Development of the language proficiency of five- to seven-year-olds in rural areas

B. G. Poolman, P. P. M. Leseman, J. M. Doornenbal, A. E. M. G. Minnaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rural children are a largely understudied population in language and literacy research, despite the fact that these children often enter school with delays in their language development. Since most rural areas suffered from so-called selective rural outmigration, many parents in rural areas are lower or middle educated. The home literacy climate, however, depends not only on the educational level of parents, but also on their lifestyle. In this study, we examined whether parental educational level and literacy use – as a feature of parental lifestyle – predict the language skills of children in Grade 1 in Northeast Netherlands. Structural equation modelling analyses revealed that the effect of parental literacy use on code-related skills is only significant in K-1 and K-2. In Grade 1, however, literacy use had a modest effect on oral language skills. The findings stress the importance of parents’ literacy use for informational purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-777
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017


  • language development
  • children
  • rural areas


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