• Effective Practices to Increase Kindergarten Readiness and Promote Literacy Skills for Preschool Teachers, Literacy Specialists, and Families

      Shaffer, LeighAnn (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
      Researchers have found that students have been coming into kindergarten with difficulty, in need of additional reading support, causing challenges for teachers to meet the learning needs of all students (Brown, 2014; Curby, Rimm-Kaufman, & Ponitz, 2009). The purpose of this research was to investigate effective emergent literacy practices that could be implemented by teachers and families to increase kindergarten readiness. To determine effective practices, a qualitative methodology was used to conduct empirical research through a thematic analysis of data collected from a focus group interview that consisted of five consented participants. The participants included a mixture of general education teachers, a special education teacher, and a literacy specialist. From the data analysis, four overarching themes were found including: the importance of phonics in emergent literacy development, children’s behavior and social skills, the gap between low and high academically performing students in relation to literacy skills, and exposure to literacy-based activities. The participants explained that engaging in early literacy practices such as reading with and to children, everyday conversations to increase vocabulary development, and providing young children with activities to increase fine motor skills such as cutting and coloring can increase kindergarten readiness and literacy development to decrease the student performance gap.