Tobia, V. 1 , Bonifacci, P. 2 & Marzocchi, G. M. 1
1 University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
2 University of Bologna, Italy
The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of reading precursors in preschoolers? early numeracy skills. Eighty-one Italian preschoolers (mean age 56.9 months, range 47 - 65 months; 54.3 % females) were administered with two screening batteries to evaluate precursors of school learning abilities. In particular, phonological awareness, non-word repetition and letter knowledge were analyzed as reading precursors. Furthermore, precursors of math abilities such as quantity comparison, counting, size seriation, semantic knowledge of digits (digits recognition, digits reading and association between digits and quantities) and visual-spatial memory were examined. A composite score was obtained considering children?s performance on reading precursors. It was used to classify children with poor (< -1 SD; n = 8), medium (between -1 and 1 SD; n = 65) and high (> 1 SD; n = 8) performance. Then, a MANOVA was run to analyze differences in early numeracy skills between the three groups. Results showed a significant effect of Reading precursors group on counting and semantic knowledge of digits, with a linear improvement between the three groups. On the contrary, quantity comparison, size seriation and visual-spatial memory were similar in the three groups. The practical and theoretical implications, in particular for preschool programs, are discussed.