Early literacy in Arabic: the role of SES, home literacy environment, mothers’ early literacy beliefs and estimation of their children’s literacy skills

Safieh Muhamad Hassunah-Arafat, Dorit Aram, Ofra Korat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study focuses on the beliefs of Arabic-speaking mothers in Israel relating to early literacy, and the relations between their beliefs and their children’s actual early literacy skills. Participants included 113 mothers and their 5–6-year-old preschool children. At the families’ homes, mothers reported about the richness of the home literacy environment (HLE), their general beliefs relating to the importance of the literacy environment and their specific estimations of their child’s letter knowledge, phonological awareness, word writing and reading. In preschools, we assessed children’s letter knowledge, phonological awareness, word writing and reading. Results showed that mothers were aware of their children’s early literacy skills yet they over-estimated them. In a series of hierarchical regression analyses, we found that family socio-economic status (SES) significantly explained all of the children’s early literacy skills. Beyond SES, richness of the HLE contributed to most of the assessed literacy skills. Mothers’ general beliefs regarding the importance of the HLE and their estimation of their child’s literacy skills explained children’s skills beyond SES and HLE. The study has educational implications relating to the promotion of children’s early literacy skills in Arabic within the family.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2603-2625
Number of pages23
JournalReading and Writing
Volume34
Issue number10
Early online date23 Apr 2021
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Suha Atamna for her contribution in thinking about the course of the research and collecting the data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.

Keywords

  • Early literacy
  • Literacy environment
  • Parents’ beliefs
  • SES

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