Examining early literacy skill differences among children in head start via latent profile analysis

Kate E. Norwalk, James C. DiPerna, Pui Wa Lei, Qiong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to determine whether there are systematic differences in literacy skills among children from less-advantaged households, using latent profile analysis. Early reading skills were measured using the Early Arithmetic, Reading, and Learning Indicators (EARLI; DiPerna, Morgan, & Lei, 2007) literacy tasks. Participants (N = 166) were 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start. Results revealed three classifications of children: Profile 1 had the lowest overall literacy skill levels, with relative strength in expressive vocabulary and weaknesses in skills related to letter knowledge (i.e., Alphabet Recitation, Letter Naming); Profile 2 had the highest overall level of literacy skills and a relative strength on the Segmenting task; and Profile 3 showed the greatest variability across the EARLI probe scores, with a relative strength in Alphabet Recitation and weaknesses on tasks measuring phonemic and phonological awareness (i.e., Letter Sounds, Sound Deletion, and Segmenting). Repeated measures ANOVA revealed that, although students in each profile demonstrated skill growth over a 6-month period, significant skill differences still remained between profiles at the end of the preschool year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-183
Number of pages14
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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