We often say that parents are children’s first teachers and that the path to reading success begins at birth. We know that skills beget skills – not to mention confidence. A recent report — “PIRLS 2011 Canada in Context: Progress in International Reading Literacy Study” — quantifies the impact of children’s early experiences on their developing literacy. Kelly Kulsrud, our director of reading proficiency, writes about the study in a recent post on Aspire Wire, the blog of Wheelock College’s Aspire Institute.
In findings that reinforce earlier research, the study emphasizes children’s home environments and the link between reading achievement and children’s attitudes about reading, Kulsrud writes. The study shows:
- Children who enter school having been read to at home scored, on average, 35 points higher on the PIRLS test than children whose parents did not read to them. In addition, children of parents who like to read scored an average 36 points higher.
- “Students who like reading have an advantage of 54 points over those who do not like reading,” the study states. There is “a significant difference in the reading scores between students who are ‘confident’ and those who are ‘not confident’ in their reading skills,” the report notes. “Students who are motivated and somewhat motivated to read performed significantly better in reading than those who are not motivated to read.”
“Reading for success in the 21st century is a complex and dynamic process—one that extends far beyond decoding words on the page. It is one that begins at birth and continues through adulthood. And it is one that must meet the increasingly changing text demands throughout the child’s developmental years,” Kulsrud writes.
“Reading research has also never been as clear and convincing about the long-term developmental impact of the quality within a child’s early environment and experiences— their language and reading development, social and behavioral abilities, and health. Coupling this notion and the discussed connection between early literacy skills and later reading success, it exhibits the impact and need for high-quality language environments starting from birth.”