New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Home learning may help low-income children’s school readiness, Steinhardt study shows

June 27, 2011

Home learning may help low-income children’s school readiness, research from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development shows.

The work was conducted by Eileen Rodriguez as part of her doctoral program at NYU. The study was co-authored with Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, a professor in the Department of Applied Psychology.

“Our findings indicate that enriched learning experiences as early as the first year of life are important to children’s vocabulary growth, which in turn provides a foundation for children’s later school success,” said Rodriguez, now a survey researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.

Previous research has found that, on average, children living in poverty are less well prepared to start school than are children from middle-income homes. The new findings may offer a remedy for addressing this gap.

“This research provides an important glimpse into how children learn and develop in naturalistic settings across time,” said Amber Story, a social psychologist and deputy director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, which funded the study. “Such data is difficult to gather but it adds a necessary dimension to our understanding of learning and all the factors that impact it before the child even reaches the classroom.”

The study may be downloaded here.

Over a five-year period, the study examined the learning environments of more than 1,850 children and their mothers from households at or below the federal poverty line.  Researchers used home visits to gather information when the children were one, two, three, and five years old. They looked at the following: how often children took part in literacy activities, such as shared book reading; the quality of mothers’ engagements with their children, such as children’s exposure to frequent and varied adult speech; and the availability of learning materials, such as children’s books. To assess school readiness, they measured the number of words the children understood and their knowledge of letters and words at five years old.

The researchers found that differences in the children’s learning environments over time predicted their readiness skills. For instance, children whose learning environments were consistently low in quality across the four ages studied were much more likely to have delays in language and literacy skills at pre-kindergarten than children whose environments were uniformly high at all the ages. The results also showed that experiences that occur as children prepare to enter kindergarten also matter, particularly in contributing to children’s early reading skills.

“Home learning experiences that are consistently supportive in the early years may close the school readiness gap of children from low-income backgrounds,” said Rodriguez.

 

This Article is in the following Topics:
Research, Faculty, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Type: Article

Home learning may help low-income children’s school readiness, Steinhardt study shows

Search News



NYU In the News

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer