Investigating literacy promoting activities in the preschool years. A case study of preschool children in an English-speaking kindergarten in Norway.
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- Student papers (HF-IKS) 
Abstract This research has investigated literacy-promoting activities in the pre-school years. The research was performed in the form of a case study in an English-speaking kindergarten in Norway. The study addressed three research questions: firstly, the kind of literacy- promoting activities that took place in the preschool classroom, secondly, the role and value these literacy- promoting activities played in the children’s literacy development, and finally, how aware the teachers were about these literacy- promoting activities in pre-school years. The study reviewed and analysed the process and the product of the children’s experiences during various activities with their teachers and peers in the classroom. The data for the research was obtained through qualitative research methods, namely classroom observations and interviews with the two teachers. The data collection techniques used during the observations were audio-recording and written field notes. The study took place in one of the 3-4-year-old preschool classrooms, in which there were 16 children. The observation took place on 13 days during a six-week period. Unstructured observations were chosen to enable the researcher to choose from a wide range of activities and different reactions and behaviours from the young children in the pre-school classroom that were considered relevant for this research. The findings of the study showed that a number of literacy-promoting activities took place in the target classroom. Examples of these were children manipulating toys, storybook reading, environmental print, worksheet activities, and oral interaction, such as pretend play and mealtime conversations. Storytime was found to especially have a positive impact on the children’s literacy development. The children were able to learn new concepts, ideas, and vocabulary during these storytime interactions, which enhanced their knowledge and language skills. The storytime interaction process was shared, informal and natural, and the children found it very stimulating even if a story was being repeated. The study also showed that children’s cognitive development was supported in pretend play. This enabled them to think in ways that may also build up reasoning and problem-solving skills. In addition, it was evident from the study that children’s language and oral communication was being promoted during the pretend play activities. Overall, oral interaction played a major role when embedded in the children’s activities such as worksheet activities and mealtimes. Another important finding was that the the physical environment helped the children to interact regularly with books, which consequently increased their early literacy awareness and print experiences. The thesis has contributed to the research on children’s emergent literacy. It has explored in detail how literacy-promoting activities were part of the daily routines of the case study pre-school classroom. These activities could, in light of Vygotskian theory, have positive long-lasting effects on the pre-schoolers’ later literacy skills and development. As far as the researcher is aware, no research of this kind has previously been carried out in an English-speaking pre-school in Norway.
Master's thesis in Literacy Studies