Schooling Effects on Literacy Skills During the Transition to School

The current study used a regression discontinuity (RD) design to characterize more precisely the link between schooling and literacy by examining whether and how different grade-level, practice-as-usual schooling experiences uniquely predict specific literacy subskills during the transition to school. Data from 334 children revealed moderate positive effects of prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade schooling on decoding, while kindergarten and first grade schooling predicted comprehension skills. There was no significant effect of schooling at any grade level on expressive vocabulary or sound awareness. Results were robust to different RD estimation methods and highlight the heterogeneity of schooling effects on early literacy skill development. Implications for understanding early literacy development in the context of regular, public schooling are discussed.