Children's behavioral regulation and literacy: The impact of the first grade classroom environment

Stephanie L. Day, Carol McDonald Connor, Megan M. McClelland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Classroom learning environments are an important source of influence on children's development, particularly with regard to literacy achievement and behavioral regulation, both of which require the coordination of task inhibition, attention, and working memory. Classroom observations were conducted in 18 schools and 51 first grade classrooms for 500 children. The non-instructional activities were recorded for each student in the classroom. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed that children with weaker fall behavioral regulation were more likely to attend classrooms where more time was spent in disruptions and wasted instructional time over the course of the school year, such as waiting for the teacher to gather materials before beginning instruction. For literacy outcomes, children who were in classrooms where more time in disruptions, transitions, and waiting was observed showed weaker literacy skill gains in the spring compared to children in classrooms with lesser amounts of such unproductive non-instructional time and this effect was generally greater for students with initial weaker skills. These results also reveal that the classroom environment and the incoming characteristics of the students themselves influence students' development of behavioral regulation and literacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Academic achievement
  • Behavior
  • Classroom environment
  • Executive functioning
  • Reading
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Children's behavioral regulation and literacy: The impact of the first grade classroom environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this