Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)


Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Ralph E. Cash

Second Advisor

Sarah Valley-Gray

Third Advisor

Nurit Sheinberg


emergent literacy, home literacy environment, literacy, phonological awareness, Stony Brook Family Reading Survey, Woodcock Johnson


The purpose of this study is to identify factors in the home literacy environment using the Stony Brook Family Reading Survey (SBFRS) in order to understand the extent to which these factors predict phonemic awareness and other basic reading skills, as assessed by selected subtests from the Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ III). The present study used archival data to examine the home literacy habits of a sample of parents and preschool children ages 3-5 years (range in months= 36-67) from a private and a public preschool with a combination of high- and low-income backgrounds and various ethnicities. Using exploratory factor analyses with 165 participants, three dimensions of family reading behavior were identified from the SBFRS including Home Reading Emphasis, Adult Responsibility, and Parental Academic Expectations. Each of the SBFRS rotated factors considered together in a stepwise multiple regression analysis contributed significantly over and above age to the prediction of phonological awareness as measured by the Phonemic Awareness 3 (PA3) Cluster from the WJ III. The best order of predictors for PA3 of the WJ III, with stepwise entry, included Factor 1: Home Reading Emphasis, Factor 3: Parental Academic Expectations, and Factor 2: Adult Responsibility. One of the SBFRS rotated factors, Factor 1: Home Reading Emphasis, considered in a stepwise multiple regression analysis using age as a covariate contributed significantly to the prediction of basic reading as measured by the Basic Reading Skills (BRS) Cluster of the WJ III [WJ III BRS=.38+.26(Factor1)]. Results demonstrate the importance of the aforementioned factors in relation to the prediction of emergent literacy. Future studies are needed to investigate parental expectations, adult responsibility for child outcomes, the impact of fathers, and the importance of dominant home language on the emergence of literacy. Revision of the SBFRS, in addition to studies that include a wider range of SES, racial/ethnic, and linguistic groups, would help to standardize the measure for future use.

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