Literacy achievement during kindergarten: Examining key contributors in an at-risk sample

Sharon Walpole, Sy Miin Chow, Laura M. Justice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study investigated the contributions of initial literacy, oral language, and social adjustment to literacy achievement at the end of the kindergarten year. Data were collected across the kindergarten year from 48 children attending a school serving primarily children from low-income households with research-based curriculum and intervention programs. Data were used to create latent variables to represent initial literacy, oral language, and social adjustment as predictor variables and a variable representing word reading and spelling as an outcome variable. Multiple regression indicated that only initial literacy contributed significantly to the outcome. Path analysis also indicated the significance of initial literacy while supporting the shared contribution of oral language to the literacy outcome. Discriminant function analysis indicated that individuals with higher scores on the literacy outcome had high factor loadings on both initial literacy and oral language. Social adjustment did not contribute significant variance to the literacy outcome in any of the analyses. This study has implications for both policy and practice, documenting the importance of initial literacy skills, even from the beginning of kindergarten, to kindergarten literacy outcome and highlighting the correlation between the effects of initial literacy and oral language on reading and spelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-264
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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