Against the backdrop of rapidly growing attention to FL learners’ emotions, the present study investigated learners’ classroom emotions (anxiety, boredom, and enjoyment), literacy outcomes (reading and writing proficiency), and a largely neglected factor in FL emotions research to date – maternal education as a proxy for socio-economic status. One hundred and ninety-one Grade-three/four EFL learners from Hong Kong participated in this study. These learners completed a questionnaire about their classroom emotions, and reading and writing tests. Their parents/guardians attended individual interviews in which the highest level of maternal education was elicited. Overall, the results showed that maternal education and enjoyment were significantly associated with reading and writing proficiency. The contribution of maternal education to literacy outcomes was partially mediated by enjoyment, but not anxiety and boredom. The importance of maternal education and enjoyment are highlighted and discussed. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.