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Citation:Dearing, E., McCartney, K., Weiss, H. B., Kreider, H., & Simpkins, S. (2004). The promotive effects of family educational involvement for low-income childrenÕs literacy. Journal of School Psychology, 42, 445-460.

Annotation:
The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between family educational involvement (during kindergarten) and children's literacy achievement (through fifth grade). The study also investigates the relationship between children's feelings about literacy and mothers' level of education. Results indicated that for this low-income sample, higher levels of family involvement were significantly associated with greater literacy achievement. Family involvement mattered most for children whose mothers were least educated. The gap between literacy achievement of children with less educated versus more educated mothers closed when family educational involvement was high. Children's feelings about literacy mediated associations between family involvement and literacy achievement, suggesting that family involvement could lead to positive feelings about literacy which, in turn, could lead to improved literacy achievement. Analyses were base on questionnaire data from 167 children and their families as well as demographic and school context data. The main dependent variable was literacy performance as measured by the Woodcock-Johnson psycho-educational battery - revised (WJ-R). Hierarchical linear modeling was used to analyze the longitudinal data. The findings might suggest to practitioners that intervention efforts should focus on family involvement when attempting to improve children's feelings about literacy and literacy achievement. The correlational nature of the study makes it difficult to make claims about causation, meaning that it cannot be concluded that family involvement causes improved literacy. One question that remains unanswered is what caused the families to become involved in their child's education in the first place. Future research, including randomized controlled trials, should seek to isolate these variables for further study.

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