Literacy Behaviors of Preschool Children Participating in an Early Intervention Program
CIERA Inquiry 2: Home and School
Which pre-literacy and literacy skills do children demonstrate in fall and spring of their preschool year? Which pre-literacy and literacy skills specifically relate to dichotomous teacher predictions of later reading difficulty?
This report examines the teacher-reported early literacy behaviors of 2,759 preschool children who participated in a state-supported, early-intervention preschool program. Preschool teachers (n = 240) completed the Literacy Competence Checklist for all children in their classes. Teachers reported growth in children's literacy behaviors from fall to spring and shifts in commonly-displayed behaviors from general verbal language in the fall to word-level skills in the spring. Teachers' ratings of verbal comprehension and letter knowledge skills in the fall predicted whether they thought individual children would have difficulty learning to read in kindergarten. The results showed that teachers see young children as developing pre-literacy skills rapidly, even those children who are expected to have difficulty in the primary grades.
Parts of this study were presented at the 1999 meeting of the American Educational Research Association Conference in Montreal, Canada. We appreciate the contributions of James Heywood, Director, Elementary and Middle Education at the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Education, whose support made this study possible. We also thank the 240 preschool teachers who participated in this study; their contributions were essential.