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The role of the home literacy environment in the early literacy development of children at family-risk of dyslexia.

Hamilton, Lorna (2013) The role of the home literacy environment in the early literacy development of children at family-risk of dyslexia. Doctoral thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the role of early home literacy environment (HLE) in the literacy development of a sample of children at family-risk of dyslexia via an affected first-degree relative (FR) and a typically developing control group (TD). The first study described the HLE of 4-year-old FR children. Two distinct factors were identified: storybook exposure and direct instruction of orthographic forms. The amount of interactional literacy-related input that FR and TD children received at home was broadly equivalent. Second, the relationship of the early HLE to language and emergent literacy skills both concurrently and longitudinally (at age 5) was investigated. Storybook exposure predicted a wider range of child outcomes than previous research has suggested. Notably, a relationship between storybook exposure and phoneme awareness emerged later for FR than TD children. Direct instruction predicted children’s decoding skills in the first year of school. A pair of path models predicting decoding and reading comprehension skills at age 6 revealed multiple indirect pathways from early HLE to reading outcomes two years later. The magnitude of several longitudinal relationships was larger for FR than TD children. A direct pathway from early storybook exposure to reading comprehension was identified in the FR group only. Effects of family SES on reading outcomes were fully mediated by the HLE variables and oral language. In an observation study, the linguistic and socio-emotional quality of shared storybook interactions was found to be equivalent between FR and TD mother-child dyads. Children’s orientation to print at age 4 predicted word reading ability a year later, and interactional affective quality predicted children’s oral language skills. These findings are discussed, with a focus on the potential for rich early literacy-related experiences in the home to act as a protective factor in the literacy development of children at elevated risk of reading difficulty.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/956

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