Not all young children benefit from book exposure in preschool age. It is claimed that the ability to hold information in mind (short-term memory), to ignore distraction (inhibition), and to focus attention and stay focused (sustained attention) may have a moderating effect on children’s reactions to the home literacy environment. In a group of 228 junior kindergarten children with a native Dutch background, with a mean age of 54.29 months (SD = 2.12 months), we explored therefore the relationship between book exposure, cognitive control and early literacy skills. Parents filled in a HLE questionnaire (book sharing frequency and an author recognition checklist as indicator of parental leisure reading habits), and children completed several tests in individual sessions with the researcher (a book-cover recognition test, PPVT, letter knowledge test, the subtests categories and patterns of the SON, and cognitive control measures namely digit span of the KABC, a peg tapping task and sustained attention of the ANT). Main findings were: (1) Children’s storybook knowledge mediated the relationship between home literacy environment and literacy skills. (2) Both vocabulary and letter knowledge were predicted by book exposure. (3) Short-term memory predicted vocabulary over and above book exposure. (4) None of the cognitive control mechanisms moderated the beneficial effects of book exposure.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: May 9, 2010
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