Parent’s Attitudes and Behavior, the Learning Environment, and Their Influence on Children’s Early Reading Achievement

DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2012.24022   PDF   HTML     15,172 Downloads   40,298 Views   Citations


Three different models predict the relationship between parents’ attitudes toward reading, their behavior and the learning environment that they provide, and their influence on the reading performance of their children in first grade. The first model specifies the direct influence of each of the independent variables (attitudes, behavior and learning environment) on the dependent variable (reading performance of the child). The second model emphasizes the behavior as mediator between attitudes and reading performance, and also the direct influence of learning environment on performance. In contrast, the third model relates to the influence of attitudes on reading performance, with behavior as a mediator just in a supportive learning environment. In order to examine these models, we investigated a population of fifty first-grade pupils and their parents, measuring these variables with the help of questionnaires, interviews, observations and reading tests. The findings suggest that parents’ supportive attitudes have a significant positive influence on the reading performance of their children in first grade. This conclusion is actually consistent with all three models. The more specific conclusion, however, is that attitudes are partially mediated by parents’ behavior in a supportive learning environment, which partially supports the third model.

Share and Cite:

Abu-Rabia, S. & Yaari, I. (2012). Parent’s Attitudes and Behavior, the Learning Environment, and Their Influence on Children’s Early Reading Achievement. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 2, 170-179. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2012.24022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Adams, M. J. (1990). Beginning to read. Cambridge: MIT Press.
[2] Ajzen, L., & Fishbein, M. (1977). Attitude-behavior relations: A theoretical analysis and review of empirical research. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 888-918. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.84.5.888
[3] Ajzen, L., & Fishbein, M. (1980). Understanding attitude and predicting social behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
[4] Alexander, K. L., & Entwisle, D. R. (1988). Achievement in the first 2 years of school: Patterns and processes. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 53, 1-139. doi:10.2307/1166081
[5] Anderson, A. B., & Stokes, S. J. (1984). Social and institutional influences on the development and practice of literacy. In: H. Goelman, A. A. Oberg, & F. Smith (Eds.), Awakening to literacy (pp. 24-37). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
[6] Arnold, D. S., & Whitehurst, G. J. (1994). Accelerating language development through picture book reading: A summary of dialogic reading and its effect. In D. K. Dickinson (Ed.), Bridges to literacy (pp. 103-128). Oxford: Blackwell.
[7] Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical consideration. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.51.6.1173
[8] Beech, J. (1990). Parents’ attitudes and the reading performance of their children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 70, 1387-1392.
[9] Bentler, P. M., & Speckart, G. (1979). Models of attitude-behavior relations. Psychological Review, 86, 452-464. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.86.5.452v
[10] Boocock, S. P. (1972). An introduction to the sociology of learning. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
[11] Bradley, R., & Caldwell, B. (1984). The relation of infants’ home environment to achievement test performance in first grade: A follow up study. Child Development, 55, 803-809.
[12] Briggs, C., & Elkind, D. (1977). Characteristics of early readers. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 44, 1231-1237. doi:10.2466/pms.1977.44.3c.1231
[13] Burger, M. L., & Landerholm, E. (1991). A library based program for parents and their preschool children. Early Child Development and Care, 70, 37-43. doi:10.1080/0300443910700104
[14] Bus, A. G., van Jjzendoorn, M. H., & Pellegrini, A. D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65, 1-21.
[15] Clark, M. M. (1976). Young fluent readers: What can they teach us? London: Heinemann Educational Books.
[16] Clark, M. (1983). Family life and school achievement. Why poor black children succeed or fail. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
[17] Clay, M. M. (1972). Reading: The patterning of complex behaviour. Auckland: Heinemann Educational.
[18] Coulmas, F. (l989). The writing systems of the world. Oxford: Black well.
[19] Dave, R. H. (1963). The identification and measurement of environ mental process variables that are related to educational achievement. Ph.D. Dissertation, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
[20] Davie, R., Butler, N., & Goldstein, H. (1972). From birth to seven. London: Longman.
[21] Debaryshe, B. D., & Binder, J. C. (1994). Development of an instrument for measuring parental beliefs about reading aloud to young children. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78, 1303-1311. doi:10.2466/pms.1994.78.3c.1303
[22] Dickinson, D. K. (1987). Oral language, literacy skills and the response to literacy. In J. Squire (Ed.), The dynamics of language learning: Research in the language arts (pp. 147-183). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
[23] Durkin, D. (1966). Children who read early. New York: Teachers College Press.
[24] Eagly, A., & Chaiken, S. (1993). The psychology of attitudes. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich College Publishers.
[25] Eccles, J. (1983). Expectancies, values and academic behaviors. In J. T. Spence (Ed.), Achievement and achievement motives: Psychological and sociological approaches (pp. 75-146). San Francisco, CA: Free man.
[26] Ellis, H. (1926). A study of British genius. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
[27] Entwisle, D. R., & Hayduk, L. A. (1978). Too great expectation: The academic outlook of young children. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
[28] Fazio, R. H. (1986). How do attitudes guide behavior? In R. M. Sorrentino, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of motivation and cognition (pp. 204-243). New York: Guilford.
[29] Feitelson, D. (1988). Facts and fads in beginning reading. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
[30] Festinger, L. A. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
[31] Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (1975). Belief, attitude, intention, and behaveior: An introduction to theory and research. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.
[32] Goldfield, B. A., & Snow, C. E. (1984). Reading books with children: The mechanics of parental influence on children’s reading achievement. In J. Flood (Ed.), Promoting reading comprehension (pp. 204 215). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
[33] Flood, J. E. (1975). Predictors of reading achievement: An investigation of selected antecedents to reading. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford, CA: Stanford University.
[34] Goodnow, J. J., & Collins, W. A. (1990). Development according to parents: The nature, sources and consequences of parents’ ideas. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[35] Goodnow, J. J., & Collins, W. A. (1991). Development according to pa rents: The nature, sources and consequences of parents’ ideas. In: H. McGurc (Ed.), Essays in developmental psychology. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[36] Goodsit, S., Ralton, J. G., & Perlmutter, M. (1988). Interaction between mothers and pre-school children when reading a novel and a familiar book. International Journal of Behavioural Development, 114, 489-508.
[37] Gottfried, A. W., Gottfried, A. E., & Guerin, D. (1986). The relationship of early home environment to cognitive ability and achievement in the school entry years. International Conference on Infant Studies. Boston, 10 April 1980.
[38] Hansen, H. S. (1969). The impact of home literacy environment on reading attitude. Elementary English, 46, 17-24.
[39] Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in com munities and classrooms. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[40] Heath, S. B. (1989). The learner as cultural member. In M. L. Rice, & R. L. Schiefelbusch (Eds.), Teachability of language. Baltimore, MD: Brooks.
[41] Hertzig, M. E., & Birch, H. G. (1971). Longitudinal course of measured intelligence in preschool children of different social and ethnic back grounds. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 41, 416-426. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.1971.tb01128.x
[42] Hess R. D., & Holloway, S. D. (1983). Family and school as educational institutions. In R. D. Parke (Ed.), Review of child development research, 7, The family. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
[43] Hess, R. D, Holloway, S. D., Dickson, W. P., & Price, G. G. (1984). Maternal variables as predictors of children’s school readiness and later achievement in vocabulary and mathematics in sixth grade. Child Development, 55, 1902-1912.
[44] Hess, R. D., Holloway, S. D., Price, G. G., & Dickson, W. P. (1982). Family environments and the acquisition of reading skills: Toward a more precise analysis. In L. M. Laosa, & I. E. Sigel (Eds.), Families as learning environments for children. New York: Plenum.
[45] Hewison, J., & Tizard, J. (1980). Parental involvement and reading attainment. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 50, 209-215. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.1980.tb00803.x
[46] Hiebert, E. H. (1988). The role of literacy experiences in early child hood programs. The Elementary School Journal, 89, 161-171. doi:10.1086/461570
[47] Ho, S.-C. E., & Willms, J. D. (1996). Effects of parental involvement on eight-grade achievement. Sociology of Education, 69, 126-141. doi:10.2307/2112802
[48] Holden, G. W., & Edwards, L. A. (1989). Parental attitudes toward child rearing: Instruments, issues and implications. Psychological Bulletin, 106, 29-58. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.106.1.29
[49] Hoyle, R. H., & Kenny, D. A. (1999). Statistical power and tests of mediation. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Statistical strategies for small sample research. Newbury Park: Sage.
[50] Iverson, B. K., & Walberg, H. J. (1982). Home environment and learning: A quantitative synthesis. Journal of Experimental Education, 50, 144-151.
[51] Jae-On, K., & Mueller, W. C. (1978). Introduction to factor analysis: What it is and how to do it. Newbury Park: Sage University Papers.
[52] Jordan, C. (1992). The role of culture in minority school achievement. The Kamehameha Journal of Education, 3, 53-67.
[53] Keeves, J. P. (1986). Motivation and school learning. International Journal of Educational Research, 10, 117-127.
[54] Lombard, A. D. (1994). Success begins at home. The past, present and future of the home instruction program for preschool youngsters (2nd ed.). Guilford, CO: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.
[55] Marjoribanks, K. (1972). Environment, social class and mental abilities. Journal of Educational Psychology, 43, 103-109. doi:10.1037/h0032384
[56] Marjoribanks, K. (1979). Families and their learning environments: An empirical analysis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
[57] Martinez, M., & Roser, N. (1985). Read it again: The value of repeated reading during storytime. Reading Teacher, 38, 782-786.
[58] Mason, J., & Allen, J. B. (1986). A review of emergent literacy with implications for research and practice in reading. Review of Research in Education, 13, 3-47.
[59] McGillicuddy-Delisi, A. V. (1982a). Parental beliefs about developmental processes. Human Development, 25, 192-200. doi:10.1159/000272796
[60] McGillicuddy-Delisi, A. V. (1982b). The relationship between parents’ beliefs about development and family constellation, socioeconomic status, and parents’ teaching strategies. In L. M. Laosa, & I. E. Sigel (Eds.), Families as learning environments for children (pp. 261-299). New York: Plenum. doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-4172-7_9
[61] McGillicuddy-Delisi, A. V. (1985). The relationship between parental beliefs and children’s cognitive level. In I. E. Sigel (Ed.), Parental belief systems: The psychological consequences for children. Hills dale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[62] Miller, S. A. (1988). Parents’ beliefs about children’s cognitive development. Child Development, 59, 259-285. doi:10.2307/1130311
[63] Moon, C., & Wells, G. (1979). The influence of home on learning to read. Journal of Research in Reading, 2, 53-62. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9817.1979.tb00191.x
[64] Morrow, L. M. (1983). Home and school correlates of early interest in literature. Journal of Educational Research, 76, 221-230.
[65] Ninio, A. (1983). Joint book reading as a multiple vocabulary acquisition device. Developmental Psychology, 19, 445-451. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.19.3.445
[66] Parkinson, C. E., Wallis, S. M., Prince, J., & Harvey, D. (1982). Research note-rating the home environment of school-age children: A comparison with general cognitive index and school progress. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23, 329-333. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1982.tb00077.x
[67] Parsons, J. E., Adler, T. F., & Kaczala, C. M. (1982). Socialization of achievement attitudes and beliefs: Parental influences. Child Development, 53, 310-321. doi:10.2307/1128973
[68] Payton, N. (1972). Mother child verbal communication: The relationship between mother question-asking behavior and child response. MS Thesis, Jerusalem: The Hebrew University.
[69] Penner, S. G. (1987). Parental responses to grammatical and ungram matical utterances. Child Development, 58, 376-385. doi:10.2307/1130514
[70] Rowe, K. J. (1991). The influence of reading activity at home on students’ attitudes towards reading, classroom attentiveness and reading achievement: An application of structural equation modelling. Journal of Educational Psychology, 61, 9-35.
[71] Scarborough, H. S., & Dobrich, W. (1994). On the efficacy of reading to preschoolers. Developmental Review, 14, 245-302. doi:10.1006/drev.1994.1010
[72] Scherer, N. J., & Olswang, L. B. (1984). Role of mothers’ expansions in stimulating children’s language production. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, 27, 387-396.
[73] Schumacker, E. R., & Lomax, G. R. (1996). A beginner’s guide to structural equation modeling. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
[74] Scott-Jones, D. (1984). Family influences on cognitive development and school achievement. In E. W. Gordon (Ed.), Review of research in education, 11 (pp. 259-306). Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.
[75] Share, D. L., Jorm, A. F., Maclean, R., Matthews, R., & Waterman, B. (1983). Early reading achievement, oral language ability, and a child’s home background. Australian Psychologist, 18, 75-87. doi:10.1080/00050068308256241
[76] Shatil, E. (1997). Predicting reading ability: Evidence for cognitive modularity. Ph.D. Thesis, Haifa: University of Haifa.
[77] Siegel, L. S. (1984). Home environment influences on cognitive development in preterm and full-term children during the first 5 years. In A. W. Gottfried (Ed.), Home environment and early cognitive development (pp. 197-233). New York: Academic Press.
[78] Sigel, I. E. (1985). Parental belief systems: The psychological consequences for children. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
[79] Smith, C. B. (1989). Emergent literacy—An environmental concept. The reading Teacher, 42, 528-528.
[80] Snow, C. E., & Ninio, A. (1986). The contracts of literacy: What children learn from learning to read books. In W. H. Teale, & E. Sulzby (Eds.), Emergent literacy: Writing and reading (pp. 116-138). Nor wood, NJ: Ablex.
[81] Snow, C. E., & Ferguson, K. (1978). Talking to children. New York: Cambridge University Press.
[82] Snow, C. E., Dubber, C., & DeBlauw, A. (1980). Routines in mother child interaction. Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association. Boston, 10 April 2012..
[83] Snow, C. E. (1983). Literacy and language: Relationships during the pre-school years. Harvard Education Review, 53, 165-189.
[84] Snow, C. E., Barnes, W. S., Chandler, J., Goodman, I. F., & Hemphill, L. (1991). Unfulfilled expectation: Home and school influences on literacy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[85] Sonnenschein, S., Brody, G., & Munstermari, K. (1996). The influence of family beliefs and practices on children’s early reading development. In L. Baker, P. Afflerbach, & D. Reinking (Eds.), Developing engaged readers in school and home communities (pp. 3-20). Mah wah, NJ: Erlbaum.
[86] Sorsby, A., & Martlew, M. (1991). Representational demand in mothers’ talk to preschool children in two contexts: Picture book reading and a modelling task. Journal of Child Language, 18, 373-396. doi:10.1017/S0305000900011119
[87] Stanovich, K. E., & West, R. F. (1989). Exposure to print and orthographic processing. Reading Research Quaterly, 24, 402-433. doi:10.2307/747605
[88] Stevenson, H. W., & Newman, R. S. (1986). Long-term prediction of achievement attitudes in mathematics and reading. Child Development, 57, 646-659. doi:10.2307/1130343
[89] Stevenson, H. W., Chen, C., & Uttal, D. (1990). Beliefs and achievement: A study of black, white, and hispanic children. Child Development, 60, 508-521. doi:10.2307/1131111
[90] Stevenson, J., & Fredman, G. (1991). The social environmental correlates of reading ability. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Applied Disciplines, 31, 681-698. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1990.tb00810.x
[91] Stroud, J. E. (1995). Block play: Building a foundation for literacy. Early Childhood Education Journal, 23, 9-13. doi:10.1007/BF02353373
[92] Takagi, S. F. (1975). Responses of three-year-old children to storytelling of a Japanese picture book. Science of Reading, 18, 105-113.
[93] Teale, W. (1986). Home background and children’s literacy development. In W. Teale & E. Sulzby (Eds.), Emergent literacy (pp. 173 205). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
[94] Tizard, J., Schofield, W. N., & Hewison, J. (1982). Collaboration between teachers and parents in assisting children’s reading. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 52, 1-15. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8279.1982.tb02498.x
[95] Toomey, D. M. (1986). Involving parents in their children’s reading. Collected Original Resources in Education, 10, 1-70.
[96] Taylor, D. (1983). Family literacy: Young children learning to read and write. Exeter, NH: Heinemann.
[97] Taylor, N. E., Blum, I. H., & Logsdon, D. M. (1986). The development of written language awareness: Environmental aspects of and program characteristics. Reading Research Quarterly, 21, 132-149. doi:10.2307/747841
[98] Wells, G. (1985). Learning, language and education (pp. 74-99). Philadelphia, PA: Nfer-Nelson.
[99] White, K. R. (1982). The relation between socio-economic status and academic achievement. Psychological Bulletin, 91, 461-481. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.91.3.461
[100] Whitehurst, G. J., & Valdez-Menchaca, M. C. (1988). What is the role of reinforcement in language acquisition? Child Development, 59, 430-440. doi:10.2307/1130322
[101] Williams, T. (1974). Competence dimensions of family environments. AERA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, 10 April 2012.
[102] Williams, T. (1976). Abilities and environments. In W. H. Sewell, R. M. Hauser, & D. L. Featherman (Eds.), Schooling and achievement in American society. New York: Academic Press.
[103] Williams, T. (1979). Another view. Unpublished manuscript. Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne.
[104] Wolf, R. (1964). The identification and measurement of environmental process variables related to intelligence. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.
[105] Zimbardo, P. (1992). The psychology of attitude change and social influence. New York: McGraw Hill.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.