Do Metalinguistic Activities in Kindergarten Boost Learning to Read in Grade 1?

Do Metalinguistic Activities in Kindergarten Boost Learning to Read in Grade 1?

First Author: Ana Albuquerque -- ISPA - Instituto Universitário
Additional authors/chairs: 
Margarida Alves Martins
Keywords: Literacy, Reading development, Kindergarten, Early childhood age 3-8
Abstract / Summary: 

Metalinguistic activities in kindergarten have shown to have a positive impact on preschool children’s early literacy skills. However, few studies have analysed the effects of these activities on learning to read in the first year of primary school. The goal of our study was to explore to what extent do metalinguistic activities in kindergarten help boost young children’s reading skills in Grade 1. A sample of 40 Portuguese five-year-old children was randomly split into an intervention and a comparison group. These groups were similar on phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge and non-verbal intelligence. Participants were tested four times on their ability to read words: twice in kindergarten (before and after the intervention metalinguistic sessions) and twice in Grade 1 (at the beginning and at the end of school year). During the experimental period, children in the intervention group participated in group activities where they were encouraged to think about the letters and sounds of simple words. Children in the comparison group listened to short stories and participated in group discussions about them. Results revealed statistically significant differences between the two groups not only after the intervention sessions but also in the follow-up year. Metalinguistic training activities benefited literacy learning in the beginning of primary education as children in the intervention group scored higher than the comparison group in all reading tasks until the end of Grade 1. This research supports the importance of developing metalinguistic activities in kindergarten for reading acquisition.