Growing into literacy: Emergent literacy understandings prior to school

Year: 2004

Author: Young, Janelle

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Research has shown that young children begin to develop understandings about literacy in the prior-to-school period. Yet in Australia recognition of the possibilities for fostering early literacy within early childhood settings has been slow to gain approval. The study reported in this paper investigated young children's literacy understandings during preschool, two months before commencing school. One hundred and fourteen young children from three preschools in Brisbane, Australia participated in the study. Each child took part in a forty-five minute one-on-one interaction with an adult where a range of literacy-related tasks and assessment strategies were used. Young children's alphabetic knowledge, word recognition and concepts about print were measured. Results were analysed to determine how aspects of emergent literacy in preschool relate to one another and to children's age and gender. Results showed that patterns of development emerged and preschool children develop particular understandings about literacy in the prior-to-school period. Implications for home literacy practices and designing early literacy programs are drawn.