Analysis of emergent literacy and home literacy strategies of international preschoolers in Japan
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The purpose of the present study is to investigate the relationship between parent-child interaction during shared book reading and emergent reading behaviors of 4 and 5 year old bilingual children at an international preschool in Japan. More specifically, this study examines: 1) Parental beliefs held about education and literacy learning. 2) The parental structuring of time, material, and experiences in the child's home environment. 3) Emergent reading behaviors of bilingual children during storybook reading. 4) The different types of support parents provide for their children during reading that contribute to the level of reading achievement attained by preschoolers. Qualitative case study methods were used to investigate common features of the parent-child interaction during the storybook reading and the literacy environments the child experiences. The data analysis revealed the following: The Japanese mothers in the current study supported the principle of direct teaching of literacy skills and did not support the interdependency of reading and writing even though they are highly-educated and from middle and upper class families. The mediating styles and strategies they employed during the storybook reading are reflective of their beliefs. The findings reveal that the method of literacy learning is valued differently by sociocultural context, where diverse contexts adhere different values to the educational process, its immediate and long-range goals, and the kind of adults a community hopes these children will become. The results of this study indicated that storybook reading could be fostered through a most routine of family activities. Parental involvement relates the text and its background knowledge to a child's personal experience of the world since reading skills, here, are developed in the course of the reading itself, assistance from the mother by means of 'scaffolding' and through connecting the story's elements to a child's own life events. The bilingual preschoolers also developed emergent literacy strategies as a result of being immersed in a print-rich environment where they can interact with print in meaningful and purposeful ways. The results may offer suggestions for presenting a developmentally and culturally appropriate literacy-learning environment for preschoolers who are learning English outside of English-speaking countries.
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