Early childhood literacy
Over the decades, through vigorous research on early childhood literacy, an assertion that children acquire literacy skills before formal education has been made. The parents, guardians, and caregivers of the children are often the first “teachers” that the children meet. As a result, they play a critical role in the overall literacy development of children, equipping them for formal education. Standard practices such as reading a bedtime story and encouraging the children to practice reading out aloud do not only assist in preparing children for early childhood education, but it also impacts their literacy success throughout their school from early years into adulthood.
The dynamics of the community and indeed the family structure has transformed the life of the children in their homes, further affecting the acquisition of early literacy as a substantial amount of children are denied environments that support early literacy activities in their households such as reading. Thus, the shift has necessitated the establishment of various early childhood literacy programs. Nonetheless, it is critical to note that despite the early childhood education projects having a significant impact on early childhood literacy by providing early learning as well as equipping young learners for formal education, they do not cater for all students. As a result, a significant portion of the children in Southeast Asia lacks pivotal literacy skills that they require to succeed in formal education. These gaps in the society necessitate the preparation of educators to address a wide variety of challenges to ensure that all students, regardless of their academic background and ability, meet the achievement standards for each grade level. Thus, asserting the importance of implementing literacy interventions to support educators by various stakeholders, including the schools and parents, to enable them to adequately cater for the literacy needs of each of the students regardless of their literacy level when they enroll for formal education for the first time.
Table of Contents
Evidence and Impact of acquiring Literacy skills in Early Childhood on academic success
When a student provided with any form of information from instructions to descriptions to corrections, it is paramount that they can read and comprehend the information so they can act on it appropriately. It is therefore crucial that young learners are taught reading and writing to facilitate literacy formation from a tender age through to adolescence, ensuring that they emerge as literate and competent adults. In the 21st century, the dynamics of society have asserted the importance of literacy, as it is the core skill required for survival. Therefore, students who are limited in their ability to read and write are bound to struggle in all subjects’ areas as they are unable to comprehend the content. The challenges result in academic frustrations for the learners who eventually develop negative attitudes towards education; in some cases, the students choose to drop out of school.
Introducing reading and writing to children long before they join elementary school can significantly increase reading comprehension, which in turn increases literacy development in the learners. Thus, scholars in literacy acquisition and development advocate for parents, guardians, and caretakers to read to preschoolers to boost their success levels when they attend elementary school (Anderson & Cheung, 2003). According to Lawson (2012), a child who lacks exposure to reading in the household by parents, guardians, and caregivers, starts school at a disadvantage compared to those who have been exposed to reading and writing before they attend elementary school. Moreover, children develop positive attitudes on reading and education in general when exposed to reading at a tender age, especially in their households where they are most comfortable. Children, who attend elementary school settings only presented to reading for the first time in a new environment with new characters, namely, teachers, are bound to take time to adjust to the unique setting and education provided. Thus, educators and learning institutions must explore and implement a wide variety of interventions in educating the children to facilitate reading and literacy development.
Furthermore, the educators need to understand and consider the needs of the families from which the students come from, long before the children attain the school-going age to ensure that all students receive the quality of education they require to facilitate academic success. Educational learners must make education equitable. For years, Scholars had conducted extensive research that has revealed and recommended pre-reading in the household, as it creates the educational advantage of young learners in early years and adulthood. In this regard, further studies conducted to determine how the parental implementation of reading affects literacy levels in students. Roberts (2005) asserts the importance of understanding the role of home literacy practices in literacy development during early years preschool as it has significant implications for the literacy success of the children.
Early childhood described as a crucial period within a child’s life at it is at this time that children develop extensively in various non-cognitive and cognitive domains. Numerous debates have been carried out to determine as to what is of more importance to a child, between nurturing and nature. Therefore, researchers in both the education and health sector have provided adequate evidence to support the arguments that children require both characters and nurturing to develop. As a result, numerous theories developed to describe the development process of children to determine what aspects are most crucial to the development of a child’s brain. For instance, Ecological theories of development argue that growth is dependent on the various environmental exposures for children. Despite the numerous methods that have been developed over the decades, there is one crucial issue in educational research and current politics, which is to determine the effects of learning in early childhood alongside the quality and quantity of early education and non-parent al care. In southeast Asia, public expectations of children’s abilities once introduced to formal education is high. Thus, enormous pressure is exerted on non-familial education settings as expected to contribute to increasing the education level of all children as well as creating an opportunity for quality for children that is associated with literacy and socio-economic status of their parents.
Furthermore, various stakeholders in the education section in South East Asian countries have initiated research on the effects of early childhood education on the development of the children. The aim is to determine if children who attend early childhood education have high cognitive abilities as opposed to children not exposed to early childhood education—further learning the importance and role of early childhood education in childhood development in the present and future. As Southeast Asia aspires to create equal opportunities for students in the region as well as attempt to compete at the same level as members of the international community, various stakeholders in the region are advocating for early childhood education. The focus is to ensure that children in the area develop cognitively at similar levels with children in the United States and European countries. In this regard, the following research focuses on “Evidence and Impact of acquiring Literacy skills in Early Childhood on academic success” while concentrating on South East Asia. The focus of the research article is to convince societies to re-evaluate the school curriculums to include early childhood education as a means of increasing literacy levels and ensure that students that pass through the education system in South East Asia can effectively compete with students from across the world. As much as the article aims at creating change in South East Asia, it is critical to note that the limitation in available data on the subject matter that relies on data from Southeast Asia is limited. Therefore, relying on global data provides more insight into the subject matter as well as increases the accuracy of the research findings.
Reading comprehension is defined as the ability of a student to read for knowledge and understanding. At the same time, literacy development describes the overall scope of writing and reading skills as well as skills in emergent literacy, including phoneme blending, phonological awareness, segmenting skills, and competency in print concepts such as spelling. In southeast Asia, literacy rates as still low despite continued promotion by literacy advocates to promote literacy concepts in children as early as one year old. Pre-school educators and grading systems in elementary school focus on developing emergent literacy skills and oral language skills proven to support the process of reading in early learners. Developing Emergent(2003) argues that learning practices implemented in support of findings that reveal that reading challenges are commonly identifiable in young learners. As a result, learning difficulties not detected in early childhood education as a result of the children not attending early childhood school. Later pose a major abyss in learning for the students as they may progress without receiving the specialized care they require, which needs to commence at early childhood school.
When dealing with students with learning challenges, educators must provide extra attention in the early years of education to avoid the ripple effect it has on their academic success in the future. It is critical to note that despite reading being primarily governed by cognitivist, impacted by affective functions. Furthermore, research reveals that the two are interrelated as they are not independent of each other.
With these in mind, multiple factors considered that is a crucial part of the affective domain, such as motivation, interest, attitudes, enjoyment, personal interests, self-concept, and values (Garrett, 2002). For children to develop a culture of reading for entertainment, they must make a connection with books and the reading process, hence doing the reading for pleasure a continuation of the learning process. Report (2000) argues that the extent of successful reading in children is directly related to their perceptions and attitudes towards reading. Also, environmental factors and personal attributes harm children’s attitudes towards reading.
Garrett (2002) lists the elements influencing children’s attitudes on reading as parents, instructional practices, test intelligence, gender, socio-economic status, self-concept, achievement, and persona interests. These elements are particularly essential for education to consider when developing a reading curriculum for schools and specific grades.
There is an existing relationship between the academic performance of students and the skills they possessed when they joined the elementary school. For instance, research findings have indicated that there is a ninety percent probability that a poor reader in the first grade expected to be a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade. Furthermore, children who have acquired knowledge of the letters in the alphabet as they join elementary school are a reliable indicator that they will have strong reading capabilities in the 10th grade (Boyer, 1991).
Equipping the educators with the various factors that influence the success of literacy education as well as understanding the students ‘attitudes towards reading, significantly benefits the literacy gains of individual students. Reason being that the educator does not apply a blanket strategy on the learners but rather develops specialized approaches to deal with the diverse needs of each of the learners. Educators must be equipped with the information and skills to implement literacy education best practices into the school curriculum as well as daily lessons. By doing so, the educators will not only succeed in producing literate students but also play a critical role in building a culture and love for reading, which will benefit the students in various stages of their lives. It is crucial for education leaders to make consideration for their role in the literacy development of learners as ideals of children developing literacy skills before elementary school are limited.
In Southeast Asia, early childhood learning or early childhood care and education (ECCE) influenced by various factors. Some of these factors have facilitated the development of ECCE in the region while others have acted as an abyss. In this regard, it is crucial to understand the underlying issues that influence and affect early childhood education in the region—evidence and Impact of acquiring Literacy skills in Early Childhood on academic success.
- What is the Impact and implications of acquiring Literacy skills in Early Childhood on academic success?
- Does acquiring literacy skills in Early Childhood affect children further down the line as they progress in school
The research project has numerous objectives as it designed to focus on significant aspects of early childhood learning and their role in the future success of students both in the education system and professionally.
In this regard, the research is crucial to various stakeholders in the Education sector across the world. Thus, the following objectives pursued in the study.
- Determine the effect of theories in early childhood literacy perspectives, design, and implementation across the world
- Determine the impact of early childhood education on children. Does early childhood literacy create a gap between children of the same age? Does early literacy skills increase the chances of educational success of the children in the future?
- Determine the evidence used to make decisions on early childhood education. Are decisions made based on facts, or do societies base their arguments on assumptions? What is the quality of evidence present? Has the proof been verified? What is the source of the evidence?
- Determine the role of theories in early childhood literacy across the world. Are the numerous approaches developed over the decades still applicable in the 21st century? Do methods encourage or discourage early childhood literacy in society? Or determine the role and effects of approaches related to literacy skills in Early childhood.
Definition of Terms
- Emergent Literacy skills: according to Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal (2005), the term refers to the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that are required for reading and writing literacy development and are crucial to reading success in adulthood.
- Home literacy Environment: Refers to the materials, experiences, and attitudes associated with household literacy interactions of children (Roberts, Jurgens, & Burchinal, 2005).
- Literacy: refers to a variety of reading and writing skills that enable a child to read and understand printed information (Athanasou, 2011).
- Phonological Awareness: This refers to the comprehension that language in its oral form comprises of sounds. Therefore, the phonological awareness development process commences at the instant when a child identifies the fact that speech comprises of a group of words (Pikulski, 1989). This form of understanding progresses until the child can manipulate phonemes after recognizing that words comprise of phonemes and sounds (Developing, 2003).
- Reading: is not perceived as the mastering of a combination of skills. But rather as a process where readers are required to interact with the text through problem-solving of complex syntax, challenging words, settings, and obscure references considered as the most common challenges that have been encountered and addressed by proficient readers(Codding,2001).
- Reading Aloud: the context of this term refers to the process of reading storybooks to young children and is considered as widespread literacy activity between a child and an adult. The activity commonly takes place in the household but can also be replicated in various environments by different adults, including educators, parents, guardians, and primary caregivers. The interactive process is considered as a highly productive means of promoting literacy as it is perceived as motivating, contextualized, and meaningful for young children (Aram, 2006).
- Reader’s Workshop: These refer to a book club comprising of children and young adults, which is in the form of a class that focuses on literature appreciation characterized by reading stories out loud (Follos, 2007).
Chapter II: Review of Literature
Socio-emotional development begins as early as early childhood, and for children below the age of five years old, psychological and cognitive stimulation may play a critical role in neurological and psychological growth. In the United States, Early Childhood education is considered as a norm and a requirement in some countries as they provide the children with an environment to gain a variety of skills, which are crucial in ensuring educational success in the future of the children. As much as there is sufficient evidence to assert the importance of Early Childhood Education, in developing countries, early childhood education is a luxury for most parents as it is only affordable to the affluent members of the society (Organization for Economic, 2004). To deal with the evidence gap created by economic disparities in communities, researchers must evaluate the impact of early childhood education on child development in South East Asian countries.
Most of the countries in South East Asia are divided into townships/cities and rural areas. In the rural areas, the literacy levels are below average, and as a result, affordable, quality early childhood education is a rare commodity. In many villages, early childhood centers are mainly created to offer daycare services for children whose parents are employed in the cities (Baeumer,2011). Hence the level of education provided in the centers is not measured, structured, or monitored by the education ministry as they are not classified as learning institutions. Furthermore, the staff at the daycare centers has little or no technical teacher training (Brooks-Gunn, 2005). Therefore, if a parent who would like their children to reap the benefits of Early Childhood education, they must enroll their children to private kindergartens and preschools, which are costly. Also, the literacy level in various parts of South East Asia, primarily rural areas literacy levels are minimal; hence, parents may not understand or believe the value of Early childhood education and its role in their children’s development.
According to research on the impact of early childhood education on children’s development reveals that children who attend early childhood education are better prepared when they enroll in elementary school (Linberg, 2012). Early hood education boosts their knowledge, skills, and confidence levels, enabling them to acquire more knowledge in higher classes. While children who are not exposed to early childhood education tend to struggle with numerous mental and psychological issues as they are unable to interact with the learning environment.
While measuring the quality of early childhood education, it is apparent that there is a relationship between better social and high-quality cognitive skills. Some studies argue that there is a direct relationship between high process quality and linguistic skills, which are crucial in the development of educational careers. Conclusions of international research as to what extent the quality of Early childhood education contributes to compensating for social disparities are yet to be determined. Nonetheless, it is argued that all children appear to benefit from quality levels offered in early childhood education (Green,2011). Nevertheless, various environmental factors affect the competency development levels of the children, such as family characteristics and the socio-economic status of the family. While comparing the institutional impact and the family impact, the family’s role accounts for additional variances concerning the developmental state of the children.
Continuous research conducted by various child psychologists and educators has developed different theories seeking to understand and define the process of childhood development. Thus, leading to numerous child development theories that are applied in early childhood education to deliver, evaluate, and motivate early childhood learners. The psychoanalytic theories of child development comprise two psychoanalytic theories, namely Erick and Sigmund Freud, as a means of explaining development in children. The Sigmund Freud theory asserts the importance of events and experiences that occur in our childhood. It is critical to note that the Sigmund Freud theory is more focused on psychological issues as opposed to the functioning on the functionality of the child’s brain. Freud argues that child development comprises of various psychosexual levels. Therefore, each level involves the satisfaction of libidinal desire; hence, it can play a crucial role in the development of the character of individuals in adulthood (Bronfenbrenner, 1994). The theory goes on to argue that in a case whereby the child fails to complete a stage successfully, then the child develops a fixation that could influence their behavior and personality in adulthood. In this respect, Freud’s theory is broken into Oral, anal, phallic, latent, and genital phases. For instance, during the early months of a child’s life, they derive pleasure from sucking and putting things in their mouths. Freud also warns that failure to address the issue in one stage before child progress to the next may lead to fixation to a phase that acts as an abyss to development resulting in the mirage of psychological issues in teenage and adult years.
Freud influenced the works of many psychologists leading to the development of Erikson’s psychosocial theory of child development, which focuses on the importance of shaping the psychological growth of children. Like Freud’s theory, Erikson outlines various stages that individuals undergo as part of development. While Freud’s theory argues that development comes to an end at the age of five years old, Erikson argues that development through the whole course of human life from birth to death (Linberg, 2013). Thus, according to Erikson, when a child is born, it starts to deal with the conflict between trust and mistrust, therefore asserting the importance of providing children with consistent care to develop their ability to trust those in their environment. Furthermore, the failure of providing the required stimulation at specific stages may result in the child encountering issues later in life (Melhuish,2008). For instance, failure to provide children with consistent care and affection may result in them developing negative perceptions about their environment, leading to trust issues in teenage years and adulthood.
On the other hand, behavioral theories of child development focus on how children acquire knowledge through interactions with their environments. All, through the 20th-century behaviorists, argue that development and learning were a result of communications, punishments, and awards. According to John Watson, a behaviorist by profession, he explains that any behavior can be learned. For instance, if a parent wanted their child to be a teacher, they could teach them to be a teacher regardless of their abilities as the only factor that matters is what they are taught. John Watson’s arguments gained popularity as they were supported by various theorists, including B.F Skinner and Ivan Pavlov. They advocated for Watson’s cases and turning them into the basis of psychology. Thus, the theorists outlined the two crucial behavioral processes that influence development as operant and classical conditioning (Marjoribanks,2002). Classic conditioning characterized by forming an association between naturally reproducing stimuli and neutral stimuli. While operant conditioning, described by learning as a result of punishment or reinforcement. Hence arguing that the consequences of an action determine how likely the action will develop into a behavior.
The cognitive theories of development are based on the changes that occur in the thought processes of the children. In this respect, Jean Piaget argues that children perceive and process information differently from adults. Thus, proposing the cognitive development theory stage. Jean Piaget views children as “scientists “who actively develop their knowledge and understanding of the environment. Piaget dispelled previous assumptions that children thought similarly to adults, making his theory the most influential child development theory. The four stages outlined by Piaget include Sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete, and formal operational. While the social child development theories are founded on the argument, the role of peers, parents, caregivers, and society at the considerable influence the development of the children.
As discussed above, the subject matter has been covered by numerous scholars who have conducted research relying on primary and secondary sources of data. Therefore, in this case, the focus of the study will be secondary sources of data. The secondary sources will be selected from a wide variety of online libraries. To ensure that the data articles provide accurate data that will ensure the success of the research, a criterion was developed to facilitate the selection method.
The criteria applied in selecting the articles used in the research are as follows.
- Peer-reviewed research articles
- The topic of reports should include keywords (early childhood, education, literacy, effects, theories, and evidence). The research must focus on literacy skills
- Research articles not older than ten years; therefore, the earliest articles should have been authored in 2009.
- Use of data sources (primary or and secondary sources of data). The use of descriptive essays has also been applied due to the scope of the research question, which includes theories and evidence.
- Authored in English, the original language of the articles must be English as translations may create some anomalies due to differences in syntax and semantics.
While implementing the above criteria, the columns used in the research were collected from across the section of libraries. The articles were 30 in number, and each item met the criteria above. Once the pieces were selected, the process of extracting data from the materials was initiated. The data was removed, and the data collected represented in a chart as illustrated below in the data analysis Chart Table 1.
|Article||Data Type||Sample size||Data collection technique||Subject Area|
|1||Primary||60||Performance indicators in schools||Impact of early childhood in literacy levels in district schools in New Hampshire|
|2||Primary||100||School reports of students||Does early childhood education ensure success in elementary and primary school?|
|3||Primary||85||Observation, school reports||Is early childhood necessary |
|4||Primary||150||Questionnaires presented to two sample groups: teachers and parents. Performance indicators in schools, performance reports of students.||Impact of Early childhood education myth or facts|
|5||Primary||281||Questionnaires to both children and parents||Six-year old’s perception of home literacy and its impact on literacy skills, literacy enjoyment, and frequency.|
|6||Primary||Communities||Observation||Early childhood education as a tool to assist in addressing transitional issues in remote aboriginal communities in Australia.|
|7||Secondary||Descriptive||Descriptive||Autonomous motivation and early childhood literacy skills|
|8||Primary||15||Observation, questionnaires||Attitudes towards education|
|9||Primary||40||Observation||Impact of early childhood education in communities|
|10||Primary||75||Questionnaires||Perspectives on early childhood education|
|11||Primary||60||Performance indicators||Skill development trends in elementary school|
|12||primary||90||Performance indicators, observation||Competency skills in institutions of higher learning and early childhood education connections|
|13||Primary||100||Performance indicators||Increasing chances of success with early childhood education|
|14||Primary||24||Performance indicators||Performance trends from early childhood to adulthood|
|15||Primary||80||Performance indicators||Long term effects of early childhood education|
|16||Secondary||10||Descriptive||History of early childhood education|
|17||Secondary||15||Descriptive||Early childhood development|
|18||Secondary||5||Descriptive||Theories supporting the importance of early childhood education|
|19||Secondary||7||Descriptive||Importance of kindergarten|
|20||Secondary||10||Descriptive||Education experience and early childhood education|
|21||Secondary||12||Descriptive||Childhood cognitive development the role of early childhood education|
|22||Secondary||5||Descriptive||Preparing for success|
|23||Secondary||10||Descriptive||Why early childhood education is recommended|
|24||Secondary||5||Descriptive||How to prepare children for lifelong success|
|25||Secondary||5||Descriptive||The race for success starts at kindergarten|
|26||Secondary||10||Descriptive||Learning disabilities and early childhood education|
|27||Secondary||15||Descriptive||Why early childhood education is important|
|28||Secondary||5||Descriptive||Early childhood education foundation|
|29||Secondary||12||Descriptive||Theories and evidence on early childhood education|
|30||Secondary||20||Descriptive||Theories on early childhood education|
Table 1: Data Analysis Chart
The research comprises of 30 articles on the subject matter; therefore, to accurately evaluate the data collected, it is crucial that the data analysis technique can handle the nature of the data available. In these regards, the most useful data analysis technique would be to apply the use of the hypothesis. The concept of using a hypothesis for data analysis is characterized by creating an assumption about the data, testing the assumption, verification of the appropriation, and stating the hypothesis as either true (Null) or false (Alternative).
The first step is to create the hypothesis (Null &Alternative) the two hypotheses are assumptions about the data that we intend to confirm and deny on completion of the analysis.
Ho: Early childhood education impacts the literacy success of students in school and employment.
Ha: Early childhood education has no impact on the literacy success of students in school and employment.
Ho: Early childhood education has an impact on literacy skills
Ha: Early childhood education has no impact on literacy skills
To ensure that the hypothesis can be measured during verification, the Ho (Null) and Ha (Alternative) hypotheses are quantifiable. Also, the hypothesis in each set cannot be true at the same time; hence the hypothesis (Null and Alternative) is mutually exclusive.
The second step is to determine the probability distribution of the samples using three techniques mean, variance, and standard deviation.
Mean: refers to the sum of all possible measures in each sample (30 articles) divided by the number of observations in a sample using the formula; ∑x/N
Variance: σ2 = ∑ (Xi – μ)2 / N
- Xi = ith data point in the data set
- μ = Population mean
- N = Number of data points in the population
Standard deviation: Square root of the variance
Hypothesis testing formula
Z = (X – U) / (SD / √n)
- X – Sample Mean
- U – Population Mean
- SD – Standard Deviation
- n – Sample size
Alpha: refers to the level of significance; therefore, the range of values that are acceptable before the Null hypothesis is rejected, commonly referred to as the lower limit.
Alpha= 51 percent( this means the lower limit at which the Null hypothesis is acceptable anything below 51 percent would mean that the Null hypothesis has been rejected) for instance 50 percent would be low as there would be a possibility that the Null and Alternative hypothesis is true which would result in an error. Therefore, 51 percent ensuring that for the Null hypothesis to be accepted as true, it needs to surpass the middle point, which is 50 percent.
In testing the alternative hypothesis (Ha), the are two techniques that can be applied: the two-tail test or the one-tail test. In the one-tail test of the Alternative Hypothesis, unidirectional hypothesis tests are administered. For instance, when a parent is determining if the positive impact of attending early childhood education is more significant than the result of adverse effects of early childhood education to determine whether their child will participate in early childhood education or not. Therefore, in this case, the test is in one direction as it is merely testing the impact of attending early childhood education versus the effects of not attending early childhood education. On the other hand, the two-tail test for Alternative hypothesis applies bi-directional tests, which are more concerned with determining the quality of data. Therefore, the results of the data tested by the statistician can move in any direction. For instance, If the Null hypothesis (Ho) states that the average number of years that a child should spend in primary school is seven years and the Alternative hypothesis (Ha) states that a child does not spend seven years in primary school. The average number of years that a child spends in primary school can either be 8 or 6 years.
In the process of analyzing the data, a list of questions can be asked to determine the appropriate test technique to be applied either, T, Z, CHI, or F techniques. The main questions which need to be answered before deciding on the test to apply are Is the frequency of the data known? If the frequency of the data is known, then CHI squares can be used to test the data. Secondly, the variance in the data identified, If the data of the variance can be determined then the data can be analyzed using Z or T statistics.
Based on the responses to the two questions above, the research can only apply the variance formula. The reason being that the frequency of the data in the 30 research articles is known based on the sample sizes of primary sources of data, the materials that rely on secondary sources of data may create a significant challenge as the frequency of the data cannot be ascertained conclusively. Thus, it would mean that the only articles that can be used for the research would be those that rely strictly on primary sources of data. Secondly, the variance of the data can easily be acquired through calculation as all the factors required in the formula are available. Therefore to increase the quality of the research findings, the best approach would be to apply both strategies and comparing them to determine if they provide a similar outcome. Still, due to the limitations created by the use of articles that rely on secondary sources of data, these would be an issue. Therefore, once the variance is calculated as illustrated in the formula above, the data will use the Z table.
From the chart above, it is evident that the number of children who attend early childhood education is higher than those who do not participate in early childhood education before joining the elementary school. It is also noted that there is a portion of students that do not complete early childhood education for several reasons. These reasons may vary from financial resources, relocation, and parental decisions, among others.
Based on whether a child attended early childhood education, the chart above maps out the performance of the students in the first, second, third, and fourth years. The trajectory of the performance in the first four years of the child’s education success indicates the path the children are expected to follow in the future. It is, therefore, noted that children who attended early childhood education performed better compared to those who did not participate in an early childhood education as well as those who attended yet failed to complete the curriculum. It is also noted that children who attended and were unable to complete the early childhood curriculum performed better than students who did not have an opportunity to participate in early childhood school. Thus, supporting the Null (Ho) in both set 1 and Set 2.
Discussion (maybe this topic can be extended)?
It is apparent from the findings of the research that an estimated 95 percent of the data supports the hypothesis, thus rejecting the Alternative hypothesis. The articles evaluated agreed in principle that early childhood education has one form of impact or another on the education of the students. The primary research conducted by various authors, despite regardless of their focus, all revealed that early childhood education had an impact on the education of the children. The variations occurred in the type of effect and impact that early childhood education had on the education of the students. In over 80 percent of the cases, it was noted that children who passed through early childhood education performed better when they joined the elementary school. The impact of early childhood education on the performance of the students in the first years of school was evident because they had an advantage as they were not being introduced to formal education for the first time. The children who had attended early childhood education were more equipped as previously encountered learning challenges had been addressed in their earlier years of education. Students who were being introduced to formal education were encountering the challenges for the first time; hence they took a long time to develop skills. As a result, these children were disadvantaged and required more attention. The need for additional work to catch up was not meet in over 65 percent of the cases, as this meant that the teacher would have to offer additional lessons. Most of the students in the class had attended early childhood education, also contributed to the teacher’s assumptions that the children who lagged may be having learning disabilities. In over fifty percent of the cases, the teachers and parents contributed to the misdiagnosis of learning disabilities in children. In contrast, in the real sense, the children only portrayed the lag because they did not attend early childhood education.
The misconceptions and misdiagnosis had a ripple effect on the educational success of over fifty percent of the students as they were treated as children with learning disabilities, which reduced their ability to catch up with children who had previously attended early childhood education. Additional issues such as student morale and frustrations were some of the issues highlighted as causes for the low success of the children. It is critical to note that over sixty percent of the educators developed learning curriculums that did not factor in children who had not attended early childhood education. Therefore, when children enrolled in elementary school, the curriculums continued from where early childhood education stops. The assumption that all children have attended early childhood education before they attend elementary school played a critical part in exuberating the issue. Since the elementary school curriculum had not factored in that some children did not attend early childhood education, the “disadvantaged “students were not provided with equal opportunities.
In the cases where the teachers accurately evaluated the cases and noted that the children’s’ challenges were as a result of not attending early childhood education, the solutions implemented were varied. Over seventy percent of the educators transferred the burden of assisting the children in catching up with the rest of the class to the children’s’ parents and guardians. In twenty percent of the cases, the solution was effective as the parents would engage their children in numerous activities such as book reading, spelling, drawing, and writing, which assisted the children in catching up. It was also noted that the main reason as to why the success rate was below 50 percent was because the majority of the parents did not understand what was required of them as they did not understand the needs of the children, techniques to be applied and mostly what their role in assisting the children in developing learning skills. The second reason as to the failure of this approach was the fact that some of the parents and guardians were limited in various skills. For instance, some of the children came from families where English was a second language, and the parents were still struggling in developing English skills. Hence the parents and guardians did not have adequate English skills to impact change in the children. “A parent who cannot read or speak fluently in English may not be able to teach a child how to speak or read English as they do not know how to do so” (who quoted this?). Teaching technique was also another issue noted, the guardians and parents did not know what techniques to use in teaching the children. For instance, when the teacher asks the parents to read to the children, that does not necessarily mean that the children will understand what has been said. Techniques applied in reading to children vary based on the literacy level, age of children, and attention levels. It is critical to note that teachers and educators have received adequate education, training, and experience on how to teach children. Therefore, they know which techniques are effective, not so with parents who do not understand the needs of the children and which techniques are effective. As a result, the lack of skills of the parents leads to frustration in parents, children, and teachers. The lack of effective communication between the various stakeholders hinders the success of the children.
Home Literacy Environment
Literacy development as a process is complex as it is characterized by multiple variables and experiences which interact with each other. Research conducted in various fields has revealed that literacy development commences at birth when a child is exposed to sounds and words and starts to interpret the meaning of the words spoken to them. Before formal education, the child’s literacy development is influenced by the parental literacy and environmental interactions of the child. Also, there is evidence indicating a strong correlation between early literacy development and socio-economic factors. As a result, the socio-economic factors are perceived as predictors that influence the overall academic success of the children across grades.
In the last two decades, research on early learning has exploded as researchers and educators search for solutions to address a wide variety of literacy development issues at every level. A significant portion of literacy experts argues that the implementation of pre-school literacy plays a crucial part in developing the overall literacy and language capabilities of children. Further research has also been conducted to determine the nature of early literacy training practices that have shown most success and how they can be incorporated in the pre-school life of the children to ensure greater success levels. In 1985, National commission on reading the report, Anderson Richard asserts that the introduction of books through the home reading at pre-school level is the single most important factor in developing a strong foundation for child’s educational success at early stages (Arnold & Colburn, 2006, p. 31).
In these regards, there are crucial implications for educational leaders and educators regarding the fact that literacy is an integral part of life, more so in the school environment. As a result, the implications raise an important question, what is the impact of early literacy on the overall academic success of a child all through school and in adulthood.
Implications of Early Literacy Development
Is this a different chapter or sub-topic? It feels incomplete; maybe it could be Implications of Early Literacy Development in Early Childhood, but is it still the topic for the section?
Home Literacy Practices and their Effect on Student Achievement
According to a 2005 research by Burchinal, Jurgens, and Roberts, which focused on determining the relationship between the literacy skills of children upon entering elementary school and literacy practices at home before joining kindergarten. To this effect, the team measured four commonly applied literacy practices in the house, including; the child’s enjoyment of the reading exercises, book reading strategies implemented by the mothers, the mother’s sensitivity levels to literacy activities as well as the frequency of shared book reading exercises. The four parameters were crucial as the extent impacted the measurement of the overall home environment. The study focused on the role of the home literacy environment, the literacy practices applied, and development indicated a relationship between literacy home practices and emergent literacy skills, especially for children between the ages of three to five years.
It is critical to note that the research relied on data collected during a child’s life between the ages of 0-5 years old. Thus, examining the child both pre-school and in kindergarten. The findings revealed that the mother’s sensitivity to literacy played a crucial role in the receptive vocabulary of the children. To effectively measure the maternal sensitivity, a list of six dimensions was applied including, elaborateness, stimulation value, warmth, tenderness, encouragement of initiative, and responsiveness. The shared book reading practice was also noted to have had a positive impact on the child’s development of vocabulary. Also, the use of multiple reading strategies by the mothers proved to be a practical approach to developing the vocabulary of children between three to five years of age. As children whose mothers relied on a single reading strategy scored lower in vocabulary development in comparison to those whose mothers applied multiple strategies.
Regarding reading enjoyment, it was noted that there was little significance in the number of times the children were read to by their mothers. Nonetheless, there was significant evidence in the research findings to support the argument that the household (an overall measure of the home environment) was the most common and consistent factor in the development of literacy skills in the children evaluated in the research. Therefore, the household was recognized as an accurate predictor in determining and measuring receptive vocabulary development between the ages of three to five years. Also, in measuring the early literacy skill levels of children preschool and upon joining kindergarten.
Thus, the researchers concluded that their home was the most reliable and most consistent predictor of the children’s literacy and language skills of the four literacy practices evaluated and measure of total responsiveness and quality of the home environment. Regarding each of the literacy practices estimates, it is noted that the home environment made the highest contribution in predicting the language and literacy development of the children at the early stages.
That said, it is essential to note that the household may also be assessed a variety of parameters of the child’s literacy and language environments such as the primary caregivers verbal and emotional responsiveness, environment organization, maternal interactions with the child, language stimulation and the primary caregivers’ acceptance of the child’s character and behavior. Combined, they have a more significant impact on the literacy and language development of the child than when isolated independent literacy practices. Hence, it may influence some of the underlying arguments of individual home literacy practices studied (Roberts, Jurgens & Burchinal, 2005, p.350)
Recent research on the impact of parental reading on literacy and language development such as print knowledge, phonological awareness, and oral language skills, Lawson (2012) hypothesized that the practice of reading aloud to children could have significant effects in the development skills such as emotional development and ability to sustain attention to complete tasks. According to Lawson (2012, p.257), continued parental reading stories aloud practices are commonly acknowledged to have a significant influence on the reading achievement, emergent literacy, and language development of children.
Therefore, children who practice literacy experience before they attend kindergarten are more likely to learn and be proficient in reading at an early stage, which significantly improves their overall success in education. On the other hand, children who have limited reading opportunities pre-school are more likely to encounter challenges that, unfortunately, have a ripple effect on their learning all through elementary and secondary school, which adversely affects their academic performance (Felton, 1998). Despite there being considerable research conducted on the relationship between parental readings around ad academic achievement, there is limited research that discusses how parental reading aloud can positively influence student emotions and behavior.
In 1998, Lawson presented arguments founded on the various research areas. Relying on the foundation of research asserting the importance of emotion in education, the multiple roles of emotions concerning literacy and language learning, the effect of language development as an internal process, and initial discourse skill development in children. Hence Lawson (1998) discusses why and how parental reading activities can significantly impact the development of complex literacy skills and catapult the student to academic success in the future.
Furthermore, Lawson argues that in speech presentation, emotions are conveyed through prosodic cues, tempo and rhythm, timbre, pitch contour, and loudness of the speaker. As a result, Prosodic cues assist the audience in comprehending spoken words as well as the emotions of the person delivering the words. Holland, Schmithorst, and Plante (2006) claims that infants are more responsive to speech patterns coupled with prosodic information. For instance, it is common to find that adults, in general, speak to infants in a prosodic manner that is characterized by singsong. An argument that is scientifically supported through Neurophysiology, which states that the prosodic sing-song interactions are significant factors in the building language development and comprehension foundation in children. It is important to note that the emotional bond that infants develop with their primary caregivers are deeply rooted in infant-directed speech, which facilitates the development of a relationship with the individual as well as the use of individual prosodic elements of speech when responding to the individual. Therefore, it is considered as an integral part of early literacy skill development in students.
The Impact of Socio-Economic Factors in Literacy Development
Multiple variables in the family environment impact literacy education in the household. The various forms of parental contribution, socio-economic status, community, and school connections and family structure influence the teaching of the children. For instance, Coleman argues that the marginal dropout rates in Catholic high schools can be partly explained by support provided by the Catholic Church to the school communities by creating and enforcing cultures against dropping out (Anderson & Cheung, 2003).
In these respects, there is much controversy about the role of cultural resources on children’s education. Some argue that children raised in families of high economic stature are exposed to numerous resources that support learning in the home. According to Anderson & Cheung (2003), the adoption of “scholarly culture” is connected to the cognitive and interest ability necessary for reading activities. The 2003 study conducted by Anderson and Cheung aimed at determining the role of family structure in educational outcomes of children and determining the relationship between social resources and cultural resources in the family.
Through the implementation of longitudinal data and chain models, the researchers consolidated data from the British NCDS (National Child Development Survey). The research outlined five hypotheses which were used as the basis of the analysis;
- The size of the family has a (-ve) negative correlation to intellectual performance
- Children raised and living with both parents have better academic performance as compared to those raised by single parents;
- The scholarly and cultural interactions between children and parents have a (+ve) correlation to intellectual performance;
- The above-average social resources for families and children influence the academic performance of the students.
- Socio-economic and cultural status is most identifiable in the early school years of the children (Anderson & Cheung, 2003).
The target group of the National Child development survey (NCDS) was children born between the 3rd and 9th of March 1958 in Britain and a single cohort. As a result, the data collected is from various realms of the children, including household social interaction, family structure, family’s social status, children’s daily activities, health and well-being, school, and parent interactions, among others. The NCDS research design aimed at representing all children in Britain hence an initial sample size of 17,414 children. The data collection strategy was characterized by six data collection periods; In 1958, immediately after birth, 1965 when the children were seven years old, 1969 when the children were 11 years old, 1974 when the children were 16 years old, 1981 when they turned 23 years old and in 1991 when they turned 33 years old.
The data to be tested was sourced directly from the schools where the children were enrolled while aged between 7 and 16 years. Once they were 16 years of age, they were interviewed directly. Due to challenges in data collection on some of the participants, the sample size was cut down to 7010.
The graphical chain model findings indicate that the social resources of the parents directly influenced the reading habits of the children, but then there was little evidence to support the argument that the cultural practices of the family-controlled children’s early academic success. Similarly, there was evidence to support that family structure had the impact of the academic performance of children while in elementary school but did not influence the children’s ability to acquire a college degree. Furthermore, the research findings asserted that there was a marginal difference in the amount of reading that children from single parents and those in two-parent homes are exposed to two, thus eliminating the effect of family structure on children’s reading patterns and exposure. Nonetheless, the socio-economic status and education level of parents influenced the amount of cultural and social resources that the children were exposed to and could access with ease. In conclusion, the research findings asserted the importance of reading outside school hours. According to Anderson & Cheung (2003), the amount of times parents read to their children as well as the support for reading exercises had a positive effect on the children’s academic success.
The above findings are not surprising in that they suggest that the socio-economic status of the family has an impact on the education outcomes of the children. The results also indicate that active parental involvement can play a critical role in creating bridges that address the gap between inequalities in education. It is essential to note that the research findings imply that aside form education policies to increase university access, governments should develop and implement initiatives that support parental roles in education. Besides, the systems should also encourage children to engage in scholarly activities outside the school environment (Anderson & Cheung, 2003, p. 420)
It is apparent that education reforms are dynamic, so are government initiatives in the education sector, focusing on academic success. In this regard, McGencey (2003) discusses the “Race to the top,” a USD 500 million, early learning challenge implemented by the Obama administration to improve the quality and demand for early childhood education programs in the United States. Besides, the problem also aimed at creating awareness on early childhood education and its impact on the academic future of children in the United States as well as the sustainability of the country. McGency asserts that to adequately provide early education for those in need, the state must develop and implement quality education programs. It was also noted that despite the early childhood education programs being crucial to all children in the society, those from low-income families would benefit the most as their parents lack the resources to cater and provide for early learning experiences. McGencey (2003) further elaborates on how children from low-income families are limited in executive functioning skills, namely, attentiveness, concentration, and impulse control, leading to low scores in cognitive tests, Pre-school.
David Berkham and Valerie Lee’s (2002) research findings indicate that children from low-income families are disadvantaged as they score lower grades in pre-school literacy skills as compared to children from affluent families. The article “Double Jeopardy: How Third Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation,” Donald Hernandez lists concerning statistics which require deliberation.
- For everyone in six children who have not acquired proficient reading skills by the third grade fails to graduate from high school at the expected time, a rate higher than that of proficient readers by four times.
- Below average readers have the highest drop-out rates: As the dropout rates for proficient and ordinary readers are at 4 and 9 percent respectively while the standards for the below-average readers are at 23 percent.
- The percentage of children who dropped out of school rose to 26 percent for those who, by the third grade, were not proficient in reading and were from families who had been poor for at least one year.
- The rate of poor readers was highest among low income Hispanic and black students at 33 and 31 percent, respectively, which amounts to an estimated eight times the rate of children who had acquired proficient reading skills.
- Despite children from low-income families being proficient readers by the third grade, an estimated 11 percent dropped out of school comparing to semi-proficient readers from high come families and had never been exposed to poverty, which was estimated at 8 percent. (McGencey, 2011, p. 56)
The statistical data presented in this research is crucial to all educational stakeholders as the evidence reveals the severe implications of the home on the academic success of the children in school and beyond. It is, therefore, apparent that there is an urgent need for quality learning experiences for children pre-school. As a result, educational leaders need to re-evaluate their roles in providing quality educational experiences for kindergarten attending children in the future regardless of their financial background to adequately equip them with the ability to learn and ensure academic success. The solutions to the problems indicated by the research require collaborative action among education stakeholders, including educating parents as they play a vital role in the development of the reading abilities of the children and, in turn, the academic success of the children in the future.
Most of the educators and educational leaders rarely involve the parents in ensuring that the children are sufficiently equipped for academic success. In some cases, there is much frustration when teachers find out that parents do not contribute to the academic success of the child through simple requests such as reading to the children. Despite the parents being provided with validated data and evidence on numerous occasions, that reading to children before joining the elementary school is crucial for the academic success of the children; counselors and educators raise one major question; why don’t the parents hide the advice and read to the children?
Parents are exposed to the same message by a wide variety of sources, including pre-school programs, literature after birth in hospitals, media outlets, and campaigns, among others. Also, when children are enrolled in elementary schools, the parents are requested by the teachers to read to their children. Intending to understand why the parents of early learners and pre-school children, do not read to their children despite the numerous requests and information on benefits, a teacher took it upon herself to conduct personal interviews of parents who do not read to their children despite their children being early learners and first graders. The primary role of the meetings was to understand the lack of learning in the home environment. The following are a sample of
questions posed to the parents, as well as some of the responses given.
Q1: What do you understand when asked to read to your child/children?
“My understanding is that I should assist my child in sounding out words.”
“Reading to my child means reading a book from beginning to the end, focusing on completing the task; unfortunately, my children don’t sit still as I read.”
“Could it be that I should choose entertaining books, my children?”
“I do not understand what teachers mean by, read to your child
“I am not a proficient reader; hence I avoid reading to my children.”
“I do not know where to start.”
Q2: What reason can you give for the teacher giving repeated requests for you to read to your child?
“I think because it would benefit them.”
“Am told the same thing by teachers year after year, but they don’t explain to me what they mean.”
“I guess it is a comment that teachers in kindergarten and first grade say to parents, am not sure. I get so irritated by hearing the same message every year. Honestly, I don’t even know what they mean with that statement.”
“Books are crucial in assisting our children to be better speakers.”
Q3: “Read to your child,” do you understand what is meant by these words when spoken by your child’s teacher.
“No, I do not understand.”
“No, I do not know how to start reading to my child the correct way.”
“I am clueless when I open the book; I don’t know how to start, continue, or finish.”
“I wish they would tell me what to do, as I am fed up with teachers just saying, read to your child and assuming that we know what that means”
“The teachers just repeat how it would be beneficial to my child and how they would perform better if I read to them, but I do speak to children, and maybe I don’t read to them as I am a poor reader.”
Q4: Have you encountered any challenges when attempting to read to your child?
“If you aren’t comfortable reading or can’t read, then how are u going to read to your children?”
“I make an effort to read to my children, but I guess I am doing it wrong as my child is bored and disinterested in the books, I read so I give up reading to them.”
“I don’t know which books I should read to my children.”
“I pray they learn to read at school as am a poor reader; hence I do not make time to read to them.”
Q5: Do you include reading storybooks daily as an integral interaction with your children?
“No, storybook reading is not an integral part of my daily interactions with my children” (This comment was made by all parents interviewed) (Edwards, 2005, p.7-8)
The responses made by parents provided crucial and valuable information to educators as well as the parents, providing a basis for a solution to the existing issues. It is noted that most of the parents who encounter problems reading to their children, themselves have reading problems.
In most cases, it was noted that parents who cannot provide for their children through reading are frustrated by the continuous requests by teachers to read to their children. Also, The ” Read to your child” directive commonly given by teachers is vague in that it does not provide guidelines on processes and types of books; as a result, the parents are left in a dilemma as they may be willing to read to their children but do not know how to conduct the exercise. According to Edwards(2005), the reason why parents did not consider reading as an integral aspect of their daily interactions with their children was that they are unable to perceive and take up the reasonability of being there child’s primary tutor in discovering the complexities and beauty of written language. Furthermore, expecting a parent to relate the joy of reading to their children when they struggle with reading is nearly impossible.
On the other hand, Teachers are equipped to identify reading challenges as well as the specific areas that the problems may exist. These capabilities are instilled in teachers through vigorous and professional training and education of innovative and effective literacy teaching practices and principles. Regardless of teachers and parents having contact with each other, something is missing in the relationship. Equipped with the knowledge that supports literacy environments in the home as well as the education level of the parents, much can be done to develop more reliable connections between household, school, and literacy development. Therefore, instead of teachers sending a directive to the parents to read to their children,” teachers should focus on educating the parents on techniques to apply when reading to their children. Besides, a variety of challenges, as a result, diverse cultures, time constraints, economic and emotional issues it is apparent that there is a critical need for collaboration between teachers and parents to facilitate positive literacy gains for the children.
Impact of Literacy Development (feels incomplete and repetitive)
In the last decade, advances in technology have revolutionized access to “printed word,” which can be accessed through the internet on various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, E-books, and Emails, among others. The dynamic distributions of “printed word” have asserted the need for strong literacy skills as numerous technologies that rely on reading are incorporated into the workplace. Hence, students that have encountered multiple challenges along the academic path are bound to experience difficulties in their adult life, especially the workplace, which may have ramifications on their career objectives and options.
A 20111 study by Athanasou evaluated the literacy levels of adults and the impact of reading as a foundation for development in future careers. Through the WRAT3(Wide Range Achievement Test) which analyzes the educational achievement in basic math, spelling, and reading skills as administered to 465 participants aged between 14 to 79 years of old (Median 36 years). It is critical to note that the literacy component aims at identifying and decoding words as a result does not test the comprehension levels of the readers. The tests were administered individually, and the data acquired was applied to provide a narrow focus on the working population’s reading abilities. In these respects, the research findings revealed that an estimated 50 percent of the participant’d recorded a reading level consistent with the 7th grade. It is important to note that the reading scores were varied across numerous social factors; nonetheless, high scores were reported common occupational groups with the professionals scoring more senior than the laborers.
The crucial aspects of previous data collected by Athanasou’s 1970 research on “Youth in Transition” which was tested in 1980 by the “Australian studies of school performance” is that the academic achievements of the children were tested at the age of 10 years old and in 1991 a follow up was conducted through mail surveys to acquire the occupation status of the participants. The findings of the study revealed that occupational and educational outcomes were related to the literacy levels reported in elementary school, the vocational achievements of individuals in their early 20s were predicted by their literacy levels at the age of 10 years old( in isolate cases between the age of 11 to 14 years)(Athanasou, 2011, p. 16).
The study asserts the consequences of educational instruction and theoretical issues on the elementary reading level and the relationship with future occupational success. Thus the conclusion that students whose reading abilities are poor at elementary school are less likely to venture in specific careers if the education system they are enrolled in does not include curriculums aimed at increasing the leaning and reading potential of the learners. In a highly competitive environment where literacy expectation is crucial to cope with the technological advances, students whose elementary literacy needs and challenges are not conclusively addressed will be limited in post-secondary education hence limited career options.
Early Childhood Education ( Topic/ subtopic/)?
Research conducted in the United States (maybe better if the US was not mentioned several) reveals that there are a significant number of children that are not academically equipped to begin kindergarten. In the last couple of decades (repeated), education reforms advocate for “school ready” children hence the development of programs to ensure that children are provided with the skills to facilitate their readiness. According to the 2010 article by Wat and Doggett, the focus was to collect and analyze data from various states across the United States that offered state-mandated pre-kindergarten programs as well as determine their effectiveness in meeting the programs’ objectives. The article started by listing statistical data from 2000 by Denton, Germino-Hausken, and West, illustrating the education level of children from low –income families before they joined kindergarten. The research conducted n 2000 presented data that indicated that 30 percent of the low-income children were unfamiliar with the written word until they entered kindergarten.
It was also noted that children from middle-income families and those from families with parents who had acquired tertiary level education could not recognize written word at a rate of 17 and 8 percent, respectively. Similarly, research conducted in 2002 by Coley also revealed that there was a high number of children from low-income families that did not recognize the alphabet before attending elementary school at a rate of 60 percent. Besides, over one-third of children from middle-income families also did not understand the alphabet before attending primary school. The research findings were crucial
as they indicated a significant gap between the ability and education of pre-school children in the United States. Furthermore, the research reveals that children from low-income families are the most disadvantaged group; hence efforts must be made to provide access to reading skills programs for pre-school children. Aside from low-income families, it was also noted that a percentage of children from middle-income families were also limited in their reading abilities despite their parents being highly educated. Therefore, the programs should be provided to all children from diverse backgrounds to ensure the equality of children skills before they join Kindergarten.
Doggett and Wat (2010) report that forty states in the United States offer state-funded pre-school programs. Furthermore, the pre-school programs are aligned with curriculum and state standards of elementary schools, ensuring that pre-school education is applied as a foundation for primary schools. As a result, teaching practices and professional development are developed and implemented following the curriculum guidelines approved by the state. Despite the existence of the federal pre-school program being funded and managed by various states, it is limited to children from the most impoverished families, which amount to less than 50 percent of the children who require pre-school education. Most states that initiated their own state’s programs did so intending to cater to children from low-income families. Still, as the projects progress, they realized that the plans were highly beneficial to middle-income children who attended the same programs. According to a study in Tulsa, Oklahoma that measured the overall gains of children attending pre-school state projects, indicating a higher score in the alphabet and word identification and spelling score for children from middle-income families at a rate of 41 and 17 percent when compared to children who did not attend pre-school programs. Because children from middle-income families constitute over 50 percent of all the children that drop out of school or end up requiring special attention, educational reformists must address a variety of federal and state funding issues that limit the inclusion of children from diverse backgrounds.
During the Abbott vs. Burke(1998) the supreme court in New Jersey found that the state had failed to meet the state education standards for children from diverse backgrounds as the state had to implement high quality and rigorous pre-school education programs for the thirty-one school districts that were classified as the lowest-income states. It was, therefore, noted that state-funded programs were developed and available for all pre-school education between the ages of 3 to 4 years, regardless of their socio-economic background. According to Doggett& Wat(2010)., the pre-school programs were held to the state’s highest standards which included comprehensive early learning guidelines, PreK to 3rd ” and college education levels as teaching requirements, appropriate development curriculum, low child to adult ratios in the classroom and financial resources for employing master teachers and early childhood experts.
During the first couple of years on the initiation of the programs, data was collected on the students to track their performance from pre-school up to the 2nd grade. While comparing to students that of students who did not have the opportunity to join pre-school, there was evidence that indicated that children who had attended pre-school showed significantly improved math, literacy, and language skills. Also, it was noted that pre-school students were less likely to repeat a grade after being in the pre-school program for a year by over 30 percent, the reason being that they have a better vocabulary, math, and language comprehension skills. As the children spent more time in the pre-school program their likelihood to repeat a grade decreased as it was noted
Fifty percent of the children who were less likely to repeat a grade after spending two years in the pre-school program. Over the years, the state of New Jersey has maintained its high levels of quality, resulting in high success rates; hence New Jersey’s public education plan is characterized by a robust PreK curriculum (Doggett & Wat, 2010).
As a result of the success illustrated in the state of New Jersey, as well as other states that have integrated Pre-K curriculums into state-funded education, argue that the achievement gap between the low- and middle-income groups can only be addressed through Pre-K. Therefore, educational reformers must urgently consider the role of early childhood education in the overall development of the child.
Early childhood education programs address achievements gaps
The state of Michigan differs from other states in the United States as it is committed to understanding the underpinnings of why and how student achievement data on the economic status of the students. According to the Department of education, Michigan, the primary concern is that children from low-income families begin school later than children from upper-class children. Therefore, since low-income children start late, they are expected to lag for the rest of their academic years, which leads to frustrations that end up in students repeating grades or and dropping out. T.Howard (2010), describes “achievement gap” as the discrepancy in access to education and education outcomes between various diverse groups in the United States including Native Americans, Latino students, African American, and Asian Americans performing poorer compared to children from white communities who perform better (p.3). For instance, in Michigan, an estimated 13 percent of the total 39 percent of the students who passed the Math merit exam came from low-income families. The results of the standardized exam are a clear indication that there gaps in the achievement scores between various income groups.
To address, the difference in the student achievements resulted in the development and implementation of state-funded pre-school programs to equitably assist the diverse families in Michigan. The (GSRP) Great Start Readiness program has had a positive impact in closing the achievement gap in children from various communities as the application has been instrumental in addressing significant student needs at an early stage during pre-school years.
Between 1995-2011, a longitudinal study was conducted to measure both the long- and short-term effects of the program. Furthermore, the research findings revealed that that elementary to 3rd-grade teachers ranked GSRP students higher than non-GRSP students in terms of readiness to learn, attendance, initiative, interest in school, and retaining information, among others. In the fourth grade, GSRP students performed better in literacy skills, knowledge, thinking skills, and progression to the next category as compared to their peers who did not attend GSRP.
The percentage points in grade 11 and 12 for GSRP students was higher by over 5 percent on the Merit Exam and 7 percent better in the art language in the state of Michigan. Also, the percentage of children who attended GSRP and graduated on time versus that of non-GSRP Students was at 58 and 43 percent, respectively. GSRP students from diverse cultures also have a higher number of students who graduated on time as compared to students from different communities that did not attend GSRP at a rate of 60 and 37 percent, respectively (Michigan, 2013).
The conclusions on the Michigan GSRP study provide crucial information applicable to the development and implementation of education reforms across states. It is critical to note that it is the primary objective of bridging the gap is to ensure equality in education. Then it is mandatory that knowledge is made equitable in pre-school as waiting for children to start learning in kindergarten would be too late as some children will have acquired skills before schools while those who have not attended pre-school would be at a significant disadvantage.
Interventions and Literacy Education
The most considerable capacity for education is at home, followed by the classroom, which provides quality interactions and educational experiences aimed at developing, strengthening, and supporting literacy development. According to 2012, research conducted by Van Hees aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the teacher’s verbal classroom interaction with the students and literacy acquisition effects. Since schools located and available to low-income students have the highest percentage of struggling students, the processes to transform the environment to increase the literacy acquisition and development of the students is of great concern. It is critical to note that the literacy abilities of the children affected how they acquired information in the classroom when they started formal education. In 2005, research by Moses argued that children from communities in New Zealand that were socioeconomically advantaged joined the school with an estimated 6,000 English words.
Besides, they had access to age-appropriate and well-established language resources that facilitated oral meaning (Van Hees, 2011, p.47). According to evidence presented by Hattie et al., 2005 and Goldenburg, 2001 an estimated 50 percent of children from low-income families begin school with expressive and receptive vocabulary that is less than 6,000 words (Van Hees, 2011, p. 47). When determining the future reading abilities of a child, the focus is commonly on verbal memory, expressive and receptive language, phonological awareness, and receptive vocabulary put together to describe the literacy skills of the child. A child is also required to be able to interact with the environment actively as well as contribute to learning opportunities in the classroom. To this effect, universal research focuses on determining the application of practical methods and developing learning environments that are beneficial by encouraging optimal literacy development of the children. In the 2011 study by Van Hees, the focus is on the patterns of expression an interaction in the first couple of years of public education to identify their overall effectiveness in the literacy development of individual students.
The study relies on data collected from four low-income community schools in Auckland. The teachers who volunteered as participants in the research taught years 1 and 2. Besides, the study included students at participants; the total number of the students was 80, while 12 of those were randomly selected for the case study. The research methodology included data collection from each of the teachers as well as the “CombiList” test, which was applied for measuring participation and expression of the students in the classroom. The “CombiList” test was administered twice, firstly at the beginning of the study, and later after six months had elapsed. The six month period between which the two assessments were taken was significantly crucial to the investigation as it is during this time that the teachers implemented specific interventions in each of their classes for ten weeks relying on skills they had to acquire from five workshops they had previously attended. The “British Picture Vocabulary Scale Assessment” was also administered to the students simultaneously with the “CombiList” test. Also, three teaching lessons, thirty minutes each, were recorded for the four classrooms during the data collection procedure (Van Hees, 2012).
The workshops attended by the teachers combined the interactional and linguistic theory practices with a particular focus on student expressions within the classroom environment. The workshops were highly beneficial as they encouraged teachers to implement behaviors and practices aimed at enhancing the expressive characteristics of the students. The research revealed that two of the four teachers that were evaluated exhibited micro analyzed vocal interactions with the students who were parallel with the case study analysis of exploring patterns of classroom expressions and interactions. It is critical to note that before the teachers attending the five workshops, they controlled a significant portion of the verbal communications, which were characterized by the teachers doing much of the speaking as the students hardly spoke and spent their time listening to the teachers. The interventions that were presented to the teachers in the five workshops encouraged the teachers to create environments that supported dialogues in the classrooms, thus prompting discussions that were initiated and supported by the students. The application of the dialogue intervention transformed the classroom interactions through complex conversations between the students and the teachers, and between the students as peers. Most importantly, dialogue encouraged the students to express themselves at a much higher level.
Furthermore, the teachers also acquired training during the workshops, which prompted them to apply different techniques when posing questions to the students. Therefore, instead of asking closed-ended questions that required YES /NO answers and single/precise answers, the teachers were encouraged to ask questions which required the students to express themselves by applying contributory statements in the presentation of the issues.
The findings 12 case study students’ data analysis illustrated that there was a significant rise in vocabulary development of the 12 random students as 75 percent of the participants had below-average scores for their age groups at the beginning of the study. Also, 50 percent of the students in the case study were critically analyzed in areas of verbal fluency, confidence, and expression levels. The results of the study revealed that indeed there were significant rises in the use of compound words, fluency, confidence, and overall expression. Hence the study argues that the shift in the teacher’s practices and knowledge as well as their commitment to creating optimal environments for expression and interaction in the classroom were the main contributing factors of the change in the outcomes noted in the research findings (Van Hees, 2011, p. 56).
It is critical to note that the probability of conducting research that considers all possible factors are very low; hence each study is limited in one aspect or another. Similarly, in these cases, the research conducted is not absolute, as some factors were either assumed or unaccounted for. Also, it is critical to note that despite the focus of the article is to transform the education sector in South East Asia, the data available is not limited to the region. Therefore, the data analyzed is from various parts of the world as the subject matter is not limited to children in South East Asia. Thus, the findings should be implemented about South East Asia while considering factors such as religion and socio-economic factors. In these regards, it is crucial to note the following limitations as they are essential to the implementation of the research findings.
- The occurrence of errors in the analysis is probable, hence the need to consider two types of errors in the hypothesis testing. The first type of error referred to as Type 1 is as a result of the Null hypothesis (Ho) being correct, but the analysis proves otherwise. The second type of error referred to as Type 2 is as a result of the Null hypothesis being wrong, but the report fails to verify that the Null Hypothesis is false adequately. In Set 1, there was a Type 2 error in the second part of the hypothesis as there was limited evidence to sufficiently prove that students who did not attend early childhood education did not excel in high levels such as university and employment. The case is that despite the students who did not participate in early childhood education, struggling in first years, a significant portion of the students was able to catch up and develop valuable skills that boosted them in upper classes which in turn had an effect on their success in university and professionally.
- It is assumed that all children who attended early childhood education progressed to elementary school, high school, and college. Therefore, students who dropped out of school at any level were not considered as they would affect the research findings. It is critical to note that, being that the research relies on secondary sources of data, there is no access to the primary causes of data for verification. Also, the assumption that all students who attended early childhood education progressed to various stages leaves out students who attended early childhood education and dropped out after primary or secondary for a variety of reasons. Since the focus on not dropping out the data on such students is irrelevant.
- The research does not factor in students with learning disabilities such as ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia, among others. The subjects of the study were students without learning disabilities.
Areas for further research
As discussed earlier, the scope of the research limits studies on various areas that are like the subject matter of “the impact, evidence, and theory of early childhood education and success.” Therefore, the need to research the impact of early childhood education on the development of cognitive skills in children with learning disabilities. (I think it should be the Impact of acquiring Literacy skills in Early Childhood on academic success in children with learning disabilities). Secondly, since not all children who enter the education system at early childhood education complete school or even qualify for university. Research to determine the reasons as to what factors contribute to the decline in academic performance or failure of the children to foremost the trends would be very enlightening as it would provide insight on education trends in communities as well as offer viable solutions to addressing drop out rates across the world.
Chapter V: Recommendation and Conclusion
The implementation and application of standardized tests as a measure of schools’ accountability and student’s academic success is commonly relied upon across the world, including South East Asia, regardless of the student’s capabilities before they join the school. It is apparent from various studies that children’s literacy skills and preparedness for learning in a formal setting such as a school classroom are developed during the children’s first years from birth. Therefore, children who are exposed to literacy activities and practices at a very young age are more prepared for school settings as compared to those whose first contact with literacy is a school.
Simple literacy experienced between children and parents, such as reading books aloud to the children, has been proven to be extremely crucial to the development and success of literacy skills acquisition in children, which has a ripple effect on the success of the children in their future as adults. Therefore, various stakeholders in the education sector, including educational leaders and educators, must promote the implementation of early childhood programs aimed at facilitating pre-school literacy. Furthermore, the educators need to make connections with the parents, guardians, and primary caregivers of the children to equip them with the resources and skills to facilitate literacy interactions with the children before they join the school.
Regarding the school curriculum, educational leaders must develop and implement effective literacy interventions that are proven to be successful in generating the literacy skills of the children. The southeast Asia communities are of different classes, including low, middle, and upper classes. As a result, the literacy skills of the families in the region vary due to socioeconomics and demographics of the area. In this case, the governments should initiate programs that cater to the literacy needs of the children across varied socio-economic backgrounds. In that children from the upper class and those from the low-class families receive similar interventions ensuring that when they join a school, no child is disadvantaged due to their geographical, cultural, or economic status.
It is critical to note that the process of implementing intervention programs for communities is not a simple task, as multiple factors need to be considered. The children come from various backgrounds, and despite the need to standardize the interventions, they must also be designed to address specific challenges in multiple communities across South East Asia. Hence, the interventions implemented need to be critically evaluated and accessed to determine their success in particular communities. Furthermore, to ensure the success of specialized interventions for various cities, the various education stakeholders must engage each other to decide on the best approach. For instance, implementing interventions that require numerous reading practices by parents in a low-income community where most of the parents are not educated would not be sufficient. As the parents would lack in skills to implement the practices.
Often the assumption that teachers are expected to be skilled in all areas and to deal with diverse students; some teachers are limited in their abilities. Hence the need to offer the teachers support as well as training on various interventions that they can apply to improve literacy skills of the students from diverse backgrounds. It has been noted that the training and support of teachers are crucial to the success of literacy interventions. Also, the development and implementation of effective communication channels between the teachers and parents are essential. As it is through the nurturing of these relationships that the teachers and parents can rely on each other and work together to successfully develop literacy skills in children through the implementation of various interventions.
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