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Citation:Wood, C. (2002). Parent-child pre-school activities can affect the development of literacy skills. Educational Psychology, 24(1), 3-11.

This studyÕs purpose is to examine a range of parent-child joint preschool activities, to examine the degree to which specific activities are correlated with student achievement in early literacy and phonological awareness, to determine whether the amount of time spent on and frequency of an activity affect outcomes, and to examine the degree to which parent socioeconomic status (SES) relates to childrenÕs early literacy and phonological awareness. The study identified four categories of joint activity: 1) storybook reading, 2) letter-based activities, 3) singing activities, and 4) playing games. Findings suggest that frequent storybook reading benefits childrenÕs vocabularies, phoneme awareness, and short-term memory span. The best attainment was observed in children whose families used a variety of joint activities. Children who were Òabove averageÓ at reading had received more frequent storybook reading and played word games more often than the children who were at or below average. SES seems to make a modest contribution to reading development. Various instruments were administered to 61 children from two playgroups in Northampton to gauge their early literacy, spelling ability, receptive vocabulary, phonemic awareness, and short-term memory. One year after the first assessment, children were visited in school for the second round of assessments. The parents were asked an open-ended question about the joint activities to get a naturalistic set of responses (rather than forced response), and demographic information was collected from parents to serve as an independent variable. The study shows the impact of using a range of joint pre-school activities in the home on reading development. The author calls for more research in this area. Limitations of the study include the use of self-report measures, which may affect the studyÕs validity and a very small sample size that may call into question whether the sample is representative.

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