Ponitz, C. C., Rimm-Kaufman, S. E., Grimm, K. J., & Curby, T. W.

This study examined the extent to which kindergarteners’ classroom behavioral engagement mediated the relation between global classroom quality and children’s reading achievement. A structural equation framework was used to analyze data collected in a primarily low-income rural sample (N = 171). Children’s reading achievement was measured in the fall and spring of the school year. Observers rated the overall quality of teachers’ interactions with their students three times during the year. Children’s classroom behavioral engagement was based on several observations and end-of-year teacher ratings. Controlling for family sociodemographic risk and fall reading skill, higher classroom quality was expected to predict higher reading achievement, both directly and indirectly, through promoting behavioral engagement. Results from structural equation modeling supported the indirect effects solution only. Discussion highlights how classrooms providing rich, positive interactions predict literacy achievement by effectively engaging children.

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