How does home literacy environment influence reading comprehension in Chinese? Evidence from a 3-year longitudinal study

Abstract

Although several studies have examined the role of home literacy environment (HLE) in learning to read in Western societies, little is known about the role of HLE in Chinese reading. In addition, the few studies in Chinese have not tested the possible effects of HLE on reading comprehension. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the direct and indirect effects of different aspects of HLE (formal literacy experiences, informal literacy experiences, and access to literacy resources) on reading comprehension in Chinese. One hundred fifty-nine third year kindergarten children (70 girls and 89 boys; Mage = 72.62 months) participated in the study. In kindergarten, they were assessed on emergent literacy skills (vocabulary, phonological awareness, pinyin knowledge, rapid naming), in Grade 1, on word reading, and, in Grade 2, on reading comprehension. In addition, parents filled out a questionnaire on their education and income, the frequency of different HLE activities, the number of children’s books at home, and their expectations, when their children were in kindergarten. Results of structural equation modeling showed that formal literacy experiences predicted reading comprehension through the effects of pinyin knowledge on word reading. Access to literacy resources predicted reading comprehension through the effects of rapid naming, phonological awareness, and vocabulary. Finally, informal literacy experiences did not predict any of the emergent literacy skills or reading outcomes. Our findings provide only partial support of the home literacy model and suggest that the culture in which environmental effects take place may determine what aspects of the home literacy environment contribute to children’s reading performance and what not.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    We acknowledge that some researchers have adopted a broader conceptualization of HLE that includes a combination of home literacy activities and contextual variables (e.g., demographic characteristics), child characteristics (e.g., temperament), mother–child interactions (e.g., maternal responsiveness), and parent–child joint activities (e.g., watching TV) (see Britto & Brooks-Gunn, 2001; Curry, 2012; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994; Umek, Podlesek, & Fekonja, 2005)..

  2. 2.

    Pinyin is an alphabetic coding system that spells out the sounds of Chinese characters using both Roman alphabet letters and lexical tone transcriptions. The pinyin system employs almost all Roman letters used in English (without < v>, but with the addition of < ü>) representing 21 onsets and 35 rimes (Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 2004). For a review of studies on Pinyin and Chinese reading see Wang, Lam, Mo, and McBride-Chang (2014).

  3. 3.

    Before constructing the structural model, we tested a measurement model for the home literacy environment and confirmed that the five constructs (parents’ expectations, family’s SES, FHLE, IHLE, and ALR) were properly assessed with the questionnaire used in this study. The results of this analysis can be obtained from the corresponding author.

References

  1. Ahmed, Y., Wagner, R. K., & Lopez, D. (2014). Developmental relations between reading and writing at the word, sentence and text levels: A latent change score analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology,106, 419–434. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035692.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Allen, L., Cipielewski, J., & Stanovich, K. E. (1992). Multiple indicators of children’s reading habits and attitudes: Construct validity and cognitive correlates. Journal of Educational Psychology,84, 489–503.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Anderson, R. C., Wilson, P. T., & Fielding, L. G. (1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly,23, 285–303.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York, NY: Greenwood Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Britto, P. R., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2001). Beyond shared book reading: Dimensions of home literacy and low-income African American preschoolers skills. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development,92, 73–90.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways in assessing model fit. In K. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Chiu, M. M., & McBride-Chang, C. (2006). Gender, context, and reading: A comparison of students in 43 countries. Scientific Studies of Reading,10, 331–362.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Chow, B. W. Y., McBride-Chang, C., & Burgess, S. (2005). Phonological processing skills and early reading abilities in Hong Kong Chinese kindergartners learning to read English as a second language. Journal of Educational Psychology,97, 81–87.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Curry, J. E. (2012). Development and validation of a home literacy questionnaire to assess emergent reading skills of pre-school children (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Deng, C. P., Silinskas, G., Wei, W., & Georgiou, G. K. (2015). Cross-lagged relationships between home learning environment and academic achievement in Chinese. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,33, 12–20.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Desrochers, A. (2018). Sentence-picture matching task for reading comprehension assessment. Ottawa: University of Ottawa.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Dunn, L. M., & Markwardt, F. C. (1970). Examiner’s manual: Peabody individual achievement test. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Esmaeeli, Z., Kyle, F. E., & Lundetræ, K. (2019). Contribution of family risk, emergent literacy and environmental protective factors in children’s reading difficulties at the end of second-grade. Reading and Writing, 32, 2375–2399. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-019-09948-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Evans, M. A., Fox, M., Cremaso, L., & Mckinnon, L. (2004). Beginning reading: The views of parents and teachers of young children. Journal of Educational Psychology,96, 130–141.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Evans, M.A., & Koblinsky, B. (2017). Home literacy environment from junior to senior kindergarten and relation to parent values. In Paper presented at the 24th annual conference of the Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading, Halifax, Canada.

  17. Evans, M. A., Shaw, D., & Bell, M. (2000). Home literacy activities and their influence on early literacy skills. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology,54, 65–75.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Family Education Study Centre (2012). Whose responsibility is it to teach different subject areas to children? A survey. Retrieved on December 15, 2017 from http://m.sohu.com/n/344118262/?page=1&_smsid=UOnUrCuylnooQpMCnAVBT6

  19. Froiland, J. M., Peterson, A., & Davison, M. L. (2013). The long-term effects of early parent involvement and parent expectation in the USA. School Psychology International,34, 33–50.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Hamilton, L. G., Hayiou-Thomas, M. E., Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. (2016). The home literacy environment as a predictor of the early literacy development of children at family-risk of dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading,20, 401–419.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Hartas, D. (2011). Families’ social backgrounds matter: Socio-economic factors, home learning and young children’s language, literacy and social outcomes. British Educational Research Journal,37, 893–914.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Hayes, A. F., & Scharkow, M. (2013). The relative trustworthiness of inferential tests of the indirect effect in statistical mediation analysis. Psychological Science,24, 1918–1927. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797613480187.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hood, M., Conlon, E., & Andrews, G. (2008). Preschool home literacy practices and children’s literacy development: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology,100, 252–271.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indices in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling,6, 1–55. https://doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Inoue, T., Georgiou, G., Parrila, R., & Kirby, R. J. (2018). Examining an extended home literacy model: The mediating roles of emergent literacy skills and reading fluency. Scientific Studies of Reading,22, 273–288.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. (2004). 新华字典(第10版). [Xinhua dictionary (10th ed.)]. Beijing, China: Commercial Press.

  28. Ip, P., Rao, N., Bacon-Shone, J., Li, S. L., Ho, F. K., Chow, C., et al. (2016). Socioeconomic gradients in school readiness of Chinese preschool children: The mediating role of family processes and kindergarten quality. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,35, 111–123.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Jining Municipal Bureau of Statistics. (2017). Jining statistical yearbook. Retrieved on March. 23, 2019 from: http://tjj.jining.gov.cn/art/2018/10/29/art_6793_815244.html

  30. Kang, E. Y., & Shin, M. (2019). The contributions of reading fluency and decoding to reading comprehension for struggling readers in fourth grade. Reading and Writing Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573569.2018.1521758.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Kendeou, P., Papadopoulos, T. C., & Spanoudis, G. (2012). Processing demands of reading comprehension tests in young readers. Learning and Instruction,22, 354–367.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Kim, Y.-S., Wagner, R. K., & Foster, E. (2011). Relations among oral reading fluency, silent reading fluency, and reading comprehension: A latent variable study of first-grade readers. Scientific Studies of Reading,15, 338–362.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Kirby, J. R., & Hogan, B. (2008). Family literacy environment and early literacy development. Exceptionality Education International,18, 112–130.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Kline, R. B. (2015). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (4th ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Lau, J. Y.-H., & McBride-Chang, C. (2005). Home literacy and Chinese reading in Hong Kong children. Early Education and Development,16, 5–22.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Li, H., Corrie, L. F., & Wong, B. K. M. (2008). Early teaching of Chinese literacy skills and later literacy outcomes. Early Child Development and Care,178, 448–459.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Li, Y., Li, H., De, X., Sheng, X., Richardson, U., & Lyytinen, H. (2017). 游戏化学习促进学生个性化发展的实证研究—以GraphoGame拼音游戏为例. [An evidence-based research on facilitating students’ development of individualize learning by game-based learning —Pinyin GraphoGame as an example]. China Educational Technology,364, 95–101.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Li, H., & Rao, N. (2000). Parental influences on Chinese literacy development: A comparison of preschoolers in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore. International Journal of Behavioral Development,24, 82–90.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Li, H., Shu, H., McBride-Chang, C., Liu, H., & Peng, H. (2012). Chinese children’s character recognition: Visuo-orthographic, phonological processing and morphological skills. Journal of Research in Reading,35, 287–307.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Liu, C., Georgiou, G. K., & Manolitsis, G. (2018). Modeling the relationships of parents’ expectations, family’s SES, and home literacy environment with emergent literacy skills and word reading in Chinese. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,43, 1–10.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Liu, J., Peng, P., & Luo, L. (2019). The relation between family socioeconomic status and academic achievement in China. Educational Psychology Review. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-019-09494-0.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Lonigan, C. J., & Burgess, S. R. (2017). Dimensionality of reading skills with elementary-school-age children. Scientific Studies of Reading,21, 239–253.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Lu, Y. (1999). Nice family atmosphere is the precondition and basis of education. Family Education,147, 1–12. [in Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

  44. MacKinnon, D. P., Fairchild, A. J., & Fritz, M. S. (2007). Mediation analysis. Annual Review of Psychology,58, 593–614. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085542.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Manolitsis, G., Georgiou, G., & Parrila, R. (2011). Revisiting the home literacy model of reading development in an orthographically consistent language. Learning and Instruction,21, 496–505.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Manolitsis, G., Georgiou, G., & Tziraki, N. (2013). Examining the effects of home literacy and numeracy environment on early reading and mathematics acquisition. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,28, 692–703.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Martini, F., & Sénéchal, M. (2012). Learning literacy skills at home: Parent teaching, expectations, and child interest. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science,44, 210–221.

    Google Scholar 

  48. McBride, C. (2015). Children’ s literacy development: A cross-cultural perspective on learning to read and write. London, UK: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  49. McBride-Chang, C., Lin, D., Liu, P. D., Aram, D., Levin, I., Cho, J.-R., et al. (2012). The ABC’s of Chinese: Maternal mediation of Pinyin for Chinese children’s early literacy skills. Reading and Writing: An interdisciplinary Journal,25, 283–300.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. (2012). The Chinese curriculum standards in compulsory education. Beijing, China: Beijing Normal University Publishing Group.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Muthén, L.K., & Muthén, B.O. (1998–2017). Mplus user’s guide (8th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

  52. Netten, A., Droop, M., & Verhoeven, L. (2011). Predictors of reading literacy for first and second language learners. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal,24, 413–425. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-010-9234-2.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2013). Home literacy environment and the beginning of reading and spelling. Contemporary Educational Psychology,38, 40–50.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Payne, A. C., Whitehurst, G., & Angell, A. L. (1994). The role of home literacy environment in the development of language ability in preschool children from low-income families. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,9, 427–440. https://doi.org/10.1016/0885-2006(94)90018-3.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods,40, 879–891. https://doi.org/10.3758/BRM.40.3.879.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Roth, F. P., Speece, D., & Cooper, D. H. (2002). A longitudinal analysis of the connection between oral language and early reading. Journal of Educational Research,95, 259–272.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Ruan, F.-J., Zhou, H., & Li, L. (2006). 家庭读写环境对幼儿语音意识的作用. [The role of home literacy in children’s phonological awareness.]. Psychological Development and Education,1, 13–17.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Sénéchal, M. (2006). Testing the Home Literacy Model: Parent involvement in kindergarten is differentially related to grade 4 reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, and reading for pleasure. Scientific Studies of Reading,10, 59–87. https://doi.org/10.1207/s1532799xssr1001_4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Sénéchal, M., & LeFevre, J. A. (2002). Parental involvement in the development of children’s reading skill: A five-year longitudinal study. Child Development,73, 445–460.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Sénéchal, M., & LeFevre, J. (2014). Continuity and change in the home literacy environment as predictors of growth in vocabulary and reading. Child Development,85, 1552–1568. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12222.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Sénéchal, M., LeFevre, J., Thomas, E. M., & Daley, K. E. (1998). Differential effects of home literacy experiences on the development of oral and written language. Reading Research Quarterly,33, 96–116.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Sénéchal, M., Whissell, J., & Bildfell, A. (2017). Starting from home: Home literacy practices that make a difference. In K. Cain, D. L. Compton, & R. K. Parrila (Eds.), Theories of Reading Development (pp. 383–407). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Shrout, P. E., & Bolger, N. (2002). Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: New procedures and recommendations. Psychological Methods,7, 422–445. https://doi.org/10.1037//1082-989X.7.4.422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Shu, H. (2003). Chinese writing system and learning to read. International Journal of Psychology,38, 274–285. https://doi.org/10.1080/00207590344000060.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Shu, H., Li, W., Anderson, R. C., Ku, Y.-M., & Yue, X. (2002). The role of home-literacy environment in learning to read Chinese. In W. Li, J. S. Gaffney, & J. L. Packard (Eds.), Chinese children’s reading acquisition: Theoretical and pedagogical issues (pp. 207–224). Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Silinskas, G., Kiuru, N., Tolvanen, A., Niemi, P., Lerkkanen, M.-K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2013). Maternal teaching of reading and children’s reading skills in grade 1: Patterns and predictors of positive and negative associations. Learning and Individual Differences,27, 54–66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.06.011.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Silinskas, G., Lerkkanen, M. K., Tolvanen, A., Niemi, P., Poikkeus, A.-M., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2012). The frequency of parents’ reading-related activities at home and children’s reading skills during kindergarten and Grade 1. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology,33, 302–310. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2012.07.004.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Silinskas, G., Torppa, M., Lerkkanen, M.-K., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2019). The home literacy model in a highly transparent orthography. School Effectiveness and School Improvement. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243453.2019.1642213

  69. Skwarchuk, S. L., Sowinski, C., & LeFevre, J. (2014). Formal and informal home learning activities in relation to children’s early numeracy and literacy skills: The development of a home numeracy model. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,121, 63–84.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Stephenson, K. A., Parrila, R., Georgiou, G. K., & Kirby, J. R. (2008). Effects of home literacy, parents’ beliefs, and children’s task-focused behaviour on emergent literacy and word reading skills. Scientific Studies of Reading,12, 24–50.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Stevenson, H. W., & Stigler, J. (1992). The learning gap: Why our schools are failing and what can we learn from Japanese and Chinese education. New York, NY: Summit Books.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Su, M., Peyre, H., Song, S., McBride, C., Tardif, T., Li, H., et al. (2017). The influence of early linguistic skills and family factors on literacy acquisition in Chinese children: Follow-up from age 3 to age 11. Learning and Instruction,49, 54–63.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2012). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Torppa, M., Poikkeus, A.-M., Laakso, M.-L., Tolvanen, A., Leskinen, E., Leppänen, P. H. T., et al. (2007). Modeling the early paths of phonological awareness and factors supporting its development in children with and without familial risk of dyslexia. Scientific Studies of Reading,11, 73–103.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Umek, L. M., Podlesek, A., & Fekonja, U. (2005). Assessing the home literacy environment: Relationships to child language comprehension and expression. European Journal of Psychological Assessment,21, 271–281.

    Google Scholar 

  76. van Bergen, E., van Zuijen, T., Bishop, D., & de Jong, P. F. (2016). Why are home literacy environment and children’s reading skills associated? What parental skills reveal. Reading Research Quarterly,52, 147–160.

    Google Scholar 

  77. van Steensel, R. (2006). Relations between socio-cultural factors, the home literacy environment and children’s literacy development in the first years of primary education. Journal of Research in Reading,29, 367–382.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Vasilyeva, M., Dearing, E., Ivanova, A., Shen, C., & Kardanova, E. (2018). Testing the family investment model in Russia: Estimating indirect effects of SES and parental beliefs on the literacy skills of first graders. Early Childhood Research Quarterly,42, 11–20.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Wagner, R., Torgesen, J., & Rashotte, C. A. (1999). CTOPP: Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

    Google Scholar 

  80. Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J., Rashotte, C. A., & Pearson, N. (2010). Test of Silent Reading Efficiency and Comprehension. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

    Google Scholar 

  81. Wang, Y., Lam, S. S.-Y., Mo, J., & McBride-Chang, C. (2014). Pinyin knowledge as a potentially marker of early literacy. In K. K. H. Chung, K. C. P. Yuen, & D. M. McInerney (Eds.), Understanding developmental disorders of auditory processing, language and literacy across languages: International perspectives (pp. 189–206). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Zhang, S.-Z., Georgiou, G., Xu, J.-N., Liu, J.-M., Li, M., & Shu, H. (2018). Different measures of print exposure predict different aspects of vocabulary. Reading Research Quarterly, 53, 443–454.

    Google Scholar 

  83. Zhang, X., Hu, B. Y., Ren, L., Huo, S., & Wang, M. (2019). Young Chinese children’s academic skill evelopment: Identifying child-, family-, and school-level factors. In Y. Liu (Ed.), Child and adolescent development in China. New directions for child and adolescent development (Vol. 163, pp. 1–29). Hoboken: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Zhang, Y., Jin, X., Shen, X., Zhang, J., & Hoff, E. (2008). Correlates of early language development in Chinese children. International Journal of Behavioral Development,32, 145–151.

    Google Scholar 

  85. Zhu, C., & Yang, L. H. (2003). Investigation about the early home reading education. Early Education,7, 2–3. [in Chinese].

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to George K. Georgiou.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, SZ., Inoue, T., Shu, H. et al. How does home literacy environment influence reading comprehension in Chinese? Evidence from a 3-year longitudinal study. Read Writ 33, 1745–1767 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-019-09991-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Chinese
  • Home literacy environment
  • Pinyin
  • Reading comprehension
  • Word reading