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Relationships Between Home Literacy Practices and School Achievement

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

Relationships Between Home Literacy Practices and School Achievement: Implications for Consultation and Home–School Collaboration


In a 5-year longitudinal study of typical literacy development (Grades 1–5 or 3–7), relationships were examined between (a) parental responses to questionnaires about home literacy activities and ratings of children’s self-regulation at home, both completed annually by the same parent, and (b) children’s reading and writing achievement assessed annually at the university. Higher reading and writing achievement correlated with engaging in more home literacy activities. Parental help or monitoring of home literacy activities was greater for low-achieving than for high-achieving readers or writers. Children engaged more minutes per week in reading than writing activities at home, but parents provided more help with writing and reported computers were used more for homework than for school literacy instruction. Parental ratings of self-regulation of attention remained stable, but executive functions—goal-setting, hyperactivity, and impulsivity—tended to improve. Results are translated into consultation tips for literacy learning and best professional practices.

Additional information Funding This research was supported by HD P50HD071764 and HD25858 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Notes on contributors

Nicole Lynn Alston-Abel

Nicole Lynn Alston-Abel, PhD (Educational Psychology, School Psychology Area, University of Washington) is a nationally certified school psychologist with prior teaching experience. As a practising school psychologist in school settings, she specializes in creating home-school partnerships, assessing patterns of strengths and weaknesses, and working with diverse student populations from racially, ethnically, and linguistically varied backgrounds.

Virginia W. Berninger

Virginia W. Berninger, PhD (Psychology, Johns Hopkins University; licensed psychologist, Boston Children’s Hospital) is professor emeritus, University of Washington, where she taught educational psychology students for 30 years, and was principal investigator on NICHD-funded grants for 25 years. A Scientific Study of School Psychology member and APA Fellow, she still consults with schools and researchers, conducts professional development, and writes. Note: The authors report that, to the best of their knowledge, neither they nor their affiliated institutions have financial or personal relationships or affiliations that could influence or bias the opinions, decisions, or work presented in this article.

Nicole Lynn Alston-Abel &Virginia W. Berninger

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