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Citation:Stoep, J., & Verhoeven, L. (2000). Family and classroom predictors of childrenÕs early language and literacy development. National Reading Conference Yearbook, 49, 209-221.

Two research questions guided this study: 1) To what extent do the levels of Dutch language and literacy of minority children in The Netherlands differ from that of native Dutch children upon entrance to primary school, and 2) How much of the individual variation in Dutch language and literacy achievement within the two groups of children is explained by home and school variables? The researchers conclude that family socioeconomic status and parent education levels together seem to be the most important determinants of literacy outcomes for Dutch children. Findings included that parental involvement associated positively with childrenÕs test scores; language skills were related to teacher variables such as teacher behavior; and parent socioeconomic status and education appeared to be the most important factors determining Dutch childrenÕs language skills. Other contributors include teacher behavior, parental expectation of future reading results, and parental involvement. Researchers selected a random group of 876 six-year-old children from 77 schools in the urban parts of The Netherlands. Four hundred seventy-one children were native Dutch children, and 415 were minority children (Turkish, Moroccan, Surinam, or Antillean). The researchers assessed for a broad range of language skills at the end of the kindergarten year and asked parents to complete a questionnaire about literacy practices in the home. The parent response rate was about half. Researchers interviewed teachers and then evaluated the degree to which the family and classroom variables predicted language and literacy development. Though the return rate of the questionnaires was only 50%, and native Dutch parents returned the questionnaire than did other parents, the study provides insight into research inquiries outside the US and common concerns of meeting the needs of children from diverse communities.

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