Parents’ early school involvement is central to successful school transition. However, results of parenting programs aimed at improving kindergarten transition for children from disadvantaged backgrounds are inconclusive and the achievement gap is increasing. Using a family resilience model, we examine relationships between a set of parenting resilience and risk factors, Kindergarteners’ social-emotional readiness, and reading achievement in a sample of families with low-incomes using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K 1998-99) dataset.
Using Structural Equation Modeling, we estimated direct and indirect relationships between parenting processes and children’s social-emotional readiness and reading achievement. Parenting factors were latent variables in our model, and included parenting stress, discipline practices, family rules, parent-school involvement, home involvement, and cultural involvement. Mediating variables were indicators of social-emotional readiness including, approaches to learning, self-control, interpersonal skills, externalizing, and internalizing problem behaviors.
School involvement and approaches to learning directly influenced kindergarten reading achievement. Parenting stress was negatively related to reading achievement through approaches to learning. Parent-school involvement was positively related to achievement through approaches to learning and negatively through self-control. Approaches to learning partially mediated the relationship between parent-school involvement and reading outcomes, and fully mediated the relationship between parenting stress and reading outcomes.
Kindergarten children’s approaches to learning (attention, persistence, organization, and flexibility) may be a helpful focus of intervention for Kindergarten transition. For families with low SES, interventions that target parenting stress, approaches to learning, and reading achievement should be of particular concern for educators.