Teacher qualifications, classroom practices, family characteristics, and preschool experience: Complex effects on first graders' vocabulary and early reading outcomes

Carol McDonald Connor, Seung Hee Son, Annemarie H. Hindman, Frederick J. Morrison

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    194 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Using an ecological model, this study explored the effects of distal and proximal sources of influence on students' learning. We first examined three markers of teacher qualification - elementary education credential, years of education, and years of experience - on observed classroom practices across three dimensions - warmth/responsivity, control/discipline, and time spent on academic activities - as they related to children's vocabulary and early reading skills. We then examined the impact of this core system embedded in a larger system that included children's vocabulary and word recognition skills prior to school entry, their home and preschool learning environments, and family SES. Results, using structural equation modeling, revealed that students whose teachers were more warm and responsive and who spent more time in academic activities demonstrated stronger vocabulary and decoding skills at the end of first grade. Teachers with more years of education interacted with students more responsively but, surprisingly, their students had weaker early reading skills. Overall, students' language and letter-word recognition scores when they were 54 months of age, their home learning environment and family SES accounted for most of the variability in vocabulary and early reading scores at the end of first grade. Implications of the multiple and concurrent sources of influence on students' language and literacy development are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)343-375
    Number of pages33
    JournalJournal of School Psychology
    Volume43
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2005

    Keywords

    • Children
    • Instruction
    • Language
    • Literacy
    • Reading

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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