Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Fleege, Pamela O.

Co-Major Professor

Graves, Stephen B.

Keywords

vocabulary, reading, assessment, preschool, kindergarten

Abstract

ABSTRACT:This observational study examined the relationships among home literacy environments, classroom language-literacy environments, and lexical and early literacy skills for 101 (56 male, 45 female) preschool and kindergarten children between the ages of 48 and 69 months. Data for multiple regression analyses were collected from 14 classrooms across 7 early childhood education centers in central Florida using the Home Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ), the Early Language & Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit (ELLCO), and the Kaufman Survey of Early Academic and Language Skills (K-SEALS). Seven classrooms scored in the proficient-to-exemplary range on the ELLCO; 3 were rated as basic, and 4 were rated as limited.

A statistically significant relationship (r = .20, p < .05) was identified between frequency of children's visits to the public library and classroom quality ratings. The home literacy environment accounted for 8.1% of the variance in student Vocabulary scores (r = .29, p < .01) and 3.9% of the variance in Numbers, Letters and Words scores (r = .20, p < .05) above and beyond teacher and parent education levels. Correlations between ELLCO ratings and students' K-SEALS subtest scores were statistically non-significant. Analyses revealed a statistically significant difference (t = - 4.75, p < .001) in ELLCO scores by age group. The number of children's books at home was statistically related to vocabulary scores (r = .26, p < .01). Program costs were not statistically related to classroom quality (r = -.002, p < .996). It was suggested that early childhood professionals gather information about home literacy environments to assist in identifying at-risk students.

Parents should be provided with resources to enhance children's language-literacy experiences at home. Further, parents need assistance in evaluating and selecting high-quality early childhood education programs. The use of academic testing as an indirect measure of classroom quality was not supported. However, teachers' educational backgrounds were related to classroom quality, highlighting the need for qualified providers. Early childhood teacher mentoring programs are needed to help improve classroom language-literacy curricula. Student assessments should be informed by the kinds of learning opportunities available to young children in their homes and communities.

Share

COinS