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Variations in Shared Book Reading


Project Leader
Evans, Mary Ann   

Research over the past few decades has uncovered two strong predictors of individual differences in reading skill development in English: letter knowledge and phonological awareness. Children who know the names and, better still, the sounds of letters show faster progress in learning to read. Similarly, those who can reflect on the sound structure of spoken words, such as picking out which of four words begins with a different sound, develop reading skill more easily. However the strength of early alphabetic and phonological skills as early predictors of reading skill should not blind us to more fully investigating other factors that research has suggested are also important to literacy development, particularly children\\'s emergent understanding of orthographic knowledge (e.g., how letters look, are spaced. and can be combined), their semantic knowledge or understanding of vocabulary, and the role that various experiences, such as shared book reading, play in fostering literacy across the early school years. This research progamme within CLLRNet centres around two main themes in children ages four to eight: 1) the development of emergent orthographic knowledge and what early experiences are optimal in promoting it; and 2) the nature of shared book reading with children and how different experiences in this context influence the development of orthographic knowledge, semantic knowledge, and literacy skills. The research will be accomplished through a collaborative and unique combination of naturalistic work, in which we examine the literacy experiences that parents provide to their children, and experimental work, in which we will design and implement different book reading experiences for children using naturally occurring variations in book reading as a design base. Both longitudinal and short-term analyses of effects and multiple populations will be examined. We anticipate that the findings will provide direction to parents, teachers and publishers of children\\'s books as to how books and literacy activities might best be designed and orchestrated to facilitate the growth of literacy. In addition the results will benefit the scientific community by providing more detail on the developmental sequence of orthographic knowledge, the context and nature of reading to children, and the effect that different book styles and parent-child interactions during shared book reading have on children's literacy development.

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LAST MODIFIED: June 22 2005 17:53:32

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