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Developing of reading and writing skills with the use of vertical literacy model

Katarina Grom (2020) Developing of reading and writing skills with the use of vertical literacy model. PhD thesis.

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    The preschool period is important for the child’s ability to develop initial literacy, especially if it also includes premeditated and systematic development of preliteracy skills, as these are essential for initial literacy. The research field of the doctoral dissertation is didactics of the Slovenian language, more precisely: reading and writing. The theoretical starting points explain different definitions of literacy, this is followed by the complex historical survey from the early beginning of writing to the introduction of the integrative method of literacy. In the past, literacy was studied from different aspects – sociocultural, developmental, cognitive and educational, while the researchers paid less attention to the neuroeducational aspect, on the basis of which new theoretical frameworks for modern educational practices are designed, and this is connected also to the attitudes of the educators and the teachers towards the development of (pre)literacy skills. The international educational trends, which involve pedagogic approaches in the context of balancing between play and acquisition of skills, contribute to more responsible attitudes of the society and the individuals towards early development of child’s literacy. Of key importance in this process is the vertical connection, which refers to the development of preliteracy skills. It is linked to initial literacy and it is characterised by various methods and procedures. The main purpose of the study was to introduce a model of vertical literacy in the preschool period and the early school period. This literacy development model links two separate educational institutions, i.e. the kindergarten and the primary school. The model of vertical literacy encompassed premeditated and systematic development of preliteracy skills with (pre)school children and introduced the integrative method for initial literacy of first-grade children. The principal goal of the study was to investigate the effect of the model of vertical literacy with preschool children aged from 4 to 5 years and from 5 to 6 years, and with first-grade children aged from 6 to 7 years. The qualitative and the quantitative research approaches were applied by using the causal-experimental method and the descriptive method. The longitudinal study involved non-random purposive sampling which included 851 preschool and first-grade children, with whom 2198 tests were carried out in two years. The empirical part of the study is divided into three independent parts which in the end, when the substantive and the structural model of vertical literacy is formed, become a composite whole. The first part of the study included the qualitative analysis of two national documents which are used in the social-educational field in Slovenia, i.e. The Curriculum for Kindergartens (1999), which is used in preschool period, and The Curriculum for the Slovenian Language (2011), on which teaching of the Slovenian language in primary school is based. The analysis of the documents aimed to establish similarities and differences in the field of preliteracy skills, while the research findings showed that the two documents appropriately define preliteracy skills. The Curriculum for Kindergartens (1999) displays only minor variations in connecting preliteracy skills in regard to principles, goals, the methodology of the firsts and the second age group and the role of educators; while The Curriculum for the Slovenian Language (2011) confirmed that the majority of the preliteracy fields are interconnected. They differ only in direction and intensity of the connection between the individual fields which are important for preliteracy. The second, quantitative part of the study involved the initial and the final survey questionnaires and their analysis. We thus compared the attitudes of the participating educators and teachers towards (pre)literacy. The survey questionnaires’ findings show that the educators and children will benefit if The Curriculum for Kindergartens (1999) defines the timeframe and the contents of preliteracy skills in more detail, while the teachers who participated in the survey questionnaires find it reasonable to gain knowledge of preliteracy skills also from The Curriculum for Kindergartens (1999). The respondents in the survey also pointed out the importance of the education which influences the attitude towards the early introduction of (pre)literacy; furthermore, they recognised the significance of a teaching approach by applying didactic means, which enables different forms of (pre)literacy implementation through applying individualisation and differentiation. In the third part, which was also carried out quantitatively, we focused on the premeditated and systematic development of preliteracy skills of children in the (pre)school period in order to determine the progress in the field of preliteracy. We also investigated the introduction of the integrative method of initial literacy in the first grade of the primary school in order to measure the reading progress of children at the end of the first grade of primary school. In the children's, tests the majority of differences between the control and the intersectional group aged from 4 to 5 years and from 5 to 6 years appeared in the tasks which examined the knowledge of letters, the concept of printing, the ability of phonological awareness and the ability to predict on the basis of syntactic and semantic keys. Even greater differences were observed between the children who participated in the research for two consecutive years, i.e. between the intersectional group and the longitudinal group. The children aged from 6 to 7 years additionally displayed differences between the control and the intersectional group also in the abilities to apply the phonological key, in the speed of silent reading, loud reading, and in understanding of the read texts. Differences in progress in these tasks appear also between the intersectional group and the longitudinal group, the latter made faster progress. It is interesting that no age group and no group in our study displayed differences in reading motivation, which confirms that children at these ages like to read. The scientific contribution of the doctoral dissertation is the design of the substantive and structural model of vertical literacy which in practice facilitates premeditated and systematic development of preliteracy skills in the (pre)school period, introduces the integrative method of initial literacy, advocates the principle of vertical connection of the two educational programmes, and stimulates tiered development of preliteracy skills, which are adjusted to individual developmental periods of children. With its new pedagogic approach, the study satisfies the principle of quality educational process, as it facilitates higher levels of early and initial literacy.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Keywords: literacy, developing preliteracy skills, integrative method of literacy, vertical literacy model, kindergarten, school
    Number of Pages: 527
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    prof. dr. Igor SaksidaMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/19927811
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 6254
    Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2020 13:10
    Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 13:10
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/6254

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