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Prerequisite Skills, Early Instruction, and Success in First-Grade Reading: Selected Results From a Longitudinal Study

Frank Vellutino and Donna Scanlon


We report selected results from a longitudinal study of reading development.  Children were assessed on a variety of measures on their entry to kindergarten.  Their reading success was evaluated in first grade.  Further, characteristics of the language arts program to which the children were exposed in kindergarten were observed.  Measures administered in kindergarten were evaluated for their ability to predict first-grade reading achievement.  It was found that a child's ability to name letters in kindergarten was the strongest predictor of first-grade reading skill.  Among the nonreading measures, measures of linguistic processing skills, particularly phonological processing, were found to account for the largest proportion of variance in first-grade reading.  Several characteristics of the kindergarten language arts program were also found to be related to first-grade performance.  Further, some of these relationships varied depending on the risk status of the children for experiencing later reading difficulties as determined on the basis of the prediction aspect of the study.  For example, the proportion of time devoted to activities designed to attune children to the phonemic nature of language was related to first-grade reading success for "at risk" children, but not for children who were not identified as "at risk."

* Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 2, pp. 54-63, 1996.

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