Emergent Literacy in Thai Preschoolers: A Preliminary Study

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate emergent literacy skills, including phonological awareness when presented with an initial phoneme-matching task and letter knowledge when presented with a letter-naming task in Thai preschoolers, and to identify key factors associated with those skills.

Methods:

Four hundred twelve typically developing children in their final kindergarten year were enrolled in this study. Their emergent reading skills were measured by initial phoneme-matching and letter-naming tasks. Determinant variables, such as parents' education and teachers' perception, were collected by self-report questionnaires.

Results:

The mean score of the initial phoneme-matching task was 4.5 (45% of a total of 10 scores). The mean score of the letter-naming task without a picture representing the target letter name was 30.2 (68.6% of a total of 44 scores), which increased to 38.8 (88.2% of a total of 44 scores) in the letter-naming task when a picture representing the target letter name was provided. Both initial phoneme-matching and letter-naming abilities were associated with the mother's education and household income. Letter-naming ability was also influenced by home reading activities and gender.

Conclusion:

This was a preliminary study into emergent literacy skills of Thai preschoolers. The findings supported the importance of focusing on phonological awareness and phonics, especially in the socioeconomic disadvantaged group.

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