requirement. You will be required to complete the consent letter and the Home Literacy survey and return them to your child’s teacher. Will you or your child be paid for taking part in this study? We will not pay you for the time you volunt eer in this study; however, the following compensations will be provided. € Once students return their cons ent letters, whether permissi on is given or not, they will be allowed to choose an award (e.g., candy, stickers, books). € Two twenty-five dollar gift certificates to Walmart will be raffled off to participating families at each school who re turn in completed consent letters and surveys. What will it cost you to or your child if you take part in this study? It will not cost you or your child an ything to take part in the study. What are the potential benefits to your child if you let him/her take part in this study? We don’t know if your child could get any bene fits by taking part in this study. However we may obtain information that will be helpfu l to children and families in the future. For example the information may aid in educati ng parents about the importance of providing literacy exposure in the home and in which specific activities to engage. What are the risks if your ch ild takes part in this study? There are no known risks to those who take part in this study. What will we do to keep your child’s st udy records from being seen by others? Your privacy and research records will be kept confidential to the extent of the law. Confidentiality of all identifying information (i.e., names, student numbers, etc.) will be strictly maintained. You and your child’s na me will not appear in any of the written products from this research product. Consent forms will be kept for three years after the completion of the study at which time they will placed into a paper shredder and destroyed. Federal law requires us to keep your child’s study records private. However, certain people may need to see you an d/or your child’s study records. By law, anyone who looks at you or your child’s record s must keep them co nfidential. The only people who will be allowed to see these records are: € The study staff.

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90 € People who make sure that we are doing the study in the right way. They also make sure that we protect your rights and safety: o The USF Institutional Review Board (IRB) and its staff and any other individuals acting on behalf of USF. o The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) € We may publish what we find out from th is study. If we do, we will not use you or your child’ name or anything else th at would let people know who your child is. What happens if you decide not to take part in this study? You should only let take part in this study if both you and your ch ild want to take part. If you decide not to take part: € You and your child won’t be in trouble or lose any rights either of you normally have. € You and your child will stil l get the same services you would normally have, and participating or not participating will not affect your child’s sc hool/student status. What if you and your child join the study a nd then later decide you want to stop? If you decide you want to stop taking part in the study, tell the study staff as soon as you can. Are there reasons we might take you r child out of the study later on? Even if you want you and your child to stay in the study, there may be reasons we will need to take you out of it. You may be taken out of this study if DIBELS or ESI-K data are not available for your child. You can get the answers to your questions. If you have any questions about this st udy, call Nicole Martin at 813-980-3815, Kelly Powell-Smith University Supervisor 813-974-9698 If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking pa rt in a study, call USF Research Compliance at (813) 974-5638. Consent for Child to Take Part in this Research Study It’s up to you. You can decide if you want to your child take part in this study. I freely give my consent to let my child take part in this study. I understand that this is research. I have received a copy of this consent form. ________________________ ________________________ ___________ Signature of Parent Printed Name of Parent Date of child taking part in study

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91 Statement of Person Obtaining Informed Consent I have carefully explained to the person taking part in the study what he or she can expect. The person who is giving consent to take part in this study € Understands the language that is used. € Reads well enough to understand this form. Or is able to hear and understand when the form is read to him or her. € Does not have any problems that could make it hard to understand what it means to take part in this study. € Is not taking drugs that make it hard to understand what is being explained. To the best of my knowledge, when this person signs this form, he or she understands: € What the study is about. € What needs to be done. € What the potential benefits might be. € What the known risks might be. € That taking part in the study is voluntary. ______________________ _______________________ ______________ Signature of Investigator Printed Name of Investigator Date Or authorized research investigator designated by the Principal Investigator

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92CONSENTIMIENTO DEL PADRE/MADRE DESPUS DE SER INFORMADO Ciencias Sociales y de la Conducta Universidad del Sur de Florida Informacin para los padres a quienes se les ha pedido que permitan a su nio(a) participar en este estudio de investigacin Los investigadores en la Universidad del Sur de Florida (USF) estudian muchos temas. Queremos aprender ms sobre las experiencias de los nios en la alfabetizacin temprana. Estudio de investigacin: El papel de la alfabetizacin en el ambiente hogareo en el desarrollo de destrezas tempranas en nios de kindergarten provenientes de familias de minoras y de bajo nivel socio-econmico. Persona a cargo del estudio: Nicole R. Martin, M.A. Personal del estudio que puede actuar a nombre de la persona a cargo: El maestro(a) de su nio(a), ___________________________________, (RBES-352-524-5200; PES-352-524-5100) Kelly Powell-Smith, Ph.D. (813) 974-9698. Dnde se har el estudio?: En las escuelas elementales R.B. Cox y Pasco. Debe su nio(a) participar en este estudio? Este formulario le informa sobre este estudio de investigacin. Puede decidir si quiere que usted y su nio(a) tomen parte en l. Usted no tiene necesariamente que participar. La lectura de este formulario le ayudar a decidir. Antes de que decida: Lea este formulario. Hable sobre este estudio con la persona a cargo del mismo o con la persona que explica el estudio. Usted puede hacerse acompaar por alguien cuando vaya a hablar sobre el estudio. Averige de qu trata el estudio. Usted puede hacer preguntas: Usted puede hacer cualquier pregunta que este formulario no responda. Si desea hacerlo, pregunte a la persona a cargo del estudio durante la conversacin. Usted no tiene que adivinar sobre las cosas que no entienda. Pida a las personas haciendo el estudio que le explique las cosas en una forma que usted pueda entenderlo. Despus de leer este formulario, usted puede: Tomar un tiempo para pensar sobre ello. Pedirle a algn amigo o familiar que lo lea. Hablar sobre l con alguna pe rsona en quien usted confe.

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93 Pgina 2 de 6 Usted decide. Si decide participar en el estudio, entonces firme el formulario. Si no quiere que su nio(a) participe en este estudio, no firme el formulario. Por qu se est haciendo esta investigacin? El propsito de este estudio es conocer experiencias de nios en kindergarten, antes de entrar a kindergarten, que promuevan la alfabetizacin temprana. Por qu se les est pidiendo a usted y a su nio(a) que participen? Les estamos pidiendo a usted y a su nio(a) que participen porque su nio(a) est precisamente comenzando kindergarten, y dentro del trmino de 45 das se administrar a los estudiantes el Sistema de Uniforme de Evaluacin de Prep aracin para la Escuela (SRUSS). Todos los estudiantes de kindergarten son evaluados sobre la prepar acin para la escuela con dos instrumentos: El Inventario de Evaluacin Temprana-Kindergar ten (ESI-K) y los Indicadores Dinmicos de Alfabetizacin Bsica Temprana (DIBELS). Cunto tiempo se les pedir a usted y a su nio(a) que estn en el estudio? A su nio(a) se le pedir que est cerca de dos meses en este estudio. El Sistema Uniforme de Evaluacin de Preparacin para la Escuela se term inar en septiembre. El proceso de recoleccin de informacin comenzar en agosto con la Encuesta sobre Alfabetizacin en el Hogar, y terminar a comienzos de octubre cuando la informacin de todos los SRUSS se haya recolectado. El investigador no evaluar a su nio(a), pero obtendr de la escuela los resultados del SRUSS y el DIBELS. Se pedir a los padres que completen la Encuesta de Alfabetizacin en el Hogar, que toma cerca de 10-15 minutos. Una vez que la encuesta es terminada, debe devolverse al maestro(a) del aula de su nio(a). Que otras opciones tiene usted si decide que su nio(a) no participe? Si usted decide que su nio(a) no participe en este estudio, est bien. Cmo comienza usted? Si usted decide participar en este estudio, necesita r firmar este formulario de consentimiento, completar la Encuesta sobre Alfabetizacin en el H ogar que se adjunta, y dar el permiso para que el investigador obtenga los resultados del SRUSS de su nio(a). Qu suceder durante este estudio? Una vez que usted complete el formulario de c onsentimiento y la Encuesta sobre Alfabetizacin en el Hogar, envelos al maestro(a) de kindergarten de su nio(a) dentro de su carpeta de trabajos. Una vez que los estudiantes completen el SRUSS, los resultados de la encuesta se compararn con los resultados del SRUSS. A continuacin, lo que usted y su nio(a) debern hacer durante este estudio Su nio(a) no necesitar hacer nada en este est udio que no sea un requisito escolar ya existente. A usted se le pedir que complete la carta de consentimiento y la Encuesta sobre Alfabetizacin en el Hogar, y que los devuelva al maestro(a) de su nio(a).

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94 Se le pagar a su nio(a) por participar en este estudio? Nosotros no pagaremos por el tiempo que usted participe como voluntario en este estudio; sin embargo, se proveern las siguientes compensaciones: Una vez que los estudiantes devuelva sus cartas de consentimiento, se d o no el permiso, se les permitir que tomen una recompensa (p.ej. caramelos, calcomanas, libros) Dos certificados de regalo de WalMart de $25.00 sern rifados entre las familias participantes en cada escuela que devuelvan las cartas de consentimiento y las encuestas completadas. Qu les costar a usted o a su nio(a) participar en este estudio? No les costar nada ni a usted ni a su nio(a) participar en este estudio. Cules son los beneficios potenciales para su nio(a) si usted lo deja participar en este estudio? No sabemos si su nio(a) obtendr algn beneficio por participar en este estudio. Sin embargo, podramos obtener informacin que sera til para nios y familias en el futuro. Por ejempio la informacin podria alludar a educar a los padres c onrespecto a la importancia de proveer material educativo en las casas y actividades en las cuales deben envoluerse. Cules son los riesgos desu nio al participaren este estudio? No se conoce de ningn riesgo por participar en este estudio. Qu haremos nosotros para preservar que los datos de su nio(a) se mantengan confidenciales? Su privacidad y los datos de la investigacin se mantendrn confidenciales en la medida que establecen las leyes. Nosotros mantendremos estrictamente la confidencialidad de toda informacin que pueda identificarles (p.ej. nombre, nmero del estudiante, etc.). El nombre suyo y el de su nio(a) no aparecern en ninguno de los productos escritos de esta investigacin. Los formularios de consentimiento se mantendrn dur ante tres aos despus de la terminacin del estudio, en cuyo momento sern destruidos en una trituradora de papel. Las leyes federales requieren que nosotros mantenga mos privados los datos de su nio(a) en el estudio. Sin embargo, ciertas personas pudiera necesitar ver la informacin sobre usted y su nio(a). De acuerdo a ley, cualquiera que vea los datos de usted o de su nio(a) debe mantenerlos confidencial. Las nicas personas que se rn autorizadas a ver esos datos sern: El personal que realiza el estudio. Personas que se aseguran de que estemos haciendo el estudio correctamente. Ellos tambin se aseguran de que nosotros prot ejamos sus derechos y su seguridad: La Junta de Revisin Institucional de U SF (IRB) y su personal y/o cualquier otra persona representandola. El Departamento de Salud y Servicio s Humanos de los Estados Unidos (DHHS) Nosotros pudiramos publicar los resultados de este estudio. Si lo hacemos as, no utilizaremos el nombre suyo ni el de su ni o(a), ni nada que pueda permitir a otros conocer quin es su nio(a). Qu sucede si usted decide no participar en este estudio?

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95Ustedes solamente participarn en este estudio si usted y su nio(a) quieren participar. Pgina 4 de 6 Si usted decide no participar: € Usted y su nio(a) no tendrn problemas ni perdern los privilegios que normalmente reciben. € Usted y su nio(a) recibirn los mismos servici os que normalmente reciben y el participar o no participar no afectara a su nio en la escuela y/o como estudiante. Qu pasa si usted y su nio(a) se unen al estudio y luego deciden no querer continuar? Si usted decide no continuar en el estudio, comunqueselo al personal del estudio lo ms pronto que pueda. Existen razones por las cuales su nio(a) po dra ser retirado del estudio ms adelante? Aunque usted y su nio(a) quisieran continuar en el estudio, podran surgir razones por las cuales tengamos la necesidad de retirar a su nio(a) de l programa. Usted podra ser retirado del estudio si la informacin de DIBELS o ESI-K no est disponible. Usted puede obtener respuestas a sus preguntas. Si tiene preguntas sobre este estudio, llame a Ni cole Martin al 813-980-3815, o a Kelly PowellSmith supervisora de la Universidad del Sur de Florida al (813) 974-9698. Si tiene preguntas sobre los derechos como una persona que participa en el estudio, llame a la oficina del Cumplimiento de Investigacin de la Universidad del Sur de Florida al (813) 9745638 Consentimiento para que un nio(a) participe en este estudio. Es decisin suya. Usted puede decidir si quier e que su nio(a) participe en este estudio. Doy mi consentimiento libremente para permitir que mi nio(a) participe en este estudio. Comprendo que es una investigacin. He recibido una copia del formulario de consentimiento. ___________________________ _________________ ______________ Firma del padre/madre del nio(a) No mbre del padre/madre Fecha que participar en el estudio

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96Declaracin de la persona que obtuvo el co nsentimiento del padre/madre despus de ser informado Le he explicado cuidadosamente a la persona que participa en este estudio lo que el/ella puede esperar. La persona que est dando el consentimi ento para participar en este estudio € Entiende el idioma utilizado € Lee suficientemente bien para entender este formulario. O es capaz de or y entender cuando se le lee el formulario. € No tiene ningn problema que le impida en tender lo que significa participar en este estudio € No est utilizando drogas que le impidan entender lo que se le est explicando. A mi leal saber y entender, cuando esta persona firma este formulario entiende: € De qu trata este estudio. € Qu se necesita hacer. € Cules podran ser los beneficios potenciales. € Cules podran ser los riesgos conocidos. € Que participar en este estudio es voluntario. _____________________________________ _____________________ _____________ Firma del investigador, o del investigador Nombre impreso del investigador Fecha del estudio autorizado por el investigador principal

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97 Appendix B Home Literacy Environment Please check one answer to each of the questions. 1. What is your relationship to the kindergarten child? mother father Other (List:______________) 2. What is your racial/ethnic group? Black White Hispanic Other (List:______________) 3. What language is spoken most in your home (check all that apply)? English Spanish French Other (Describe___________________________________________________) 4. Does your kindergarten child get free or reduced price lunch at school? Yes No 7. How much does your kindergarten child do these activities alone? Hardly At times Often Look through books or magazines. Watch educational television (e.g. Sesame Street). Write letters or symbols. 8. How much does your kindergarten child like being read to? Hardly At times Often 9. How much do you or another adult at home do the following activities with your child? Hardly At times Often Read a book. Read an entire story without many disruptions. Stop reading and point out letters in the book. Stop reading and point out pictures that show what was told in the story. Stop reading and ask what will happen next. Continue on the back of page 5. At what age did your kindergarten child: 7-12 mo. 13-18 mo. 19-24 mo. 25+ Say his or her first word other than “mama” or “dada”? Start writing letters or letter-like symbols? 6. How many picture books do you have in the home for your child 0-1 2-5 6-10 11+

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98 10. How much do you provide your kindergarten child with: Hardly At times Often Books or magazines. Help in learning the ABC’s. 11. How much does your child see you doing the following activities each week? Hardly At times Often Writing out notes, letters, papers, or checks to pay bills. Using a computer to type letters or papers. Reading a book/newspaper/magazine or work related materials. 14. How much do you agree with these ideas? I don’t agree I agree I strongly agree It is the school’s job to teach reading. Parents should read to their children. Parents also should teach their children to read. Reading to children helps them to learn to read Children should have a special reading place in the home. Thank you for your help! 12. How much do you enjoy reading? Not at all A little Pretty much Love it 13. How much time in a week do you spend reading alone? 1-15 mins. 16-30 mins. 31-45 mins. 46+ mins

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99 Alfabetizacin en el ambiente hogareo Por favor, marque una respuesta por cada una de las preguntas. 1. Cul es su relacin con el nio(a) que asiste al kindergarten? madre padre otro (detalle:_____________) 2. Cul es su raza/grupo tnico? negra blanca hispana otro (detalle:_____________) 3. Qu idioma se habla ms en su casa? (Marque todos los que correspondan) ingls espaol francs otro 4. Recibe su nio(a) de kindergarten al muerzo gratis o a precio reducido? s no 5. A qu edad su nio(a) de kindergarten:? 7-12 meses 13-18 meses 19-24 meses 25+ Dijo su primera palabra, que no fuera “mama” o “papa” Comenz a escribir letras o smbolos como letras? 6. Cuntos libros con dibujos tiene en su casa? 0-1 2-5 6-10 11+ 7. Con qu frecuencia su nio(a) de kindergarten hace esas actividades por s solo? casi nunca a veces a menudo Hojea libros o revistas Ve programas educacionales en la televisin (por ejemplo Plaza Ssamo) Escribe palabras o smbolos 8. Qu a menudo le gusta a su nio(a) de kindergarten que le lean? casi nunca a veces a menudo 9. Qu a menudo usted u otro adulto en su casa hace las siguientes actividades con su nio(a)? casi nunca a veces a menudo Lee un libro Lee un cuento completo sin muchas interrupciones Deja de leer y seala letras en el libro Deja de leer y seala los dibujos para mostrar lo que fue dicho en el cuento. Deja de leer y pregunta qu pasar despus Contina en la parte de atrs de la pgina 1

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100 10. Con qu frecuencia le provee a su nio(a) kindergarten?: casi nunca a veces a menudo Libros y revistas Ayudndolo a aprender el ABC 11. Con qu frecuencia su nio(a) de kindergarten lo ve a usted hacer las siguientes actividades cada semana? casi nunca a veces a menudo Escribir notas, cartas, o cheques para pagar los recibos Utilizar la computadora para escribir cartas Leer un libro/peridico/r evista o trabajar con documentos 12. Qu tanto le gusta leer? Nada Un poco Bastante Me encanta 13. Cuntos minutos a la semana usted lee solo? 1-15 minutos 1630 minu tos 31-45 minutos 46+ minuto s 14. Qu tanto est de acuerdo con estas ideas? No estoy de acuerdo Estoy de acuerdo Estoy totalmente de acuerdo El trabajo de la escuela es ensear a leer Los padres deben leerles a sus nios Los padres deben ensearles a leer a sus nios Leerles a los nios les ensea a aprender a leer Los nios deberan tener un lugar especial en su casa para leer ¡Gracias por su ayuda!


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The role of the home literacy environment in the development of early literacy skills and school readiness in kindergarten children from low socioeconomic and minority families
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by Nicole R. Martin.
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2006.
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ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the relationship between two predictor variables and children's Dynamic Indicators of Basic Literacy Initial Sound Fluency (ISF) and Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) scores, as well as Early Screening Inventory-Kindergarten (ESI-K) scores. The two predictor variables were 1) parents' perception of their home literacy environment, and 2) parental beliefs about the importance of literacy (race had to be dropped out of the study due to the limited amount of participants per race variable). The participants were 68 kindergarten students and their parents from two schools in a school district in West Central Florida. Results showed that the home environment is a relatively good predictor of student's early literacy skills, when ISF is used to assess early literacy, with that variable accounting for 16% of the variance in the ISF scores. No other significant relationships were found, with parental belief not predicting any of the early literacy scores. Implications for educating low-income families to prepare their children for school are discussed.
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Thesis (Ed.S.)--University of South Florida, 2006.
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