FRIDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Home learning experiences
such as reading books with parents can improve low-income preschool
children's readiness to start school, researchers say.
The new study included more than 1,850 U.S. children and their
mothers in families with household incomes at or below the federal
poverty line. During home visits when the children were ages 1, 2,
3 and 5 years, the New York University researchers looked at how
often the children took part in literary activities (such as shared
book reading), the quality of the mothers' interactions with their
children (such as exposing children to frequent and varied adult
speech), and the availability of learning materials, including
The researchers also assessed the number of words the children
understood and their knowledge of letters and words at age 5.
Differences in the children's home learning environment
predicted their readiness to start school, according to the study
in the current issue of the journal
Child Development. For example, children whose home learning environment scores were consistently low were much more likely to have delays in language and literacy skills at pre-kindergarten than children who had high home learning scores.
"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," study leader Eileen T. Rodriguez said in a news release from the Society for Research in Child Development.
She and her colleagues also found that the course of a child's
early learning experiences were predicted by: children's cognitive
abilities as infants; mothers' race and ethnicity, education and
employment; and a family's household income.
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association outlines
activities to encourage speech and language