PLAY AND DEVELOPMENT OF PHONOLOGICAL SKILLS AMONG PRESCHOOLERS IN RIVERS WEST SENATORIAL DISTRICT OF RIVERS STATE PUBLIC EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTRES
The study used an experimental and descriptive technique to determine the relationship between play and the development of phonological abilities in pre-schoolers. Phonological Awareness is a linguistic word that relates to the ability to hear and alter language’s sound structure. It is a broad phrase that encompasses numerous procedures that require working with language sounds at the word, syllable, and phoneme levels.
The study aims to determine the relationship between play and the development of phonological abilities in preschoolers. The sample included 160 preschoolers, 80 boys and 80 females. During a reading passage, the Phonological Awareness Skills Test and Cronbach Alpha Coefficient were used to assess development in four phonological awareness skills: word identification, word deletion, word blending, and word rhyming.
The participants’ reading levels were determined using a pre- and post-Cloze Test. Furthermore, basic percentage and T- Test were used to statistically assess the data. The findings demonstrated that instruction in phonological awareness abilities considerably enhanced the reading ability of the experimental group’s students.
1.1 The Study’s Background
Early childhood is an important time for literacy development (Neuman, Copple, & Bredekamp, 1999; Shonkoff, 2000; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). Emergent literacy skills are an important aspect of children’s early language development and are influenced long before formal instruction begins (Adams, 1990; Burns, Griffin, & Snow, 1999; Hart & Risley, 1995).
Language development in preschool children is significantly related to how well they will learn to read later in life (Burns et al.). Children will struggle to profit from their first grade teacher’s literacy training unless they have a firm foundation of reading knowledge and skill (Schickedanz, 1999). Jacobson (1999) has underlined the importance of reading and early literacy, determining that the distinction between bad readers and normal readers got increasingly pronounced over time (years of school).
Despite getting remedial therapy for their reading handicap, Jacobson discovered that the experimental group continued to lag behind the control group, suggesting a deficit model rather than a lag model. This shortfall may contribute to an ongoing downward cycle. According to Scarborough, Dobrich, and Hager (1991), children of poor readers became bad readers in school because they were exposed to fewer reading and book experiences, whereas children of normal readers were better readers in school.
Our children’s preschool educational curriculum are garnering increased attention. Most preschool curriculum incorporate developmental domains; however, research has shown that programs that do not include language, cognitive, and early reading instruction/activities do not enhance school readiness. As a result, it appears that preventing, rather than remediating, these academic challenges is the most effective and efficient strategy to address this developing educational concern (US Department of Education, 2002).
Children who are behind in language, cognition, and early reading skills when they start school generally do not “catch up.” In these academic disciplines, they continue to lag behind their colleagues. According to Juel (1988), 87 percent of children who were bad readers at the end of first grade remained poor readers at the end of fourth grade. Reading failure can be considerably reduced with effective intervention in preschool, kindergarten, first and second grades, according to Ramey and Campbell (1991).
Children must learn a variety of skills in order to become great readers. Oral language (expressive and receptive language, including vocabulary development), phonological awareness (rhyming, blending, and segmenting sounds), print convention awareness, and alphabetic understanding are among these skills (letter recognition).
Children who received reading development training before entering kindergarten had higher reading and arithmetic scores, lower grade retention, better social skills, fewer teen pregnancies, and lower participation in welfare programs (Reynolds, 1997).
The bulk of reading challenges experienced by many teens and adults may have been avoided or remedied during the early childhood years (US Department of Education, 2002). Phonological awareness is a crucial part of pre-literacy skills (PA). Scientifically based reading research (Adams & Bruck, 1995; Griffith & Olson, 1992; Lundberg, Frost, & Petersen, 1988; Maclean, Bryant, & Bradley, 1987; Yopp, 1992; Yopp &Yopp, 2000) has shown that linguistic awareness games such as songs, nursery rhymes, rhyming activities, and sound manipulation activities can help teachers facilitate PA skills.
This study will look at PA and its relationship to reading as an early preparation skill. This study will specifically look at the impact of a speech language pathologist (SLP) incorporating classroom PA activities into a preschool program on the development of children’s preliteracy skills. The remainder of this chapter will concentrate on the relationship between PA abilities, metalinguistic abilities, and literacy development.
Reading is an essential skill in modern society, especially in the educational growth of pre-schoolers, because it allows access to written knowledge. As a result, impaired reading can have an impact on pre-schoolers’ academic progress and educational career.
Reading is an activity in which symbols/letters are translated into words and sentences that have meaning for the individual. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension, which can be achieved through phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is a comprehensive skill that encompasses recognizing and manipulating oral language units and pieces such as words, syllables, onsets, and rimes.
Preschoolers with phonological awareness may recognize and form oral rhymes, count the amount of syllables in a word, and distinguish words with similar initial sounds, such as’money’ and’mother.’
The literature on reading rehabilitation and prevention has shown that phonological awareness is a crucial component of early reading development. The understanding of the sound structure of oral language is referred to as phonological awareness. Several research over the last decade have proven that phonological deficiencies are a precursor to reading problems (Wagner et al., 1993).
Preschoolers with low phonological awareness have difficulties grasping or acting on the notion that words can be broken down into individual phonemes. Because pre-schoolers do not know how to decode new words, poor phonological awareness can lead to learning problems. Furthermore, decoding issues exacerbate difficulty with fluent reading and understanding of written information.
1.2 Problem description
The majority of pre-schoolers struggle to grasp English language reading comprehension abilities, which affects their reading ability. The current study focuses on pre-schoolers’ play and the development of phonological abilities. The author will present some tips to avoid future problems with reading comprehension skills using data acquired from pre-schoolers.
1.3 The study’s objectives
The purpose of this study is to identify the Play and development of phonological abilities in pre-schoolers. It also attempted to find disparities between male and female phonological awareness, as well as gender effects. Along with determining pre-schoolers’ attitudes toward phonological awareness activities.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The study’s major topic is: does increasing phonological awareness improve EFL reading comprehension skills in pre-schoolers?
This raises the following secondary questions:
Do phonological awareness tasks influence reading comprehension ability?
Do phonological awareness tasks help pre-schoolers’ reading skills?
Is gender a factor in the development of reading abilities during phonological awareness training?
What are students’ perspectives on phonological awareness tasks?
1.5 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
Reading comprehension skills benefit from phonological awareness assignments.
Using the Phonological Awareness curriculum to teach reading comprehension enhances the reading skills of pre-schoolers.
Gender has little effect on reading performance when analyzing phonological awareness abilities.
Preschoolers who learned phonological awareness developed a favorable opinion toward the Phonological Awareness curriculum.
1.6 The study’s scope
This study will be carried out among preschoolers in public early childhood education centers in River state and River state west senatorial district specifically.
1.7 A theoretical examination
Phonological Awareness Development
Students begin to display Phonological Awareness by recognizing words as separate entities, such as ‘What does that mean?’ and syllables or rhymes; that is, by becoming aware of how groups of sounds and words interact in spoken language, such as the’mat and pat’ rhyme. They learn to recognize and modify particular sounds, such as ‘dad and dear.’ These
Phonemes are unique language sounds. Encourage kids to use creative or temporary spelling as a key link in improving phonological awareness. When pupils try to write a word, they must first listen to their own language and parts of word sounds, then try to link sounds with letters.
Students must have some phonological awareness in order to use created spelling, but exploring sounds through writing allows them to learn more about how sounds and letters work in English and how to use this information as they read.
The Function of Phonological Awareness
Within words, there are various degrees of phonological awareness, including syllables, onsets and rimes, and sounds. Recognizing this has significant consequences for assisting students in developing phonological awareness. When attempting to decipher or spell unfamiliar words, good readers look for familiar “letter patterns” as a method. In other words, they employ recognized sound pieces from known words rather than single sounds.
This “chunking” of sounds improves the effectiveness and efficiency of reading and spelling. These letter patterns are based on syllable or rhyme patterns, sound clusters, and individual sounds. When reading and spelling, the student’s phonological awareness allows them to search inside words for syllables, rhymes, and specific sounds.
Students must be able to segment, blend, and modify syllables, onset and rime, and sounds in order to effectively use letter-sound knowledge for reading and writing. The phonological awareness skills of segmenting and blending are the most strongly related to early reading acquisition (Snow et al., 1998).
Phonemic and phonological awareness:
Phonemic awareness is the ability to concentrate on and alter particular sounds (phonemes) in spoken sentences. The tiniest units of spoken language are called phonemes. Phonemes join together to produce syllables and words. The word’mat,’ for example, includes three phonemes: /m/ /a/ /t/. In English, there are 44 phonemes, which include sounds represented by letter combinations such as /th/.
Phonemic awareness is essential because it serves as the foundation for spelling and word recognition skills. One of the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during their first two years of school is phonemic awareness. Students with lower levels of phonological awareness are more likely to struggle with reading than their peers. The good news is that phonological and phonemic awareness can be developed through a series of activities.
Phonological Awareness and Phonics Play a Role
When letter-sound correspondences (phonics) are learned, students with a high level of phonological awareness have the underlying foundation for reading (decoding) and writing (encoding). Students with low phonological awareness can typically learn “phonics,” or the understanding of letters and sounds, but they struggle to apply this knowledge while reading and spelling.
So, if children are expected to use letters and sounds as a source of information or cueing system while they read and spell, and they must because English is founded on an alphabetic system, it is critical that they have a strong phonological awareness.
Students that struggle with this area of language (about 20%) will struggle throughout school figuring out how sounds function in text. They will be unable to properly use their sound knowledge because they lack the underlying ability to “listen within a word” and “play with the sounds” they hear (Fitzpatrick, 1997).
When we listen and talk, the phonological process occurs automatically. It is intended to extract the meaning of what is said rather than to detect speech sounds in the words. It is intended to work automatically in the service of effective communication.
Reading and spelling, on the other hand, necessitate a level of metalinguistic discourse that is neither natural nor easily acquired. However, phonological ability is not closely associated to IQ. Some very clever persons have linguistic awareness limits, particularly at the phonological level. Phonological awareness is crucial because it assists children in learning how their language’s words are reproduced in print.
Many studies have revealed that phonemic awareness in pre-readers is a stronger predictor of future reading and spelling achievement than IQ or mental age (Torgesen, 2000). Liberman and Shankweiler (1985), Torgesen (2000), and Wagner (1985) all stressed the importance of phonological awareness for skilled reading.
“It is now widely accepted that phonological processing inefficiencies that interfere with the development of phonological skills such as phoneme segmentation, verbal memory, and name retrieval are the primary cause of reading disability for the vast majority of children” (O’Shaughnessy & Swanson, 2000).
Reading issues are caused by phonological awareness deficits in three ways:
To begin, the pupil must be alert to the internal structure of words; the sounds within each word, in order to learn to transfer oral language to print. If he cannot hear those specific phonemes, the alphabetic principle (how print translates to speech sounds) that underpins our written language system would never make sense to him (Chard & Dickson, 1999).
Students with phonological awareness can identify and consider the sounds in spoken words, which aids them in recalling the correspondence between sound and symbol as they learn about letters of the alphabet. When students are aware of this, they discover how spoken language is encoded by print and how this becomes meaningful (O’Connor et al., 1993).
Second, pupils with inadequate phonological awareness have difficulty remembering which letter corresponds to which sound. This issue with phonological decoding can result in word misinterpretation. If word-reading errors are not remedied, the incorrect print-to-sound associations that are reinforced become persistent and interfere with the student’s future attempts to read comparable words (Olson et al., 1994).
Third, poor phonological abilities might have an indirect impact on reading comprehension. If a learner misreads key words in a chapter, he may miss the primary points being communicated. Furthermore, if the reader expends significant effort decoding each word in a sentence, his comprehension will suffer (Olson et al., 1994).
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