Volume 10(1), 2014-05, 5—21

The Role of Family on Pathways to Acquiring Early Reading Skills in Lusaka’s Low-Income Communities

Tamara Chansa-Kabali
University of Zambia
Department of Psychology
Lusaka, Zambia

Jari Westerholm
Niilo Mäki Institute
Jyväskylä, Finland

This paper reports findings from the study that examined the role of family in children's acquisition of early reading skills. We recruited 72 first-grade learners and their parents from low-income Zambian families for the study. In response to a home literacy questionnaire, parents reported on their reading attitudes and family literacy environment. Children's early reading skills were assessed using two early reading tests (orthographic awareness and decoding competence), both conducted at two different points during the year. Regression analyses of pretest and gain scores revealed that parental reading attitude and family literacy environment significantly predicted early reading skills. These findings suggest that the family is an important element in the children's process of learning to read. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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