Carroll, J. 1 , Gillon, G. 1 , McNeill, B. 1 & Schaughency, E. 2
1 University of Canterbury
2 University of Otago
Purpose: Phonological Awareness (PA) is an important component of emergent literacy development. This study examined the effectiveness of a professional development programme in promoting the use of PA and print related cueing by Early Childhood Teachers (ECTs) during storybook reading. Method: 17 ECTs participated in a 90 minute session focused on building their PA knowledge and received up to two hours of in-class coaching (over 10 weeks) to facilitate the implementation of PA and print related cueing during shared storybook reading. The effectiveness of the professional development on ECTs' skills was established by comparing their reading style at pre, mid and post-intervention. Reading style was established by conducting video-analysis which coded ECTs' utterances during shared book reading into three categories: Language (i.e., commenting, questioning, integration of background knowledge), Print Referencing (i.e., pointing to text, letter sound relationships, text change, and phonological awareness) and Behaviour Management. The impact of the intervention on the PA of 16 children (aged 4;2-4;6) was monitored by comparing PA performance on experimental and standardized measures pre and post-intervention. Results: Preliminary analysis showed that ECTs used low levels of 'print referencing' cueing during storybook reading at pre-intervention. Coding of the ECTs' post-intervention data is underway and change will be explored through statistical analysis. The children made significant gains in standardized scores in syllable awareness (p=.005), rhyme awareness (p=.005), and alliteration awareness (p=.009) across the study. Conclusion: This study found wide variation in how ECTs read storybooks and that a professional development model that includes in-class mentoring is an effective method to increase the amount of print referencing and PA cueing during preschool storybook reading. Integration of PA activities associated with storybook reading appeared to accelerate the children's PA skills.