Academic journal article Reading Improvement

Determination of Foundational Literacy Knowledge and Skills of Students Attending Preschool Education

Academic journal article Reading Improvement

Determination of Foundational Literacy Knowledge and Skills of Students Attending Preschool Education

Article excerpt

The pre-literacy knowledge and skills of total of 2392 students studying at the nursery schools and classes in the provincial center, towns and villages of the region, which is considered to be a very good sample for Turkey, were determined using an observation form developed. While doing this, attention was paid to determine whether the foundational literacy knowledge and skills acquired by students in the family and at preschool educational institutions differentiate depending on the socio-economic and cultural environment and on the settlement areas they live in.

The findings have been interpreted on the basis of the frequencies, percentage and chi-square analyses of the data obtained and of the significance level of each item.

This study, which is believed to draw attention of the educationalists in Turkey, particularly of the teachers and master instructors serving at elementary educational institutions, is considered important in terms of revealing the development of the literacy concept in the world on one hand and the pre-literacy skills of the students attending the preschool education in Turkey on the other.

At the end of the study, it has been seen that the pre-literacy skills, which should develop within the family through natural learning and at preschool educational institutions, are developed only in 60% of the students, and that these skills and knowledge differentiate depending on the socio-economic and cultural environment.

It is believed that the results of this study will serve as a foundation for the future studies for a country that makes laws to generalize the preschool education and that adopts regulations for education meeting the European Union standards.

Problem Status

"Literacy" concept is generally mixed up with "knowing how to read and write" in Turkey, just like the world, and they are used one for the other. It is seen that this concept, which is the fundamental determinant of children's achievement in their educational life, is not correctly analyzed by educationalists, as well as the teachers, who constitute the most important factor in application.

On the other hand, with its young population, Turkey 1 has attached special importance to education in recent years, initiated many reform-like modernizations in education2, and allocated more and more resources to education from the government budget compared to the previous years.

However, in spite of all these developments in education, the word "literacy" is not known with its conceptual value after the 1990s-2000s, and is used to mean basic reading and writing skill corresponding to the definition of literacy in the 1950s-1960s. Consequently, the literacy perception of the educationalists in the country has remained limited and academic studies relating to the subject are not adequately conducted.

Particularly, due to the scarcity of books and publications dealing with literacy in preschool education and in the family, the attention of the educationalist, which is a group that is already difficult to be reached through publications, cannot be drawn to the matter, and consequently, activities similar to pre-literacy activities are carried out under the name "language activities" at the preschool educational institutions without a specific awareness. On the other hand, because the teachers and master instructors are unable to get knowledge about the importance of the matter in children's development and their educational lives, they are unable to provide assistance to children and to their families to develop their "pre-literacy" skills in this period, in which the teacher-parent cooperation is the most intensive.

However, as it is known, language development is the most important part of child development. If this development that starts early in infancy is backed by family members and close relatives, the foundational skills and knowledge that would affect children's future educational life can be easily acquired in this period. …

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