Academic journal article Reading Improvement

The Differences in Attitudes toward Emergent Literacy of Children among Teachers, Mothers, and Fathers in Kindergartens and Daycare Centers in Korea

Academic journal article Reading Improvement

The Differences in Attitudes toward Emergent Literacy of Children among Teachers, Mothers, and Fathers in Kindergartens and Daycare Centers in Korea

Article excerpt

This paper explored the differences in attitudes of three groups of facilitators toward emergent literacy learning, in relation to child's age, child's sex, and type of early childhood education facilities in Korea. Five hundred ninety-five facilitators, who participated in the study included 119 teachers in the early childhood education centers (mean age = 28.0; 119 female, no male), 238 mothers (mean age = 33.96) and 238 fathers (mean age = 36.50) of the children in both centers. The subjects were randomly selected from 12 kindergartens and 11 daycare centers in Seoul, Korea. The questionnaires, entitled Early Literacy Attitudes for parents and teachers for young children, were developed by Kwon's (1999), based on a literature review and on other researchers' questionnaires. The data were analyzed by Two-Way Analysis.

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As children grow up, they begin to acquire literacy learning at their home. Children learn what to do with a written language as reading and writing function within families and communities (Taylor, 1983). Children's first experiences with written language are mediated by the ways in which parents and other adults use reading and writing (Purcell-Gates, 1996). Thus, children have different concepts about how the written language functions in different communities (Heath, 1983; Schieffelin & Cochran-Smith, 1984). Different kinds of reading and writing activities were found in different homes: writing grocery lists, making calendars to remember important days, telephone memo, lists to do tomorrow, and so on and so forth.

Recently, it has been found that infants or toddlers have literacy experiences in childcare centers as well as at home. McLane & McNamee (1990) suggested that the development of literacy is a profound social process, embedded in social relationship, particularly in children's relationships with parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, caretakers, and teachers (p.7). They could learn the concepts about reading and writing as a result of their meaningful experiences with their important adults. They learned that books and writing were pleasurable; booksharing involved the family's roles and language; and book and print materials conveyed meanings (McGee & Richgels, 2000). Children elaborately developed and improved their literacy learning as they move from home to wider communities such as preschool, daycare, and kindergarten settings.

Mothers who place a high value on children's literacy learning tend to invite their children to literacy interaction frequently and meaningfully. Several researchers have investigated the effects of an early literacy environment at home (Chaney, 1994; Debaryshe, 1995; Fitzgerald, Spiegel, & Cunningham, 1991; Payne, Whitehurst, & Angell, 1994; Purcell-Gate, 1996) and in the early childhood setting (Morrow & Rand, 1991; Taylor, Blum & Logsdon, 1986; Toomy, 1991; Vukelich, 1991, 1994) on young children's later emergent literacy knowledge. Children who interacted more frequently with their parents in storybook reading learned richer vocabulary and better story understanding than children who interacted less (Dickinson & Tabors, 1991; Whitehurst et al., 1988). Children who have had richer interactions with their parents succeeded as good readers in school (Wells, 1986) and learned concepts about decontextualized language well (Dickinson & Smith, 1994). These studies have consistently demonstrated that the presence of richer literacy materials, the adults' beliefs in literacy, and exposure to literacy modeling in everyday activities were clearly related to the child's literacy development. Thus, children who are consistently encouraged to participate in meaningful literacy activities at home and in the classroom and who are exposed to a print environment are likely to demonstrate better emergent literacy knowledge.

Parents, who believed that children acquired literacy concepts through their construction of meaning, actively interacted with children as they read and wrote together (Snow & Ninio, 1986). …

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