The current study examines the organization of attention skills across the preschool year before kindergarten, and tests how distinct attention subcomponents predict early academic skills in a sample of low-income children (n = 99). Children completed well-validated attention tasks in fall at 4.5 years old and spring at 5 years old, capturing the abilities to selectively focus, sustain attention, and employ executive control. Exploratory factor analyses at both time points support a 2-factor model differentiating selective and sustained attention from attention processing speed and executive attention, suggesting that attention in low-income preschoolers may have a simpler organization than the 3-factor structure found in adulthood. Multiple regression models find children's ability to selectively focus and sustain attention serves as a robust concurrent and longitudinal predictor of academic skills. These results highlight the role of selective and sustained attention processes in supporting school readiness for economically vulnerable children.
- early academic skills
- exploratory factor analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience