Early Literacy Skills

Early Literacy Skills

Adalet Biltekin (Ankara University, Turkey) and Müdriye Yildiz Biçakçi (Ankara University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2952-2.ch014

Abstract

Early literacy skills are related to many developmental areas of children such as language development and motor development. The development of children's early literacy skills affects their future development of literacy. Therefore, teachers should promote children's early literacy skills. In addition, the activities of conscious parents with their children positively affect their early literacy development. Based on these, it is important to address the issue of early literacy. For this reason, the definition of early literacy and concepts related to early literacy, the importance of early literacy, the factors which affect early literacy skills, the development process of early literacy, educational approaches related to early literacy, promotion of early literacy skills are included in this book chapter.
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Introduction

Being literate, that is, being able to acquire literacy skills, is a process which requires many preliminary skills and these preliminary skills are defined as early literacy skills (Karaman, 2014).

It has been approved by many researchers that early literacy skills were acquired earlier in kindergarten and associated with many developmental areas such as language development and motor development (Teale & Sulzby, 1986).

Studies have shown that early literacy skills affect the development and success of children about literacy (Burke et al., 2009; Catts et al., 2002; Spira et al., 2005, Utchell et al., 2016).

For example, Spira et al. (2005) conducted a study in a preschool with low-income families, and it was concluded that about 70% of children who lacked these pre-skills in the first grade had significant problems about reading in the fourth grade. It was also found that the lack of early literacy skills made it difficult for the child to close this gap with their peers over time. In another study, reading performance of children with language disorders was evaluated in the longitudinal study. As a result, it was stated that children’s experience and knowledge about literacy in preschool period affect their reading achievement in primary school (Catts et al., 2002).

In another longitudinal study, children’s early literacy skills in kindergarten age and literacy skills in primary school were evaluated. According to this study, it is concluded that performance related to early literacy skills affects reading performance up to the third grade of primary school (Utchell et al., 2016). In another study, early literacy skills of kindergarten children and reading performance of children up to second grade were evaluated. As a result of the studies and evaluations, it was concluded that early literacy skill performance of children was predictive of reading performances in the second grade of primary school (Burke et al., 2009). These studies show that early literacy skills are related to reading skills in primary school. There are many studies concluded that children’s achievement level in primary school is related to following academic achievement (Hernandez, 2011; Juel, 1988, Lloyd, 1978). For instance, a longitudinal study showed that children’s’ learning experience up to the third year of primary school affect their possibility to drop out or successfully attend of high school (Lloyd, 1978). According to another longitudinal study which was conducted in Texas with 54 children, 80% of children with low literacy skills had also low literacy skills in the fourth grade and 87% of the children with moderate literacy skills in the first grade had also moderate literacy skills in the fourth grade (Juel, 1988). According to Hernandez (2011), one out of every six children in the third grade who do not have sufficient reading skills did not graduate without failure of a class and this failure rate was four times higher than children with good reading skills.

In order to develop children’s’ literacy skills and provide them to succeed in their following education life, teachers should be aware of early literacy and especially contribute to the development of kindergarten children in the most appropriate way (Snow et al., 1998). It is important to address and draw attention to the issue of early literacy. For this reason, the definition of early literacy and concepts related to early literacy, the importance of early literacy, the factors which affect early literacy skills, the development process of early literacy, educational approaches related to early literacy, promotion of early literacy skills are included in this book chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dialogic Reading: It is the strategy of parents to read more effectively when reading with children.

Marie Clay: New Zealand psychologist person who defined the term of emergent literacy.

Phonics: Educational approach focusing on the ability to read the sounds of letters.

Arnold Gesell: An American psychologist who argues that children must reach a certain maturity in order to learn to read and write.

Phonological Awareness: The ability to combine, separate and manipulate the sounds of words.

Emergent Literacy: It has the same meaning as early literacy. It is all the experience that contributes to the literacy skills of children before formal education.

Reading Readiness: The ideal age at which a child is mature enough to learn to read and write.

Print Awareness: The ability to recognize the functions of the text and the ability to distinguish how the text is organized, such as writing from left to right, top to bottom.

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