MSU study links 'self-regulation' with early development of language and literacy skills

May 26, 2018

(file photo)
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New research from Michigan State University finds children develop language and literacy skills at a young age, in part due to their ability to “self-regulate.”

Self-regulation refers to a child’s ability to pay attention to tasks. 

Lori Skibbe is an associate professor in MSU’s Human Development and Family Studies department. She led a study of language and literacy skills among more than 300 children.

“Those children who were developing self-regulation earlier wound up having higher language and literacy skills at every time point we studied from pre-school through second grade,” says Skibbe.

Skibbe says some children naturally develop self-regulation skills early. But she says parents can help children learn self-regulation by reducing distractions, like television, when they are learning to read.

“Frankly for all of us, it’s easier to focus on our tasks if we don’t have background noise,” says Skibbe.

The study appears in the journal Early Childhood Research Quarterly.