Phonological Skills and Vocabulary Knowledge Mediate Socioeconomic Status Effects in Predicting Reading Outcomes for Chinese Children

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Abstract

This study examined the relations among socioeconomic status (SES), early phonological processing, vocabulary, and reading in 262 children from diverse SES backgrounds followed from ages 4 to 9 in Beijing, China. SES contributed to variations in phonological skills and vocabulary in children's early development. Nonetheless, early phonological and vocabulary abilities exerted equally strong and independent mediation of the SES effects on children's reading achievement by the end of 3rd grade for this Chinese sample. These findings not only replicate studies in alphabetic languages but, because of their longitudinal nature, also demonstrate the potential for interventions focused on improving children's early language skills, and at which ages these factors may have the greatest impact.

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