Tracking childhood literacy skills into adulthood

January 01, 0001

Tracking childhood literacy skills into adulthood.

These British researchers sought to assess childhood receptive language skills and early influences on the course of language development They utilized data from the 1970 British Cohort Study, A sample of 11349 cohort members who completed the English Picture Vocabulary Test when they were 5 years old had further examination at 34 years of age, assessing the role of socioeconomic family background and early literacy.

The researchers report: "Cohort members with receptive language problems at age 5 had a relatively disadvantaged home life in childhood, both in terms of socioeconomic resources and the education level of their parents, but also regarding their exposure to a stimulating early literacy environment. Although there is significant risk for poor adult literacy among children with early language problems, the majority of these children develop competent functional literacy levels by the age of 34. Factors that reduce the risk for persistent language problems include the child being born into a working family, parental education beyond minimum school-leaving age, advantageous housing conditions, and preschool attendance."

The authors concluded: "Effective literacy-promoting interventions provided by pediatric primary care providers should target both children and parents."

This research stresses the importance of social and family factors in certain language problems, although the usefulness of interventions was not examined.

For the full abstract, click here.

Pediatrics 125(3):e459-e466, March 2010
© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics
Childhood Language Skills and Adult Literacy: A 29-Year Follow- up Study. Ingrid Schoon, Samantha Parsons, Robert Rush, and James Law.

Category: A. General/Unspecified. Keywords: speech delay, childhood receptive language problems, adult literacy, family literacy, poverty, longitudinal study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 4 May 2010

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