Early Reading Skills and Academic Achievement Trajectories of Students Facing Poverty, Homelessness, and High Residential Mobility

Janette E. Herbers, J. J. Cutuli, Laura M. Supkoff, David Heistad, Chi Keung Chan, Elizabeth Hinz, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


This investigation tested the importance of early academic achievement for later achievement trajectories among 18,011 students grouped by level of socioeconomic risk. Students considered to be at highest risk were those who experienced homelessness or high residential mobility (HHM). HHM students were compared with students eligible for free meals, students eligible for reduced price meals, and students who were neither HHM nor low income. Socioeconomic risk and oral reading ability in first grade predicted growth of reading and math achievement in Grades 3 through 8. Risk status predicted achievement beyond the effects of early reading scores and also moderated the prediction of later growth in reading achievement from early oral reading. Results underscore the early emergence and persistence of achievement gaps related to poverty, the high and accumulating risk for HHM students, and the significance of oral reading in first grade as both an early indicator of risk and a potential protective factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-374
Number of pages9
JournalEducational Researcher
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by predoctoral fellowships awarded to J. J. Cutuli from the Center for Neurobehavioral Development (CNBD) at the University of Minnesota and from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; No. 5T323MH015755) and by grants to Ann S. Masten from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota and the National Science Foundation (NSF; No. 0745643). We would like to thank the administration, staff, and families of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), and particularly Margo Hurrle for her special efforts on behalf of homeless and highly mobile students in the MPS. The views and conclusions in this article represent the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CNBD, NIMH, CURA, NSF, or the MPS.


  • achievement
  • at-risk students
  • disparities
  • longitudinal studies
  • poverty
  • reading


Dive into the research topics of 'Early Reading Skills and Academic Achievement Trajectories of Students Facing Poverty, Homelessness, and High Residential Mobility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this