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Print referencing makes a difference in reading skills

2012-08-07

Reading aloud with print referencing enhances reading skills

Making a small change in reading aloud to preschool children makes a beneficial boost on their reading skills later on. This reports a longitudinal study that examined the impact of the project STAR (Sit Together and Read in Early Childhood Special Education).

This project involves teachers in reading books aloud to their students by making specific references to print in books. For instance, teachers point out how to read from left to right and from top to bottom. They may also refer to specific letters and words on the page. Some examples for print references tackling different print knowledge domains would be:

Print meaning:
“Here are the penguin’s words. He says thank you.“
“This is a box of cereal. It says Corn Flakes.“

Book and print organization:
“I am going to read this page first and then this page over here next.“
“I start reading here and I read this way.“

Letters:
“Do you see a letter that is in your own name?“
“What is this letter?“

Words:
“This is the letter K. K is in the words kangaroo and kick.“
“This is the word the. This word is in the book all the time, can you help me find it?“
“Let’s point to each word as I read it. Ready?“

85 preschool classrooms with more than 350 children participated in a 30-week shared reading program. As a group, they were randomly assigned to a low-dose STAR intervention group with 60 reading sessions, a high-dose STAR intervention group with 120 reading sessions and a comparison group who also had 120 reading sessions without using print referencing. Children came from low-income homes being at risk for later reading difficulties.

The study reported that children from the high-dose STAR group had significantly higher skills in reading, spelling and comprehension compared to the comparison group on assessments both one and even two years later. The low-dose STAR group showed significant improvements, relative to the comparison group, on the two-year post-intervention spelling assessment only.

According to the authors, the results suggest that print references help children substantially to crack the code of letters and how they relate to words and meaning by using only a small change in how to read aloud.

 
 

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