Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of this study was to look beyond the general effect that intelligence and environment have upon the development of reading and investigate (a) differences in how accelerated readers and nonreaders perform on written language tasks and (b) differences in written language experiences provided in the home environment, as reported by parents, associated with the development of accelerated reading abilities. Due to the broadness of the term written language, only four aspects of written language were examined (i.e., awareness of concepts about print, awareness of print in the environment, awareness of letter/sound correspondences in words--invented spelling, and awareness during story reading episodes--story recall). Thirty 4- and 5-year-old intellectually superior children who resided in supportive home environments participated in the study. The sample was comprised of 15 accelerated readers and 15 nonreaders. All subjects were administered four tasks which measured each of the written language areas. In addition, mothers of all subjects were administered a parent questionnaire comprised of 24 descriptive and 245 quantitative questions which examined experiences in the home environment associated with the four written language areas. Results indicated that accelerated readers performed significantly better than nonreaders on two (i.e., print in the environment and invented spelling) of the four tasks than nonreaders. Significant differences were also found in two areas on the parent questionnaire. Mothers of accelerated readers reported providing more opportunities in the home environment related to concepts about print and story recall than mothers of nonreaders. To further examine associations that existed between significant differences in performance on the tasks and significant differences in opportunities reported in the questionnaire constructs, related analysis was conducted. Results indicated that opportunities provided in the home environment related to story recall and concepts about print could be associated with the ability of accelerated readers to read print in the environment and engage in invented spelling tasks.