Purdue University Graduate School
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The Factor Structure of Parents’ Math-Related Talk and Its Relation to Children’s Early Academic Skills

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posted on 2022-09-01, 00:10 authored by Yemimah KingYemimah King


Early math skills, including numeracy and mathematical language (e.g., “less” and “a few”), are essential for later academic achievement. Children’s mathematical language knowledge is one of the strongest predictors of numeracy skills before kindergarten, suggesting that early exposure to math language is necessary. However, little work is focused on understanding how children are exposed to mathematical language within their early learning environments (e.g., while interacting with parents). The objective of this study was to investigate different constructs of parents’ talk (i.e., general talk, number talk, mathematical language) during math-related activity engagement with young children and examine how parents’ talk relates to children’s general vocabulary, numeracy skills, and mathematical language knowledge. Findings indicate that parents’ talk was best represented by a general talk, number talk, and mathematical language factor. Parents’ talk factors were not significantly related to their respective child outcomes (i.e., general vocabulary, numeracy skills, and mathematical language knowledge). However, parents used more general language when their children had higher numeracy skills but used more mathematical language when they had lower numeracy skills. This study provides initial evidence that parents’ number talk and mathematical language use are distinct constructs of parents’ talk that may expose children to different aspects of mathematical understanding.


ACF/HHS Grant #: 90YR0123


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Human Development and Family Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

David Purpura

Additional Committee Member 2

Sarah Eason

Additional Committee Member 3

Robert Duncan

Additional Committee Member 4

Arielle Borovsky

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