This study looked at the effects of phonological preparedness and vocabulary size in children, who just started primary school, on their progress in reading at the end of the first grade while controlling for other factors that can be related to increasing or decreasing reading achievements (such as SES, parenting activities and noncognitive development of children). The study was conducted using data from the iPIPS project which assesses the preparedness of children for schooling and their progress at the end of the first school year. The sample consisted of 2740 first-graders living in two large Russian cities (Krasnoyarsk and Kazan) whose reading skills were assessed twice, at the beginning and at the end of the 2014–2015 school year. The results demonstrated that low levels of phonological ability and vocabulary are related to lower results not only for those who just started learning to read (as is suggested by the theoretical framework of reading skills acquisitions) but also for children who already have basic reading skills or read well. To compensate for this, special teaching approaches might be needed. Among family factors the main predictors or reading results were the level of the father’s education and language at home. Parenting activities related to reading were divided into informal (reading a book, discussing a book, reading street signs out loud during walks etc.) and formal (deliberate teaching of letters and writing letters or words), with informal activities being a significant predictor of reading outcomes at the end of the first year. Conclusions and limitations of the study are discussed.
The introduction gives a review of current approaches to teaching reading in a foreign language at a university level developed in Western and Russian research. It describes the goals of the book and explains its structire.