Is there a home advantage in school readiness for young children? Trends in parent engagement in cognitive activities with young children, 1991–2001

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Abstract

The desire to understand the home advantage has spurred a large body of research describing the contribution of differences in family background and parenting styles to school readiness and the achievement gap. Using the National Household Education Survey at two time points provides a fuller picture of the trends in parenting and cognitive activities with young children before the onset of formal schooling. The results presented here show that although more educated parents participate more in cognitive activities with their young children in 1991 and 2001, participation is increasing for all parents. This is true for a widely expected parental activity, reading to your child, and for a direct instruction activity, teaching letters, words, and numbers. It is also true for the more creative activities of music, arts and crafts, and telling stories. Contrary to images of some families as deficient and others as overly exuberant, all families in this sample are increasing engagement with their young children in a range of cognitive activities aimed at school readiness because parents as well as children get socialized to the culture of schooling. Modern American schooling requires parents to be engaged in the education process of their children and attempt to create advantage for them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-63
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 19 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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