Kindergarten Readiness: Family Influences and Long-Term Effects
Nixon, Sarah Anne
Using detailed longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K), I examine the impact of parent involvement and other family influences on kindergarten readiness and the lasting effects of kindergarten readiness. I hypothesize that children whose parents actively engage in reading and other stimulating activities with them will begin kindergarten academically and socially ready, and that these kindergarteners will maintain those early leads throughout elementary and middle school, scoring at or above average on eighth grade reading assessments. I find that a kindergartener's interpersonal skills are a strong predictor of eighth grade reading performance, particularly if the child is assessed as having poor interpersonal skills. A child's level of positive engagement in her kindergarten classroom is also important. Finally, parents' educational expectations for their child upon entering kindergarten have a moderate but statistically significant effect on eighth grade reading. These results hold even when controlling for a variety of family characteristics, such as socioeconomic status, race, and family structure. White females who live with both biological parents in kindergarten in a very safe neighborhood are predicted to have the highest eighth grade reading scores.
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