Emergent literacy skills and predictive factors on Japanese preschoolers and kindergartners’ reading

Emergent literacy skills and predictive factors on Japanese preschoolers and kindergartners’ reading

First Author: Maya Kobayashi -- Seirei University
Keywords: Emergent literacy, Japanese, Preschool, Kindergarten, Reading Ability
Abstract / Summary: 

This study examined the relative validity of emergent literacy skills and cognitive-linguistic factors (phonological analysis, rapid automatized naming, phonological memory, visual-orthographic processing, and general knowledge) for predicting letter identification, fluent text reading, and reading comprehension within typically developing Japanese 3-year-old (N=35) and 5-year-old children (N=40). In our previous studies, in Japanese kindergartners, hiragana RAN and number RAN best predicted reading accuracy and speed. In our Japanese first graders, however, kanji RAN and hiragana RAN were the best predictors of oral reading speed, mora deletion best predicted oral reading accuracy, and kanji RAN, mora deletion, and phonological memory best predicted reading comprehension (Kobayashi, Haynes, Macaruso, et al., 2005; Kobayashi, Kato, Haynes, et al., 2003).
Hierarchical regression analyses were performed to determine the unique variance contributed to reading measures by each emergent literacy skill and cognitive linguistic measure which showed significant correlations with reading performance. The strongest predictor of single letter (Hiragana) identification was emergent literacy skill in both three-year-old and five-year-old children. In three-year-old children, the strongest predictor for single word identification was phonological analysis, whereas in five-year-old children, number RAN was the strongest predictor. To read a text fluently, Hiragana RAN was the strongest predictor for five-year-old children. For reading comprehension, general knowledge (WPPSI Information) was the only predictor for three-year-old children, and Number RAN was the strongest predictor for five-year-old children.
We hope that our current study will add to our general understanding of emergent literacy skills and cognitive-linguistic skills that underlie the ability to read Japanese and also provide additional support for developing tasks for detection of children with dyslexia.