Core Task 2: We measure the effects of school, home, and peer contexts on children's literacy behaviors, motivation, and growth.

Examples of work falling under this core research task include:

Capotosto, L., & Kim, J. S. (2016). Literacy discussions in low-income families: The effect of parent questions on fourth graders’ retellings. First Language, 36(1), 50-70.

This study examines the effects of four types of reading comprehension questions – immediate, non-immediate, summary, and unanswerable questions – that linguistically diverse and predominantly low-income parents asked their fourth graders on children’s text retellings. One-hundred-twenty (N = 120) parent and child dyads participated in a home visit study in which they talked about narrative and informational texts. Moderation analyses indicated that immediate questions and non-immediate questions had a more positive effect on student retellings of an informational text and a narrative text, respectively, for less proficient than more proficient readers. These findings suggest that parents may be able to help their children, particularly less proficient readers, with text memory and text comprehension by asking specific types of questions.

Cooc, N., & Kim, J. S. (2016). Peer influence on children's reading skills: A social network analysis of elementary school classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology.  

Research has found that peers influence the academic achievement of children. However, the mechanisms through which peers matter remain underexplored. The present study examined the relationship between peers’ reading skills and children’s own reading skills among 4,215 total second- and third-graders in 294 classrooms across 41 schools. One innovation of the study was the use of social network analysis to directly assess who children reported talking to or seeking help from and whether children who identified peers with stronger reading skills experienced higher reading skills. The results indicated that children on average identified peers with stronger reading skills and the positive association between peer reading skills and children’s own reading achievement was strongest for children with lower initial levels of reading skills. The study has implications for how teachers can leverage the advantages of peers via in-class activities.

Kingston, H. C., Kim, J. S., Burkhauser, M. A., Mulimbi, B., Quinn, D. M. (in preparation). Does the quality of children’s oral retellings of narrative and informational texts predict transfer to standardized reading comprehension tests? Veneziano, E. & Nicolopoulou, A. (Eds). Narrative, literacy, and other skills: Studies in intervention. Studies in Narrative [SiN] Series: John Benjamin Press.

This study assesses whether oral retells of a narrative and informational text during the summer following third grade predicted performance on reading comprehension in the fall of fourth grade. To assess comprehension of a narrative and an informational text, 52 teachers called 117 third-grade students over the summer and asked them to provide an oral retelling of two books. All students were participating in a summer literacy intervention called READS for Summer Learning (READS). Content unit analysis was performed for oral retellings of narrative and informational books from the READS lessons. Our results indicate that performance on oral retell tasks predicts performance on measures of reading comprehension. The percentage of total content units recalled from the narrative texts positively predicted fall comprehension scores after controlling for pre-test scores. In addition, the percentage of content units recalled on the narrative text was also a predictor of narrative comprehension sub-test scores, though the percentage of content units recalled on the informational text was not a significant predictor of informational subtest scores. This study lends further empirical evidence of the link between oral retellings and later reading comprehension and extends prior research by examining possible links between both narrative and informational oral discourse skills and reading skills.