Academic Commons

Theses Doctoral

Parental Reflective Functioning and Children’s Emergent Reading Skills: ERP and longitudinal behavioral measures

Lau, Airey Nga-Lui

The current study examined the correlations between parental reflective functioning and children’s phonological awareness and reading-related neural development (measured via a phoneme-processing experiment using EEG), and its utility as a predictor of children’s reading skills one year later when they have begun literacy education.
Fourteen pre-readers’ (mean age 4.51 years) phonological awareness and their parents’ reflective functioning skills were assessed, along with their EEG responses in a phoneme- processing task. Children’s phonological awareness and emergent reading skills were assessed again 12-15 months later, at the start of First Grade.
Left-lateralized neural indices were observed to be correlated with parental reflective functioning (PRF) and children’s later reading-related skills. Specifically, scores on measures of PRF: Interest & Curiosity were positively correlated with the N2 amplitude in the left temporal cortex (p = 0.049), and the P2 amplitude in the left temporal cortex was also correlated with children’s Phonological Awareness scores (p = 0.004) and with their Basic Reading scores (p = 0.002) one year later. Multiple linear regression analyses also revealed that scores on measures of PRF: Interest and Curiosity significantly predicted children’s future phonological awareness (p = 0.014) and basic reading skills (p = 0.002). This study is the first of its kind to identify correlations between parental engagement and neural indices of children’s pre-reading skills, and to reveal parental reflective functioning as a strong predictor of children’s later reading abilities.


  • thumnail for Lau_columbia_0054D_15117.pdf Lau_columbia_0054D_15117.pdf application/pdf 6.48 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Speech and Language Pathology
Thesis Advisors
Froud, Karen
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
March 1, 2019
Academic Commons provides global access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University, Barnard College, Teachers College, Union Theological Seminary and Jewish Theological Seminary. Academic Commons is managed by the Columbia University Libraries.