Quality matters

Low-income fathers' engagement in learning activities in early childhood predict children's academic performance in fifth grade

Karen E. McFadden, Catherine Tamis-Lemonda, Natasha J. Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In a prospective, longitudinal investigation we examined fathers' engagement in learning activities with their children in early childhood in relation to children academic performance in 5th grade. Participants were 602 low-income, ethnically diverse biological fathers and their children from the National Early Head Start evaluation study. Fathers reported on their engagement with children in learning activities as well as their residency when children were two years, three years, and of preschool age; children were assessed on receptive language, reading and math skills in 5th grade. Children also reported on the quality of their relationship with one to two caregivers of their choice in 5th grade; 62% of children chose to report on their biological father and an additional 16% of children reported on a father figure. Mothers reported on biological father residency when children were in 5th grade. Fathers' engagement with children in learning activities predicted children's 5th grade academic performance after controlling for early and later father residency and children's report of the quality of their relationship with fathers or father figures. Children who reported positive relationships with either fathers or father figures in 5th grade also scored higher on various performance indicators of academic achievement. In contrast, father residency did not predict children's performance or moderate the influence of early engagement on children's performance. Fathers' participation in learning activities with young children has long-lasting associations with children's academic achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-130
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Science
Volume2
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Fingerprint

Fathers
father
low income
school grade
childhood
Learning
learning
performance
Internship and Residency
academic achievement
preschool age
Caregivers
caregiver

Keywords

  • children's academic performance
  • father involvement
  • low-income families

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Quality matters : Low-income fathers' engagement in learning activities in early childhood predict children's academic performance in fifth grade. / McFadden, Karen E.; Tamis-Lemonda, Catherine; Cabrera, Natasha J.

In: Family Science, Vol. 2, No. 2, 04.2011, p. 120-130.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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