Oral narrative skills: explaining the language-emergent literacy link by race/ethnicity and SES

Author(s): Gardner-Neblett, Nicole; Iruka, Iheoma U.

Date: 2015

Pages: p. 889-904

Although children’s early language skills have been found to predict literacy outcomes, little is known about the role of preschool oral narrative skills in the pathway between language and emergent literacy or how these associations differ by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. The current study uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study to explore how language at age 2 is associated with narrative skills at age 4 and emergent literacy outcomes at age 5 for a nationally representative sample of children. Findings demonstrate that early language is associated with narrative skills for most children. Oral narrative skills were found to mediate the pathway between early language and kindergarten emergent literacy for poor and nonpoor African American children. Implications for children’s literacy development and future research are discussed.

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