Rethinking the Link Between Maternal Education, Reading with Children, and Verbal Achievement

Sara Raley, McDaniel College

Analyzing data on 2,325 children (0-12) from the 1997 nationally representative Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, this study takes a more nuanced look at the link between maternal education, children's time spent reading with parents, and verbal achievement. Reading with parents is positively associated with verbal development among preschool-aged children, but negatively associated with verbal achievement among school-aged children. At this latter age, parent-child reading seems to be some sort of remedial assistance for children who are struggling, and children of highly educated mothers get this kind of help at higher rates than other children. We generally think of the advantages conferred by highly educated parents as some sort of fast-tracking that helps their already advantaged children pull even further ahead. This finding suggests the children of highly educated mothers may also be advantaged in that their parents are more likely to intervene when they fall behind.

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Presented in Poster Session 6