The study examined the differential contributions on vocabulary and alphabetic skills of three literacy programs: (a) storybook reading program; (b) alphabetic skills program; and (c) a combined program. It was expected that storybook reading would enhance primarily vocabulary while alphabetic skills training would promote primarily alphabetic skills. Program by age interactions were examined in two age groups (3-4 and 4-5 years old) to test whether the storybook reading program may be more productive for the younger children whereas alphabetic skills program more productive for the older children. Twelve low-SES preschools participated in the study, three in each program and three as a comparison group. Results indicated that the children in the three intervention programs progressed significantly more than the comparison group on name writing, letter knowledge and phonological awareness. Further, the alphabetic skills program outperformed the other groups on word writing, letter knowledge and initial letter retrieval, whereas the storybook reading program outperformed only the comparison group. Results on the combined program were mixed - enhancing more initial letter retrieval and book vocabulary than storybook reading program. In general, no differences emerged in the progress of younger versus older children except on receptive vocabulary - the younger surpassing the older in all programs.
|Tel Aviv University