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Parental contribution to child’s early language and interest in books

  • Paula Lyytinen
  • Marja -Leena Laakso
  • Anna -Maija Poikkeus
Article

Abstract

The relationships between parents’ age, education, literacy activities and shared reading with the child and children’s language skills and early interest in books were examined in a longitudinal study of 108 children. Parents reported on their children’s lexical and grammatical development by using the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories (the CDIs) at the ages of 14 and 24 months. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development were administered to the children in a laboratory setting at 24 months. Information on parental background variables was obtained through a questionnaire before the children’s birth. Book reading habits were inquired when the children were 2 years of age. Mothers’ education, literacy activities and shared reading with the child were shown to be more strongly associated with the 2-year-olds’ lexical and grammatical skills than were those of father. A corresponding association to parental background variables emerged regardless of whether parental report data or scores on the structured test were employed as the child language measure. Shared reading with the father was found to be linked to children’s early interest in books. The children who exhibited greater interest in books were likely to be read to by mothers and fathers more frequently than other children. These children also had larger vocabularies than did children with low interest in books. The role of endogenous and exogenous variables in explaining children’s language skills and early book reading interest are discussed.

Key words

Early interest in books Family demographic variables Language skills Parental reading habits 

Résumé

Les liens entre, d’une part, l’âge des parents, leur niveau de formation, leurs activités en matière d’alphabétisation et les moments de lecture partagés avec l’enfant et, d’autre part, les aptitudes langagières des enfants et leur intérêt précoce pour les livres ont été examinés dans une étude longitudinale portant sur 108 enfants. Les parents ont fait un compte rendu sur le développement lexical et grammatical de leurs enfants en utilisant les Inventaires de développement communicationnel (Communicative Development Inventories, CDI) de MacArthur, à l’âge de 14 et de 24 mois. L’échelle de développement infantile de Bayley a été appliquée aux enfants dans des conditions de laboratoire à l’âge de 24 mois. Des renseignements sur les paramètres du milieu parental ont été recueillis par voie de questionnaire avant la naissance de l’enfant. Il a été dressé un relevé des habitudes de lecture de livres une fois que les enfants ont atteint l’âge de deux ans. Il ressort que le niveau de formation de la mère, ses activités en matière d’alphabétisation de l’enfant et les moments de lecture en commun avec l’enfant sont plus fortement assiociés avec les aptitudes lexicales et grammaticales de l’enfant de deux ans qui’ils ne le sont pour le père. Il peut être mis en évidence un lien concordant avec les paramètres du milieu parental indépendants de la méthode d’évaluation du langage chez l’enfant — compte rendu des parents ou notes obtenues au test structuré. La probabilité que les enfants témoignant d’un plus grand intérêt pour les livres soient des enfants à qui la mère ou le père ont fait de la lecture est plus grande que chez les autres enfants. Ces enfants avaient également un vocabulaire plus développé que les enfants témoignant d’un moindre intérêt pour les livres. Le rôle des variables endogènes et exogènes dans l’explication des aptitudes langagières des enfants et de leur intérêt précoce pour les livres fait l’objet d’une discussion.

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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Lyytinen
    • 1
  • Marja -Leena Laakso
    • 1
  • Anna -Maija Poikkeus
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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