Unpacking socioeconomic risks for reading and academic self-concept in primary school: differential effects and the role of the preschool home learning environment
British Journal of Educational Psychology
Reason for embargo
Background: Uncertainty remains concerning how children’s reading and academic self-concept are related and how these are differentially affected by social disadvantage and home learning environments. Aims: To contrast the impacts of early socioeconomic risks and preschool home learning environments upon British children’s reading abilities and academic self-concept between 7-10 years. Sample: n=3,172 British children aged 3-10 years and their families. Methods: A secondary analysis of the nationally-representative UK EPPE database. Multilevel Structural Equation Modelling calculated the direct, indirect, and total impacts of early socioeconomic risks (0-3 years) and preschool home learning environments (3-5 years) upon children’s reading ability and academic self-concept between 7-10 years. Results: Early socioeconomic risk had different effects upon children’s reading ability and academic self-concept. Early socioeconomic risks affected children’s reading at ages 7 and 10 both directly and indirectly via effects upon preschool home learning environments. By contrast, early socioeconomic risks had only indirect effects upon children’s academic self-concept via less stimulating home learning environments in the preschool period and by limiting reading abilities early on in primary school. Conclusions: Although the impacts of early socioeconomic risks are larger and more easily observed upon reading than upon academic self-concept they can impact both by making it less likely that children will experience enriching home learning environments during the preschool period. This has implications for social policy makers, early educators, and interventionists. Intervening early and improving preschool home learning environments can do more than raise children’s reading abilities; secondary benefits may also be achievable upon children’s self-concept.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.