E-merging literacy: assisting parents to scaffold the emerging literacy skills of their pre-school-aged children through the use of electronic storybooks
Coyne, Margaret Ann
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The importance of parents reading to their young child is well supported by research (Heath, 1986). However, Edwards (1989) found that parents whose own literacy skills are emerging have difficulty supporting the emerging literacy skills of their young children through storybook reading. The development of a new paradigm, Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (Meyer & Rose, 1998; Rose & Meyer, 2002) provides a framework for the use of computer technology to support learning. Drawing on Vygotsky's (1978; 1986) socioconstructive theory of learning and the latest advances in the neurosciences, UDL investigates how technology can support diverse learners. This study examined whether UDL-based technology might help parents who are themselves emerging readers support their children's literacy development. The purpose of this ABA single-subject design study was to determine whether parents, whose own literacy skills are emerging and who want to learn more about reading to their children, can benefit from a five-week instructional approach that uses electronic stories with text-to-speech and embedded prompts to scaffold the emerging literacy skills of their pre-school-aged children. The embedded prompts support parents in the use of three storybook reading behaviors: 1) labeling pictures, 2) making connections between the children's own experiences and the text, and 3) prediction. The sample for this study included three mothers and their pre-school-aged sons who were enrolled in Head Start. Data analysis included examination of changes in parents' storybook reading behaviors and changes in children's language, literacy knowledge and behaviors. Transcripts of parents' language samples recorded while reading stories to their children were coded for targeted language behaviors using NVivo (1999). Using the Software for Analyzing English and Spanish Language Samples (1986), children's pre, during, and post-intervention language samples during storybook reading and story retelling were analyzed. In addition, Morrow's (1985) Story Retelling Rubric and Concepts About Print (Clay, 2000) were measured pre- and post-intervention. When parents use of targeted storybook reading behaviors increased, if their children's pre-intervention scores on language measures were below age-level, the children's scores on post-intervention measures improved to age-level or above. In addition, the children's scores on measures of story retelling and print knowledge improved.
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