Caption: A diagram of the intersections between math and English skills.

Do Math Skills predict English Skills?

By Ramanjot Singh ’20

Caption: A diagram of the intersections between math and English skills.
Caption: A diagram of the intersections between math and English skills.

Previous studies have been performed that detail the predictive power that mathematic assessments of children at an early age has on their future literacy skills and vice versa. However, the body of research primarily focuses on the progression of literacy skill development rather than assessing them at a specific time point later into the children’s’ lives. This study performed by Dr. David Purpura of the University of Purdue, focused on the predictive power of early mathematical assessment in preschool children for later literacy skills.

This study initially assessed preschool children of ages 3-5 years old on math, literacy, and other cognitive measures once in the fall and then again in the spring. Then these measurements were analyzed the relationship between the math score in the fall and the literacy score in the spring.

Upon analysis of the data it was concluded that the mathematical ability did contribute to the further development of literacy skills, however, it was determined that it may be a proxy when the actual predictor was their mathematical language ability. Furthermore, looking even deeper mathematical language skills may be a proxy for more profound knowledge of language.

Thus, this article worked to clarify the relationship math has for predicting literacy skills in a more detailed manner that accounts for more complex language skills and timeing that previous studies did not focus on.  



  1. D. Purpura, et. al., Why do early mathematics skills predict later reading? the role of mathematical language. Developmental Psychology, 53 1633-1642 (2017) doi:10.1037/dev0000375.
  2. Image retrieved from article

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