Scaffolding Emergent Literacy Skills in Pre-kindergarten Through Writing Instruction

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Thompson, Penny S.
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Middle Tennessee State University
The early years of a child's life are critical for developing emergent literacy skills to be successful in school entry, continuing higher education, and future career. Core early literacy skills that a child needs to become a successful reader are oral language, alphabet knowledge, and phonological awareness in addition to print awareness, sound-symbol recognition, and word identification. The reading and writing connection has been researched, and findings indicate that writing enhances early reading skills. The early grades of pre-k and kindergarten are foundational years for building reading and writing skills, and are especially important for children with language needs. An exhaustive search in this review identified the lack of quantitative research in the area of early childhood writing, with only 19 studies found considering writing instruction in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Few quantitative studies have been published on writing instruction in the early grades with emergent learners of literacy. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of interactive reading and writing intervention when implemented by pre-kindergarten teachers working in the classroom setting for improving reading skills through adult scaffolded writing opportunities. Participants were 174 pre-kindergarten students enrolled in a state funded pre-k program, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and typical peers. In the current study, a 13-week intervention was implemented using a developed scope and sequence focused on targeted literacy skill concepts, explicit instruction taught through scripted lesson plans involving sociocultural storybooks, and implementation through an interactive reading and writing framework. Results of this research suggest that children
participating in the interactive reading and writing intervention exhibited greater gains in reading outcomes of phonemic awareness, print knowledge, and sound knowledge as compared to children who did not receive the intervention. Writing outcomes on the standardized measure were not significant for the pre-k participants; however, reading outcomes were significant with both standardized and formal measures on phonemic awareness and sound knowledge. Reading outcomes for English language learners were significant for phonemic awareness, but not with other literacy skills. Students with disabilities did not show improvement with reading or writing outcomes.
Emergent literacy, Interactive writing, Pre-kindergarten, Reading instruction, Scaffolded writing, Writing instruction