It All Starts at Home: 'Home Reading Environment and Reading Outcomes in Rural China'
Background: The educational resources that parents provide at home are crucial to their children’s development. In this study, we focused on home reading environment, a key contributor to success rates regarding the mastery of reading skills. We aimed to investigate students’ home reading environments and examine its effect on the reading development of primary school students in rural China. Methods: We draw on a dataset composed of 10,740 randomly selected primary school students and their households in rural areas of Jiangxi province in China. Surveys were administered by trained enumerators in May 2015. Results: The results show that students exhibited quite poor reading environments and reading outcomes. Specifically, we found the majority of the rural students lacked reading and learning resources in the context of their families and their parents did not enjoy reading or support their children’s reading. Moreover, our regression analysis documented students with poorer home reading environments are more likely to have worse reading performance. Conclusion: Our study supports the significance of the home reading environment in the reading development of students in the upper elementary grades in rural China. Furthermore, the results suggest that the home reading environments of rural Chinese students must be improved.