The Foundations of Literacy

Lorna G. Hamilton, Marianna E. Hayiou-Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Taking a bioecological approach, this chapter focuses on the key proximal processes implicated in laying the foundations for literacy development, that is, language- and print-related interactions with adults during the preschool years. Phonological skills, coupled with the “alphabetic insight” that written letters correspond to sounds in spoken language, provide the foundation for the code-based aspects of literacy. The quantity and quality of language that young children hear is a major influence on their language development, and the literature has established clear associations between parental language input and children's language levels. A substantial body of research has linked aspects of the home literacy environment to precursor skills for literacy and thus, indirectly, to reading outcomes. The chapter considers four potential constraining factors: family socioeconomic status, parental attitudes to literacy and education, family risk of dyslexia, and family health.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science of Reading
Subtitle of host publicationA Handbook
EditorsMargaret J. Snowling, Charles Hulme, Kate Nation
PublisherWiley-VCH Verlag
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781119705116
ISBN (Print)9781119705093
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Family health
  • Family socioeconomic status
  • Home literacy environment
  • Language development
  • Literacy development
  • Parental attitudes
  • Parental language
  • Phonological skills

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