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Educators' literacy practices in two emergent literacy contexts

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-60
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


This study examined educators' strategies for promoting emergent literacy skills in early childhood classrooms and children's responses to these strategies. Educators' responses to items on a literacy questionnaire were correlated with the observed use of strategies. Twenty early childhood educators and 76 preschoolers participated in this study. Videotaped interactions of small-group storybook reading and a poststory writing activity were coded to capture the frequency of educators' and children's use of print references, alphabet letter names, alphabet letter sounds, and decontextualized language. A literacy questionnaire tapped educators' perceptions of their literacy facilitation practices in these same areas. Educators and children used more utterances that contained alphabet letter names and the sounds of letters during the poststory writing activity than during storybook reading. In contrast, they used higher frequencies of decontextualized language in storybook reading than in the writing activity. Educators' ratings of strategies to model letters, sounds, and prediction questions were correlated with educators' use of these strategies during videotaped interactions. Overall, the results of this study suggest that literacy-rich contexts in addition to storybook reading may be useful for promoting emergent literacy skills in early childhood classrooms. Professional development is required to improve educators' knowledge about emergent literacy facilitation skills and the diverse contexts in which it may be carried out.

    Research areas

  • early literacy, early literacy learning, early childhood educators, early childhood

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