Research Findings: Researchers and policymakers emphasize that early childhood is a critical developmental stage with the potential to impact academic and social-emotional outcomes (G. Conti & J. J. Heckman, 2012; J. J. Heckman, 2012; R. Murnane, I. Sawhill, & C. Snow, 2012). Although there is substantial evidence that children’s early prereading skills predict later academic achievement (K. M. La Paro & R. C. Pianta, 2000), there have been mixed findings regarding the contribution of early social skills to later achievement (e.g., G. J. Duncan et al., 2007). Using data from the national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort, we found that subgroups of children with a combination of low=average reading skills and higher levels of social skills (86% of the sample) in kindergarten performed better on later academic assessments than children with similar reading skills but lower levels of social skills during kindergarten. In contrast, children who were very strong early readers (14% of the sample), regardless of their level of social skills, performed similarly on the 5th-grade academic outcomes. Practice or Policy: Implications for early education and policy are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology