Learning to read and write at grade1: cognitive and self-efficacy predictors

Learning to read and write at grade1: cognitive and self-efficacy predictors

First Author: Maryse Bianco -- Université Grenoble-Alpes
Additional authors/chairs: 
Pascal Bressoux; Laurent Lima; Gwenaelle Joet
Keywords: Early childhood age 3-8, Reading development, Writing development, Reading Self-Concept
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: Examining reading and writing acquisition in a longitudinal design to assess cognitive and self-efficacy predictors of literacy development.
Method: 616 first-grade French children were followed from the beginning to the end of the school year. They were assessed for oral comprehension (text and sentence), vocabulary knowledge (size and depth) and early code skills at school entry (phonological awareness, RAN, letter knowledge, decoding and writing skills) as well as for self-efficacy and motivation learning to read and write. Non-verbal development was also controlled for. They were re-assessed at the end of grade 1 on reading fluency (pseudo-words, words and text), reading and oral comprehension, writing, self-efficacy and motivation.
Results: Structural equation modeling showed that at school entry (T1) code skills but also depth of vocabulary knowledge were the main predictors of early reading skills while writing skills were mainly predicted by code skills and self-efficacy. On the other hand, predictors of T1 oral comprehension were oral comprehension subskills (sentence comprehension and size and depth of vocabulary knowledge). The analyses of the data obtained at the end of the school year (T2) are still in progress but preliminary results show that T2 reading comprehension is directly predicted by both T1 and T2 oral skills (vocabulary and oral comprehension) along with pseudo-words and words reading fluency. However, text reading fluency does not influence reading comprehension performance at the end of grade 1.
Conclusion: These results bring converging evidence regarding what is known about early literacy development but they also emphasize the role of less studied factors: firstly, they stress that vocabulary depth is an early significant predictor of reading acquisition and secondly, they show that non-cognitive factors have a selective influence: self-efficacy predicts early writing but not early reading.