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The Relationship of Young Children's Motor Skills to Later School Achievement

This study examined empirical evidence about the relationship between motor skills at the beginning of kindergarten and reading and mathematics achievement at the end of first grade, using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten cohort national dataset (N = 12,583). Results of hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that early kindergarten motor skills, especially visual motor skills, add a small but unique amount of variance to achievement in reading and mathematics at the end of first grade even after controlling for ­initial skills and demographic information. Furthermore, ­Receiver-Operating-Characteristic curve analyses showed that information from visual motor skills is useful in identifying children at risk for academic underachievement. The results suggest the importance of the role that motor skills can play in designing and implementing an early school achievement battery.