+ Preschoolers Reading: One Modest Change Helps

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A Science Daily article reports on research done at Ohio Satate University which suggests that a small change in how teachers and parents read aloud to preschoolers can give children a big boost in later reading skills.

If parents and teachers simply make specific references to print in books as they read — pointing out letters or words or capital letters, showing that we read from left to right — a benefit shows up later on in school.

The study shows that preschool children whose teachers used print references during storybook reading showed more advanced reading skills one — and even two — years later, compared to children whose teachers did not use such references.

This is the first study to show causal links between referencing print and later literacy achievement.

Shayne Piasta, co-author of the study and assistant professor of teaching and learning as OSU says

Using print references during reading was just a slight tweak to what teachers were already doing in the classroom, but it led to a sizable improvement in reading for kids.

This would be a very manageable change for most preschool teachers, who already are doing storybook reading in class.

Piasta, along with Laura Justice, professor of teaching and learning at OSU, as well as Anita McGinty of the University of Virginia and Joan Kaderavek of the Univerity of Toledo, will publish the results in the April 2012 issue of the journal Child Development.

The study is part of the STAR (Sit Together and Read) project, a randomized clinical trial based at Ohio State to test the long- and short-term impacts associated with reading regularly to preschool children in the program.

Piasta also says it is particularly notable that students in the high-dose STAR classrooms scored higher on tests of reading comprehension.

How Do Print References Help Future Readers?

According to Piasta, research suggests print references help children learn the code and how these details relate to words and to meaning.

By showing them what a letter is and what a letter means, and what a word is and what a word means, we’re helping them to crack the code of language and understand how to read.

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sole source: un-bylined article at www.sciencedaily.com.  Journal reference: Shayne B Piasta, Laura M Justice, Anita S McGinty, Joan N Kaderavek, “Increasing Young Children’s Contact With Print During Shared Reading: Longitudinal Effects on Literacy Achievement.” Child Development, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j1467-8624.2012.01754.x  

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