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Effects of Literacy Environment on Literacy Development of Kindergarten Children

Diane Corcoran Nielsen and Dianne L. Monson
The Journal of Educational Research
Vol. 89, No. 5 (May - Jun., 1996), pp. 259-271
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27542043
Page Count: 13
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Effects of Literacy Environment on Literacy Development of Kindergarten Children
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Abstract

Two issues surrounding kindergarten are constantly debated by parents, teachers, school boards, and state departments of education: age of entrance to kindergarten and curriculum. In this study, we focused on both issues in relation to literacy development. The purpose of the study was to examine two different kindergarten literacy frameworks (environment and events) and their effect on the literacy development of 83 children—with particular focus on a group of children who were younger than their peers upon entrance to kindergarten. Data were collected through teacher and student observations, teacher interviews, and pre- and postmeasures of literacy achievement. Data analysis revealed that the two teachers were noticeably different in terms of their use of time, behaviors, content focus, and stance (one-to-one, small groups, etc.); these differences reflect the teachers' literacy philosophy and their perceived freedom to make choices. There were also notable differences in how the children used their time. Children in the emergent literacy kindergarten, though considerably younger than the children in the reading readiness kindergarten, made significant gains in literacy achievement; this result supports the argument for enriched kindergarten literacy environments for children of any age, but particularly for children perceived as "at risk" because of their young age upon entrance to kindergarten.

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