These factors develop a child's level of ability that is measurable and it will pay huge dividends in the child's educational future.
Chapter 3 Methodology
The research focused on assessing kindergarten level reading skills and providing insights into the instructional strategies for teaching effective reading skills. The methodology used was to incorporate picture books, vocabulary instruction, phonic instruction, and visual cues for linguistic processing in order to build phonological awareness skills, comprehension and vocabulary.
The research helped gain insights into a kindergartener's ability to use Phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and word knowledge which made it easier to identify children who were struggling with tasks required in reading.
Research Design and Details
For letter identification measures, students were measured in an un-timed test where each student had to read a lower-case alphabet letter on an individual card over the course of the two months and then having to say the letter out loud each time. Over the course of the study, students were given one on one help or peer help with letters they had trouble with so over the two-month period, every student eventually learned how to say each letter of the alphabet.
The Phonemic Awareness was taught and measured by using sound matching. "Awareness at the level of the phoneme has particular significance for the acquisition of reading because of its role in the development of the alphabetic principle - that the written word is simply a means of codifying the sound properties of the spoken word. In order to decode the written word, the child needs to appreciate the logic of the writing system and, as a prerequisite, the logic of oral word production." (Hempenstall, 1997)
Therefore, a series of questions were asked of the students over the time of the research such as: What is the first sound you hear in the word bat; dog; eat or house? The children were instructed on this skill set until they had a solid grasp or these types of phonemic strategies. Comprehension was measured through an analysis of the students' ability to retell a story in their own words. Word knowledge was focused on the words that would be covered in the final reading test.
In regard to personal advancement and the knowledge that many teachers today may not have the necessary skills needed to teach Phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and word knowledge, this researcher made a consorted effort to become proficient in this area. A unique skill set is needed for kindergarten teachers who wish to gain a semblance of proficiency in phonemic awareness so as to be able to put this skill set to use.
So as not to assume that the two kindergarten teachers involved had the necessary understanding regarding Phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and word knowledge, we did our literature review and also utilized the "Hooked on Phonics" software and video educational program.
As a result of this research, the two class teachers and I created a solid foundation in our own phonemic awareness. We each made the effort to gain the related skills to help train students in the sound structure of words, reading comprehension and vocabulary word knowledge.
Chapter 4 Study
Forty-two kindergarten students from two classes of the same school participated in the study for a two-month period. Twenty-two were male; twenty female. Twenty four students were of European-American descent, sixteen students or approximately (38%) were African-American and only two children had English as a second language. Both of these students had Spanish as their first language. The school is in a rural setting and the study took place in a primary education building with pre-K through second grade students are enrolled and the area's socioeconomic status had only four children eligible for federal lunch assistance. In other words, the educational and economic status of the community was middleclass.
The purpose of the research was to ascertain if there is a combination of predictive measures that correlate between phonetics, comprehension and word knowledge. If there was, could these skills be taught to students and then used to increase the ability to read at the educational reading skills level.
If so, what was the best way to teach these skills in order to increase a classes' ability to read. Specific details of the study focused on first observing student's ability in letter identification, phonological awareness, reading tests and vocabulary consistency. When deficiencies were noted, one on one and peer training was then provided to help build confidence in a particular skill set. Reading achievement was measured from the beginning of the two-month period to the end of the two-month period with concerns regarding a student's comprehension, fluency, sight-word recognition, and phonemic pronunciation.
It is important to acknowledge the limitations of the study. Most importantly, the sample size was relatively small (42), but the ethnic diversity was acceptable. An additional limitation was the overall length of time of the study which was very short (2 months).
The study did not take into consideration any unique or distinct learning disabilities such as AD/HD or dyslexia. However, the study could be used to demonstrate a teacher's ability to identify a reading problem early on although it would not be good for the identification of specific reading problems.
It is key to identify poor readers as early as possible so this study of kindergarteners, although limited, did meet these criteria. It is highly recommended that additional research be used to measures the intermediate school years of these students to strengthen the findings.
Chapter 5-Analysis and Interpretation
Participants of the study were followed over a two-month period during the mid-kindergarten school year. All of these children will receive the normal standardized tests that will reflect the predictive variables of the students' reading skill set.
This research found that a student that is provided an early childhood program that specially teaches instructional strategies for effective reading skills at the kindergarten level can in fact raise the ability of every student to read at a higher level. The ability to teach a student the necessary Phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and word knowledge skills needed to read better and with more understanding is possible.
Of course it must be acknowledged that there are multiple factors that contribute to reading skills in the later primary grades, but the ability to discern the most promising combination of predictors of early reading achievement will help teachers better meet the needs of the students entrusted into their care. Phonemic awareness, reading comprehension and word knowledge are factors that build a sound framework that can directly relate to the reading level of all students.
Chapter 6 Conclusions
This report was summary of my research as a student teacher in an early childhood program based on viable instructional strategies for teaching effective reading skills at the kindergarten level. The objective of the paper was to demonstrate and note the importance of teaching students at the kindergarten level in the necessary skills that can also help to identify students who may need additional reading assistance.
This study represented a two-month observation coupled with testing and other research methodologies that focused on Phonemic Awareness, Reading Comprehension, and Word Knowledge. It is critical that students obtain the educational foundation that builds on their future educational needs and reading is obviously one of these foundations points. For this reason, teachers will have to continue to identify those students who are in need of further assistance and recognize these facts as quickly as possible.
This information is of particular national importance as more and more teachers struggle when making informed decisions concerning early intervention. With the enactment of the No Child Left Behind program, it has become extremely important for the students, schools, and districts to meet minimum reading requirements or face serious consequences at later educational levels based on the existing legislation penalties.
This research shows that the identification and administration of optimal predictive measures such as on Phonemic Awareness, Reading Comprehension, and Word Knowledge are viable steps to early identification and prevention of reading concerns but are also excellent areas to focus on when trying to improve early readers' skills. The use of factors reflects on the teacher's ability to provide the needed skills for an overall healthy reading process. The results from this study suggest that teachers become proficient at Phonemic Awareness, Reading Comprehension, and Word Knowledge to enhance their ability to make better readers at the kindergarten and before level.
Chard, David J., & Dickson, Shirley V. (1999). Phonological Awareness: Instructional and Assessment Guidelines. Intervention in School & Clinic.
Cranton, Patricia a. (2000). Exploring the Scholarship of Teaching. Journal of Higher Education, July 1.
Franz, Ph.D., Vivian. (n.d.). Strategies for Reading Comprehension. Retrieved October 5, 2004, at http://www.thudscave.com/~lamplighter/readcomp.htm
Fuchs, Douglas, et al. (2001). Peer-assisted learning strategies in reading: Extensions for kindergarten, first grade, and high school. Remedial & Special…