Understanding print: Early reading development and the contributions of home literacy experiences
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This study explored the development of children's early understanding of visual and orthographic aspects of print and how this is related to early reading acquisition. A total of 474 children, ages 48 to 83 months, completed standardized measures of phonological awareness and early reading skills. They also completed experimental tasks that tapped their understanding of what constitutes "readable" print. The parents of participants completed a questionnaire regarding their children's home literacy experiences. The data showed systematic development in children's understanding of print conventions and English orthography and spelling. Regression analyses indicated that print knowledge was related to early reading skill, even after accounting for variance due to age and phonological awareness. Furthermore, parents' ratings of the extent of their children's involvement in activities that led to practice in reading and writing most consistently predicted the development of emerging literacy skills, including understanding of the conventions of the English writing system. Little relation between print knowledge and the frequency of storybook reading by adults was observed.
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