Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Chris Trentacosta

Second Advisor

Ann Stacks


The purpose of this study was to better understand the protective effect that social support has on the development of reading in children from a range of SES backgrounds. Because other studies have suggested the importance of teacher quality on children's reading ability, this was also tested. This study utilized a sample taken from the public-use version of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), a large-scale, nationally representative sample of children attending kindergarten in the United States in the fall of the 1998-1999 academic year and their families, teachers, and schools. As expected, family SES and the availability of parental social support were important factors in determining children's reading ability. More specifically, when measured at concurrent time points, social support was found to have a unique buffering effect on the relationship between SES and children's reading ability such that higher amounts of parental social support served as a protective factor for the development of children's reading ability who were in lower SES family environments. Teacher quality as operationalized in the present study did not have a significant impact on the relationship between SES and children's reading ability. Latent growth mixture modeling was used to predict probable class membership in typologies of reading trajectories from the beginning of kindergarten through the end of eighth grade. Contrary to expectations, children's class membership in typology of reading trajectory over the school years was not found to vary by a combined measure of family SES and parental social support. The utility of conceptualizing parental social support as an integral contextual variable in the development of children's reading ability, especially those at-risk for reading delays, is discussed.

Included in

Psychology Commons