Season of birth and reading problems
Foels, Patricia Ann
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Research investigating seasonal birth patterns and various psychological, educational, and/or social phenomena has for some time included the “summer birthday” issue in children’s early academic achievement. Specifically, there has been evidence that children born in the summer seem to be at an academic disadvantage – at least during early elementary school years – relative to children born at other times of the year. Several possible explanations for this phenomenon have been described in the literature, including those involving maturational and self-concept issues. The current study compared standardized reading test scores and birth patterns of approximately 1100 first, second, and third graders from Georgia and New Jersey. It was hypothesized that the students with summer birthdays (i.e., those in June, July, or August) would systematically show lower test scores on the reading measure compared to their fall, winter, or spring birthdate peers. The hypothesis was not supported; indeed, the results showed that students with fall birthdays obtained the lowest scores. Potential explanatory variables are discussed, as are the extant difficulties inherent in research of this type – including those that are a function of a given test’s norms.