The impact of early maternal verbal scaffolding and child language abilities on later decoding and reading comprehension skills

Susan E. Dieterich, Mike A. Assel, Paul Swank, Karen E. Smith, Susan H. Landry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


This study examined, via structural equation modeling, early predictors of children's 8 year reading decoding and 10 year comprehension at later school age. Maternal verbal scaffolding indirectly influenced both decoding and comprehension, through its support of children's language abilities at 3 and 4 years of age. Additionally, there was a trend for a direct effect of 4 year child language on reading comprehension at 10 years. As maternal verbal scaffolding was assessed during every day routines, this suggests that rich language input in the broad social context of the home promotes language and, in turn, later reading skills. Given that maternal verbal scaffolding can be enhanced through interventions, these results have important educational implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-494
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006



  • Decoding
  • Early childhood
  • Language development
  • Parental input
  • Reading comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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