Natalia Palacios, Northwestern University
Katarina Guttmannova, Northwestern University
Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Northwestern University
Abstract: Given the paucity of research in the early developmental outcomes of immigrant children, this paper explores whether reading trajectories vary by the generational status of immigrant children as they enter kindergarten through the third grade. Using longitudinal data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, we explore whether there are initial differences between first, second and third generation children in their level of reading achievement at the spring of kindergarten. We also explore potential differences among the various immigrant groups in the rate of growth in reading achievement between kindergarten and third grade. The results indicate that first and second generation children have higher achievement scores at the spring of kindergarten than third generation children after controlling for the time at which they became English language proficient. The rate of growth indicates that first generation children grow in their reading achievement at a faster rate than third generation children. Second generation children don't show this effect until the time at which the child became English language proficient is controlled. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine the influence of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, parenting factors, and early childcare conditions on the relationship between immigration status and reading achievement trajectories. Maternal education appears to reduce the slight advantage that first generation children have over third generation children in the spring of kindergarten. The advantage of second generation children relative to third generation children is not eliminated, even after controlling for maternal education, poverty status, family structure and parenting practices, and early childcare and schooling factors.