Home Resources for Learning

In educational research, the factors related to parents’ or caregivers’ socioeconomic status are consistently related to students’ achievement.2,3,4,5,6 Socioeconomic status is often indicated through proxy variables such as parental level of education, income, and occupational class. Since the first PIRLS cycle in 2001, PIRLS has reported data on socioeconomic status indicators. In 2011, PIRLS developed the Home Resources for Learning scale based on parent and student responses to items focusing on parental education and occupation as well as home resources (e.g., books in the home, children’s books in the home, and home study supports). The Home Resources for Learning scale expands the classic conception of socioeconomic status to include home resources that have the potential to facilitate student learning.

Parents Like Reading

Parents who like reading and read themselves provide important role models for their children. Promoting reading in the home can foster children’s motivation to read as well as their reading achievement.7,8,9 Parents own reading behaviors and beliefs about reading can shape their child’s motivation to read.10 Socialization can be subtle (e.g., young children seeing adults reading or using texts in different ways learn to appreciate and use printed material) and this process can have long term effects on a student academic performance.11 PIRLS began collecting information on parents’ reading habits and enjoyment in 2001, and in 2011, created the Parents Like Reading scale. Indicators of parents liking reading include considering reading an important activity and reading for enjoyment often.

Language Spoken in the Home

It is common for some students to speak one language at home and another at school, especially among immigrant families. In addition, some parents prioritize multilingualism and make great efforts to ensure their child is exposed to more than one language in the home. Because learning to read is dependent on children’s early language experiences, the language or languages spoken at home and how they are used are important factors in reading literacy development.12 If students are not fluent in the language of instruction, often there is an initial learning gap because students must learn the concepts and content of the curricula through a new language.13,14 PIRLS has collected data on student language background at home since the first PIRLS cycle.