Citation
Children's perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and read

Material Information

Title:
Children's perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and read
Creator:
Thompson, Sharon Virginia
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 253 leaves : ; 29 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Adults ( jstor )
Child development ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Drawing ( jstor )
Educational environment ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Literacy ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Siblings ( jstor )
Writing instruction ( jstor )
Curriculum and Instruction thesis Ed.D
Dissertations, Academic -- Curriculum and Instruction -- UF
Home schooling ( lcsh )
Language awareness in children ( lcsh )
Reading (Primary) ( lcsh )
Reading readiness ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Thesis:
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 1992
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 238-251)
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sharon Virginia Thompson.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. This item may be protected by copyright but is made available here under a claim of fair use (17 U.S.C. §107) for non-profit research and educational purposes. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact the RDS coordinator (ufdissertations@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
027818195 ( ALEPH )
26582462 ( OCLC )

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text















CHILDREN'S PERCEPTIONS OF HOW THEY
LEARNED TO DRAW, WRITE, AND READ












By

SHARON VIRGINIA THOMPSON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF EDUCATION


UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1992


LUNYESITYnOFFLORJR- LBRRARE























Copyright 1992

by

Sharon Virginia Thompson
























This dissertation is dedicated to my family, Joey and Joelle, Mom and Dad, and to my support system, Paul and Linda.














ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The writing of this dissertation has been successfully completed only by a team effort. Without the inspiration, sacrifice, encouragement, and occasional push by people I love and/or respect the writing probably never would have started and certainly never would have been completed.

I would like to express my gratitude to the following people who shared with me and helped me survive and even to succeed through the past few years:

--The early learners and their families who shared their perceptions of literacy development with me.

--The members of my committee, Dorene Ross, Raymond Ferguson, Arthur Newcomb, and Lynn Hartle, who gave of their time, expertise, and encouragement.

--My committee chairperson, Dr. Linda Lamme, who has consistently inspired me and provided time, direction, guidance, and friendship.

--My best friend, Paul Hildebrand, for his patience, encouragement, and constant "What did you do on your paper today?"

--And, especially my children, Joelle and Joey, who have sacrificed more than I ever wanted.














TABLE OF CONTENTS


pagc

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................... .. ........ iii

ABSTRACT ............................................. vii

CHAPTERS

1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY ........................ 1

Statement of the Problem ........................... 2
Design of the Study ............................. 5
Significance of the Study .......................... 7
Definition of Terms ............................. 8
Limitations of the Study ........................ 10
Scope of the Study .............................. 11
Summary ......................................... 12

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................. ....... 14

Introduction ....... ......................... .14
A Historical Overview of Preschool Drawing,
Writing, and Reading ................. 17
Intrinsic Growth/Neural Ripening/Maturation .. 18 Basic Skills Approach to Reading Readiness ... 20 Emergent Literacy in the 1980s ............... 26
The Home Environment and Literacy ................ 38
Reading to the Child ................ ........... o 39
Interactive Practices Between Parents and
Children as Related to Reading ................. 43
Interactive Practices Between Parents and
Children During Art Experiences ................ 48
Modeling ....................... 51
Experience with Available Material .......... 54 Exposure to Environmental Print .............. 56
Parents' Attitudes, Expectations, and Reward
System ....................................... ..58
Summary ............ .................. ...64

3 METHODOLOGY ................ .. .. .. . 66

Introduction ...................................... 66
Research Perspective .............................. 67








School Selection ............................. 71
Subject Selection .............................. 72
The Setting ..................................... 74
Entry to the Site ............................ 74
Description of the Site--Classroom ............ 76
Research Methods and Procedures ................. 77
Overview ..................................... 77
Data Collection ................................ 78
Informal and Formal Interviewing .............. 79
Analysis of the Data ........................... 82
Methodological Issues .......................... 84
Reliability and Validity ......................... 90
Conclusion ......................... ........... 92

4 METHODS EMPLOYED BY EARLY LEARNERS AND THEIR
FAMILY MEMBERS AS DESCRIBED BY THOSE EARLY
LEARNERS, THEIR PARENTS, AND THEIR SIBLINGS ... 93

Introduction .................................... 93
Time Provided ................................... 95
Materials and Resources ......................... 102
Observations of the Environment ................. 107
Modeling ......................................... 113
Positive Influences of Modeling .............. 113
Negative Influences of Modeling ............... 118
Social Transactions During Reading ............... 119
Child Initiation ............. ... .............. 123
Encouragement Systems ............................ 129
Displays ...................................... 130
Verbal Encouragement ......................... 132
Distribution of Literacy Products to Others .. 133 Adult Dependence on Children ................. 135
Uses Literacy as a Reward .................... 135
Validit ........ ..................... 136
Con1 ive Arntceshipi........................138
fhe-Context Taught ..... ...... 142
Domain Knowledge ............................ 142
Heuristic Strategies ......................... 145
Control Strategies ................ ....... 148
Learning Strategies .......................... 151
The Pedagogical Methods Employed ............... 153
Modeling, Coaching, and Scaffolding ............ 154
Articulation and Reflection ................... 158
Exploration ...................................... 161
Sequencing of Learning Activities .............. 163
Increasing Complexity ......... o .............. 164
Increasing Diversity ........................ 166
Global Before Local Skills ................... 167
The Sociology of Learning ....................... 170
Situated Learning ................ ...171
Culture of Expert Practice .................... 173
Intrinsic Motivation ...... .... ... 175








Exploiting Cooperation ....................... 180
Exploiting Competition ....................... 182
Summary ......................................... 186

5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .................... 195

Conclusions .............. ...............195
Summary ......................................... 205
Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies .... 206
Time Provided ................................ 207
Availability of Materials and Resources ...... 209 Observations of the Environment .............. 210
Modeling ..................................... 213
Social Transactions During Reading ............ 217
Child Initiated Interactions ................. 219
Encouragement Systems ........................ 221
Drawing ...................................... 223
Implications .................................... 226
Implications for the Research Community ...... 226 Implications for Parents ..................... 230
Implications for Teachers .................... 232
Summary ..................... ........ ....... 234

REFERENCES .................... ................ 238

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ...................... 252


vii














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

CHILDREN' S PERCEPTIONS OF HOW THEY
LEARNED TO DRAW, WRITE, AND READ

By

Sharon Virginia Thompson

May 1992

Chairperson: Linda L. Lamme Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum

The purpose of this study was to describe elements that existed within the home environment of 20 early learners that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. Data were generated from retrospective interviews of children, their parents, and siblings. A theoretical construct, "cognitive apprenticeship," provided a framework for analyzing the learning environments.

Interpretation of the results of this study revealed that children who excelled in art remembered being very observant of their natural surroundings, in the same way that early readers reported noticing environmental print. They remembered copying adult and sibling models, much as early writers recounted copying models of writing. This finding suggested that children could benefit from being viii








taught to be more observant of their environment and from being exposed to a variety of models of drawing with different levels of expertise. Further, because the links between art development and those of reading and writing were so strong, there may be additional links among the other arts, such as music and drama and early literacy.

Children's interactions with older siblings tended to differ somewhat from their interactions with parents. Although parents tended to be responsive, siblings directed learning experiences in a play-oriented atmosphere. This finding suggested there might be educational advantages derived from placing children in multi-age learning environments that are more family-like while in school. Oral interactions with their parents and siblings surrounded the literacy events remembered by these children.

These early learners initiated most of the learning

experiences remembered by their parents and siblings. They sought out books, art and writing supplies, and reasons for literacy events. They asked questions and initiated interactions during storybook reading. If the learning development of children is promoted at home by responsive adults, it might be worthwhile to explore more deeply the impact of responsive environments at school.














CHAPTER 1
BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY



Researchers have explored in great depth how children learn to read and, to a lesser extent, how they acquire the ability to write (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984). Far less attention has been paid to how children learn to draw, yet children draw before they write or read, and drawing helps form the basis for writing and reading (Dyson, 1988; Gardner, 1970; Hildreth, 1936; Lamme, 1984).

Research in emergent literacy has involved observing children and studying their artifacts. Researchers have also observed and interviewed parents about how their children have learned or are learning to read, write, and draw. Children's perceptions of how they learned or are learning these skills have thus far almost been ignored in the emergent literacy research.

While children's emergence into drawing, writing, and reading have each been studied separately and the links between reading and writing have received recent attention (Dyson, 1988), few researchers have explored children's development across all three areas of reading, writing, and drawing. What we know about children's development in drawing, writing, and reading has been obtained from

1










studies in each area that were independent of each other and used different children for each. Young children develop as a whole, demonstrating their emergent literacy as they draw, write, and read, so it makes logical sense to explore these three forms of literacy in conjunction with one another.

This study was designed to add a needed dimension to the research on how young children learn to draw, write, and read by focusing on their total development and how they, their parents, and their siblings perceived the attainment of these skills occurred within the home environment. Qualitative research methods stress the importance of gathering documentation from as many sources as possible. However, one source of data that is seldom drawn upon is the children themselves. The researcher employed retrospective interviews with 20 kindergarten, first, and second grade children who entered school with exceptional drawing, writing, and/or reading ability. These children were termed early learners. Half of the early learners' parents and siblings were also interviewed.

Statement of the Problem

Emergent literacy development is an issue of great importance to educators of young children. Even though children have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge before entering school (Hall, 1987), some have trouble acquiring academic skills, despite great efforts from










teachers and parents. In an effort to make instruction simple, forms of literacy and their associated skills have been isolated and broken into small bits and pieces. That very isolation of skills and removal of literacy from the context that makes it useful and purposeful, however, has made learning difficult for many children (Teale & Sulzby, 1986).

Researchers and writers have also broken literacy into small or isolated areas and have neglected examining literacy development as a unified process (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984). Children speak, draw, write, and read in intertwined patterns which are continually adding to each of the other areas of literacy. This creates a unified view of literacy as a process which is always changing and maturing. Children's development can be studied as a uniform process. When the performance of a child is studied in several or in all areas of literacy and the findings are presented as a whole, then literacy instruction within the classroom can reflect the true means by which children become literate.

The children in this study were a special group of

children. They were from a rural area and, in many cases, were minority students who have been underrepresented in the emergent literacy research. Through these rural children and some of the families, this study linked simultaneously the influences from the home environment on










drawing, writing, and reading during literacy development. Employing a child's perspective added another needed dimension to the current research.

The researcher investigated the elements within the

home environment that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The following questions provided a focus for this study:

1. What are the perceptions of children about the multiple factors that contributed to their emergent literacy in drawing, writing, and/or reading?

2. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of different children? Do their perceptions/experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development?

3. What do parents and siblings see as important

contributing factors for drawing, writing, and/or reading?

4. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of parents and siblings? Do their perceptions/experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development?

5. What are the similarities and differences among

the perceptions of children and the perceptions of parents and siblings? Of what significance are these similarities and differences?








5
After asking the children's parents and siblings questions similar to those asked the early learners, any discrepancies were noted and restated during the parent interview.

Design of the Study

Ethnographic methods are most appropriate to study holistic literacy development of young children. The methods of ethnography, also known as naturalistic inquiry or qualitative research, provide the means through which the researcher can attempt to gain the perspective of the subjects through their own perceptions to better understand their development (Spradley, 1979). In contrast to quantitative research, qualitative research forms hypotheses during and after the investigation rather than before the investigation (Silverman, 1983).

Two major methods of qualitative or ethnographic

research include participant observation and interviewing (Spradley, 1979). In this study, the interview approach was utilized (including open-ended interviews, conversational interviews, and the general interview guide) (Silverman, 1983). After teacher evaluation and initial testing, subjects who had been identified as early learners were chosen and were interviewed to gain a retrospective picture of the process of their literacy development.

Bloom (1985) used a retrospective interview technique in studying individuals who had reached the highest levels










of talent within their fields. Bloom studied outstanding musicians, athletes, and mathematicians as well as individuals representing interpersonal fields, such as school teachers, social workers, supervisors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Using a retrospective interview approach, the researcher/ethnographer collected field notes, conducted and tape-recorded informal interviews, and transcribed the tapes of the interviews onto protocols that were later analyzed to describe and compare in detail the children studied. Through this later analysis, patterns emerged that created a "picture" and theory of how these children's early literacy emerged.

The researcher/ethnographer selected children who were identified as early learners based on teacher evaluation and performance on the Dial test or Brigance test. As a minimum, these children, upon entering kindergarten, read at least 10 words and/or wrote letters and/or some words. The drawing techniques the children used were common to children at least 2 years older, incorporating the use of a base line and easily recognizable human figures. In some instances children showed the correct usage of proportions and perspective, such as overlapping, size relationships to show distance, correct use of horizon line and use of profiles. The children interviewed were advanced in at least one of the three areas of drawing, writing, and reading.










As an integral part of this study, the parents and older siblings of 10 of the early learners were also interviewed. Families were chosen for interviews after all of the early learners had been interviewed. Of the 20 early learners interviewed, 10 of their families were included in the study. Families were chosen for this study based on their willingness and availability. Families of the highly verbal children were the first asked to participate. Six of the interviewed families were of children who were best able to respond specifically to the questions asked; four of the families interviewed were of children who were low responders.

Significance of the Study

This study addressed the need for research on

children's perceptions of the early development of their drawing, writing, and reading abilities. Many researchers have examined development within the home environment but very few have asked children how they perceived that they acquired literacy (Anbar, 1986; Holt, 1983). Every source of available information needs to be explored. The three specific areas of literacy involving symbols--drawing, writing, and reading--have received unequal attention. Reading has gained a great deal of attention within the literature and research. Writing has received considerably less attention than reading (Graves, 1980) but a great deal more than children's art. Researchers have almost ignored










the development of drawing, writing, and reading together. Even though these same literacy studies are done in the name of "holistic" learning, most researchers isolate one or maybe two areas of literacy to examine.

Classroom teachers are beginning to make a move toward a closer correlation between how children learn at home and how instruction occurs within a school setting. FTo have control over or to be able to influence learning within the classroom, particular elements or variables affecting learning need to be explored./ Studies of children's perceptions provide relevant and useful information for curriculum formation.] The results of this study contribute evidence that particular strategies, when combined, have provided children with a head start in their literacy development. Drawing, writing, and reading develop in similar ways and reinforce each other. No area of literacy is developed in isolation from the others. These elements or strategies may be transferred from the home environment to the classroom to provide children with a "natural" way of learning. Since emergent literacy research provides the foundation for whole language instruction in the classroom (Hall, 1987), these findings have 4irect application for teachers .

Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined as they were used in this study.










Early learners were those children who, in drawing, were at least 2 years ahead of their peers when entering kindergarten, as judged by an educational specialist in art education (the researcher). As a minimum level of development, children were categorized within a Schematic Stage (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982) which normally begins around 7 years of age. Children termed early learners in writing were writing letters and words when entering kindergarten. Children termed early learners in reading were able to read at least 10 words when entering kindergarten. Children who were chosen for this study were also reading simple readers or stories from children's picture books.

Emerging literacy was defined by Teale and Sulzby (1986) as follows:

At whatever point we look, we see children in the
process of becoming literate, as the term
emergent indicates. . Emergent connotes
development rather than stasis; it signifies
something in the process of becoming. (p. xix) Perception is defined in Webster's Seventh New

Collegiate Dictionary (1963) as having a capacity for comprehension, to attain awareness or have an understanding.

Whole language was defined by Altwerger, Edelsky, and Flores (1987) as follows:

Whole Language is based on the following ideas:
(a) language is for making meanings, for
accomplishing purposes; (b) written language is
language--thus what is true for language in










general is true for written language; (c) the cuing systems of language (phonology in oral,
orthography in written language, morphology,
syntax, semantics, pragmatics) are always
simultaneously present and interacting in any instance of language in use; (d) language use
always occurs in a situation; (e) situations are
critical to meaning-making. (p. 144)

Limitations of the Study

The objective of this study was to describe the

elements within the home environment of early learners which influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. It may be, however, that the findings can be applied only to children with average and better-than-average intelligence or to children from a particular rural north-Florida community.

The researcher/ethnographer selected the children who demonstrated advanced knowledge and abilities and to whom she had easy access. Their learning styles and techniques may not typify the learning of all young children.

The very nature of the study (i.e., the retrospective interviewing of young children) is a difficult method by which to obtain accurate data. Children must be able to separate specific instances of their past, out of context, and report those instances when asked by the interviewer. Hatch (1988) identified four problems which arise when young children are used as informants stemming from the ways they understand their roles and make sense of their world. These problems are (a) the adult-child problem, (b) the right-answer problem, (c) the preoperational thought








11
problem, and (d) the self-as-social-object problem. These are explained in detail in Chapter 3, and every effort was made to adjust for them in order to improve the quality of the data obtained. To help compensate for these problems and to add to the validity of the children's perceptions, the parents and older siblings of 10 of the early learners were interviewed to obtain their perceptions of how the children acquired literacy.

ScoDe of the Study

The study was conducted with early learners--children who were identified as being advanced in drawing, writing, and/or reading. Students identified as early learners in thel kindergarten years of 1987-88 (second graders when interviewed), 1988-89 (first graders when interviewed), and 1989-90 school years were interviewed. Children who met the guidelines for classification as early learners who were currently in kindergarten were chosen first. The data pool was completed with first and second graders based on their former kindergarten teacher's recommendations. The number of early learners in this study was 20. Children were chosen to be interviewed based on teacher observation and early testing that normally occurs within the classroom and county. /The subjects were from one school setting. This small rural school had approximately 120 kindergartners, 100 first graders, and 100 second gradersX








12

The majority of children in this school were black and from a lower socioeconomic status.

Summary

For many years it was assumed that children had very little literacy when they entered school. The job of the preschool or kindergarten teacher was to get children "ready" for the real reading and writing of first grade. Writing was taught after children were reading, and art gradually became a "frill" and was seldom included in the curriculum. More recently, however, researchers have shown that children acquire a great deal of literacy at very early ages. The child's home and other environments provide many opportunities for children to make sense of their world through symbols of language. [Children learn from their environment, but some environments are more conducive to learning than others, and some children are more responsive to literacy-producing environments. Some children, upon entering kindergarten, have already acquired more literacy than their peers and are already writing, reading, or drawing with competence. Research designed to involve the home environment provides data that add to the growing description of literacy acquisition found in the existing body of emergent literacy literature. The recollections of early learners provide guidelines for parents, art educators, and classroom teachers in










developing an appropriate curriculum for parents and teachers to guide children toward literacy.

This study provides a description of the perceptions

of early learners, their parents, and their siblings of the elements within their home environment that influenced their literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. IThe study was designed to add information to the existing knowledge of how young children learn and to add an important and neglected dimension to that knowledge. That dimension is the children's perceptions of how they learned, and how the three elements of literacy--drawing, writing, and reading--developed from many of the same influences') The findings from this study provide educators and parents of young children with a better understanding of how children's literacy develops within a home environment.(, To the degree that similar techniques can be used within the classroom, implications for classroom instruction are contributed as well. Since whole language instruction models its curriculum on the home experiences of literate children (Hall, 1987; Schickedanz, Hansen, & Forsyth, 1990), implications for classroom applications are warranted.













CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE



Introduction

At this point in the history of education, a radical move is being made from a basic skills philosophy to a whole language philosophy of teaching reading and writing. jWhole language philosophy is based on teaching children at school the way they would learn at home in a positive learning environment *1

Rather than teaching skills using a didactic approach, parents and teachers study how early learners acquire literacy at home, or at least how they perceive that literacy is acquired, in order to apply similar techniques in the classroom (Schickedanz, Hansen, & Forsyth, 1990). Whole language uses children's experiences in a meaningful and personal way to develop literacy. The prevalent emphasis in schools has been on isolated skills that are easy to measurei(Dyson, 1984). Unfortunately, as long as achievement tests continue to test decoding and other readiness skills, teachers feel pressured to teach those skills (Eisner, 1979, 1982). Teachers and parents need to understand the history of literacy acquisition and they need to be aware of the current research involving whole 14










language learning in order to create an environment that best "allows" and facilitates children to obtain literacy and to have a rationale based on reliable research for that environment. Fields (1988) offered advice concerning whole language:

Teachers can help parents realize they are
teaching reading and writing when they read and write for their own purposes, when they read to
their children, when they encourage children's
free exploration of print, when they write to
children, and when they write children's words
for them. These informed parents will be able to
teach children to read as well as they taught
them to talk. (p. 902)

Print, within our environment, is practically unavoidable (Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee, 1986a;

Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1983; Goodman, 1984; Hiebert, 1981;

Lass, 1982; Potter, 1986; Torrey, 1969; Weiss & Hagen, 1988). Ferreiro and Teberosky (1983) stated,

The children we know are learners who actively
try to understand the world around them, to answer questions the world poses . it is absurd to imagine that four or five year old
children growing up in an urban environment that displays print everywhere (on toys, on billboards
and road signs, on their clothes, on TV) do not
develop any ideas about this cultural object
until they find themselves sitting in front of a
teacher. (p. 12)

LChildren are surrounded by literacy, and teachers or parents may not be able to stop the interaction--but could

interfere with it.]

The whole language approach to literacy development

involves integrating learning with the everyday life of the

child.J Each area of knowledge and how it is obtained has










impact on other areas of knowledge. iA child learns to speak, draw, write, and read simultaneously. Separation of these literacy events in research (language, art, writing, and reading) usually provides a fragmented view of development, but is commonplace.J Altwerger, Edelsky, and Flores (1987) separated the philosophy of whole language from other recent philosophies.

Whole Language shares some ties to other theories and to various methods, but it isn't the same--it
isn't the whole word approach, nor merely
teaching skills in context, nor a method for
packaged products, nor the Language Experience
Approach, nor a new term for the Open Classroom.
It's an overriding theory and point of view about
language, literacy, and content learning.
(p. 144)

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a discussion of past research on literacy acquisition and to present the current research pertaining to the nature of a facilitative environment for early literacy, concentrating on three major aspects of literacy--drawing, writing, and reading, This facilitative or positive home environment is the basis for current whole language philosophy and whole language approaches to literacy attainment. In order to present a complete review of the literature, this chapter is divided into two major sections. The first section provides a historical overview of literacy instruction beginning in the 1920s and progressing into the 1980s. The second section describes the factors, discussed within the










literature beginning in the 1980s, which create an effective home environment conducive to literacy.

A Historical Overview of Preschool Drawing.
Writing. and Reading

Prior to the 1920s, very few researchers addressed preschool reading and writing. Not much had been done because the general belief was that reading and writing should not begin until formal school instruction began (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Part of a majority, John Dewey did not believe in teaching reading before first grade, and Edmund Huey believed formal instruction should wait until the child was eight years old (Zirkelbach, 1984).

During the 1920s a change of thought started to take root, due to great numbers of children failing school reading instruction. Children had trouble with wholegroup, everybody-doing-the-same-thing instruction, and educators began to look at early childhood as a time of preparation for school (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Specifically, educators of that time saw preschool as a time for children to get ready to read. The term reading readiness, and seeing early childhood as the time for acquiring that readiness, took hold with the report of the National Committee on Reading (1925) published in the Yearbook of the United States National Society for the Study of Education. This report was the first among many that referred to the term "reading readiness."










Lin an effort to identify the factors that could
prepare a child for that readiness to read, two theories of what occurred during early childhood surfaced., -One group of educators believed that reading readiness was a result of intrinsic growth or maturation, sometimes called "neural ripeness" (Lamoreaux & Lee, 1943). The other group of educators believed that particular appropriate activities or experiences could accelerate readiness. Intrinsic Growth/Neural Ripening/Maturation

Beginning in the 1920s and lasting into the 1950s Arnold Gesell influenced many areas of early childhood. Educators, authors, and child development theorists followed Gesell's theory of development (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Environment was not seen by Gesell as a large contributing factor in preparing children for motor or intellectual development. j According to this theory, development begins inside the child and evolves through time into maturation rather than being directly influenced by the environment or factors outside the child (Hall, 1987).

~The effect of the maturation theory on reading readiness was simple; if the child was not ready, we waited. The child could not be rushed. Good educational practice, in this theory, provided an environment for students that would not interfere with the predetermined process of spontaneous maturation (Ausubel, 1981). The era









of waiting for the child to be ready coexisted with a strong testing and measurement era. Additional commitment to and enthusiasm for the maturation theory was generated from a study by Morphett and Washburne (1931).

Through the testing of 141 children, Morphett and

Washburne (1931) identified the mental age of 6 years and 6 months as being the age that would be ideal for starting reading instruction in school. The age guideline was formed by determining which children demonstrated satisfactory reading progress and the age those children were when they started school. Based on this study, parents were warned of the great harm they could cause their children if they let them read too soon. Teachers were encouraged to keep track of their students' mental ages so they would know when they could begin reading instruction. Even though this study was discredited only a few years later, the impact and influence of the neural ripening/mental age/delay instruction orientation lasted through four decades (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). During this time, many types of reading tests were devised. In the 1946 edition of Foundations of Reading Instruction, Bett discussed 12 reading readiness tests published between 1930 and 1943, including the Metropolitan Readiness Tests that are still being used in revised forms today (Teale & Sulzby, 1986).









The reading readiness tests were designed to measure

specific strengths and weaknesses. By this categorizing of skills, the tests not only served as a measure of a child's knowledge (or lack of it) but the subtests served as perfect diagnostic tools for areas of education needing intervention. During the 1930s, the reading readiness workbook became an established part of the basal series. Teacher method books presented activities designed to instruct the child deficient in specific areas of the subjects. Waiting for the child to mature began to lose its dominance as a theory of reading readiness and was replaced by a basic skills theory of reading readiness affected by experience.

Basic Skills Approach to Reading Readiness

When reading readiness workbooks introduced systematic steps in a sequential order to prepare children for reading, they created a direct shift from the maturationist view of "wait till they are ready" to the view that children could be taught the necessary skills regardless of how "ready" they were., Following that lead, publishers began introducing early reading materials, children's magazines, and articles on how to teach preschoolers to read (Zirkelbach, 1984). Some other factors during the late 1950s and 1960s that contributed to the shift to a basic skills approach to reading readiness were listed by Teale and Sulzby (1986) as the following:








21
1. The launching of the Sputnik in 1957 put increased pressure on our education system to proceed at a more rigorous pace and to begin that rigorous education earlier.

2. The federal government, influenced by the civil rights movement, created programs such as Headstart for early intervention, to help create an "equal" start in school for culturally disadvantaged children.

3. There was increased interest in and research concerning young children and what they could achieve. Bloom (1982) reported that the majority of intellectual growth is achieved before the age of 5. Durkin (1966) studied early readers, and Bruner's report published in 1960 (cited in Teale & Sulzby, 1986) was interpreted as support for teaching subjects earlier within grades and getting children ready to read as soon as possible. Zirkelbach (1984) perceived another stimulus to the basic skills approach as being the birth of the television programs Sesame Street and The Electric Company, which demonstrated that children could have fun while they were learning academic skills.

Firmly established in the 1950s and 1960s, the basic skills reading readiness program, still followed in many classrooms and homes today, had many influences on our educational system. In 1987 Hall wrote that, in a basic skills reading program,









1. Reading and writing are primarily visualperceptual processes involving printed unit/sound
relationships.
2. Children are not ready to learn to read and
write until they are five or six years old.
3. Children have to be taught to be literate.
4. The teaching of literacy must be systematic
and sequential in operation.
5. Proficiency in the 'basic' skills has to be
acquired before one can act in a literate way.
6. Teaching the 'basic' skills of literacy is a
neutral, value-free activity.
7. There was no consideration that becoming a
reader and becoming a writer are closely related
processes.
8. There was no consideration that becoming a reader and becoming literate might be a social
process and be influenced by a search for
meaning.
9. There was no consideration that becoming literate might be a continuous developmental
process that begins very early in life.
10. There was no consideration of the
organization and control that children might
bring to becoming literate.
11. There was no consideration that in order to
become literate a child might need to engage in
literate acts.
12. There was little consideration of how
language and stories might inform, in particular
ways, children's understandings about literacy
and text.
13. There was no consideration that the
knowledge that children have about literacy might
be a legitimate element of their literacy
development. (pp. 2-4)

The dominance of reading readiness theory made a

strong impression on educators and the general public. I One

message portrayed was that any reading or writing during

early childhood is a precursor to the "real" reading and

writing instruction that begins in school. Another strong

message to parents was that anything they do with their

children before entering school should be modeled after the









systematized approach presented in schooli(Teale & Sulzby, 1986).

Carbo (1987), the National Council of Teachers of English (1989), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1986) reported that the publishers of basal readers and achievement tests are still dictating, to a large extent, what is being taught in today's classroom. Eisner (1982) wrote of the backwardness of tests dictating curriculum,

This flow of events from test scores to
educational goals is, of course, the reverse of
the textbook version of how tests should be used
in educational practice. The standard version prescribes that one first establish objectives,
then design a series of curriculum activities
related to those objectives, then implement these
activities through teaching, and, finally, test
or in other ways evaluate to determine if the
goals that were initially formulated have been achieved. The direction is from goals to test data as a means of checking effectiveness. In
the operation of schools the reverse trend is
more common. (p. 15)

\The National Council of Teachers of English (1989) considered current reading instruction to be locked into an out-of-date, half-a-century old technologyiJ Basal reading systems are blamed as part of the problem of illiteracy as they dominate 90% of reading instruction in United States elementary classrooms. Unfortunately, according to the Commission on Reading, these basal textbook series

1. are often viewed as complete reading systems, leaving every little room for other kinds of reading activities;








24
2. promote the misconception that reading is learned from smaller to larger parts;

3. sequence skills, not on how children learn to

read, but because of the logistics of developing a series of lessons, day after day, week after week, and year after year;

4. isolate skills, such as phonics, and are tested as if mastery of these skills insure reading success;

5. take up so much time with workbook activities that very little reading is actually done; and

6. promote one answer and tell teachers exactly what to say and do, depriving teacher and student from developing the necessary skills of critical literacy and thinking skills.

Carbo (1987), as well as the National Council of

Teachers of English (1989), further stated that the basal series support their own hierarchy of skills on notions that have never been supported by research. Teale and Sulzby (1986) wrote:

It might be said that reading readiness was a
good concept that got applied in a bad way.
There should be no quarrel with the notion that
certain prior knowledge, language facility,
cognitive development, and attitudinal
orientations toward literacy all probably
facilitate the child's learning to write and read
in school-like settings. However, the reading
readiness program is built upon a logical analysis of literacy skills from an adult
perspective rather than upon a developmental
perspective.
Research and theory in recent years indicate
that we cannot cling to the conception of










literacy currently institutionalized through
curricula, test publishers, and schools under the name of readiness, if we hope to provide the best
possible instruction during the child's first
years in school. Current research overwhelmingly
indicates the need to reconceptualize reading
readiness, and indeed a new developmental
perspective is in evidence. Developmental
perspectives recognize children's thinking as
being qualitatively different from, yet growing
toward, adult modes and therefore attempt to
provide instruction in accordance with a child's
developing knowledges. (p. xiv)

Our current decade has become the setting for a new

approach. For years, some classroom teachers and

researchers as early as Durkin (1966) have indicated the

inappropriateness of the reading readiness program that has

existed for four decades. Hubbard (1988) described the

type of language arts program in many schools today:

Language arts texts, workbooks, and worksheets
commonly seen in the primary grades today
encourage all children to conform and write in
much the same way, each sounding a lot like the next. Sometimes teachers ask children to write book reports based on a library book each child
has read. In the primary grades, these book
reports are frequently more like forms to fill
out than like creative writing. The results of
all this are often voiceless recitations of
facts, or words, plagiarized paragraphs from
whatever library book or children's encyclopedia
is handy. (p. 33)

Strengthening the support for a new approach includes the

renewed interest in the development of young children.

Also, research has been conducted in the area of cognitive

learning and development within the classroom (Teale &

Sulzby, 1986). Thus, in replacement of reading readiness,










the stage was set for "emergent literacy" '(Combs, 1987; Schickedanz et al., 1990; Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Emergent Literacy in the 1980s

The researchers of the 1980s took a much closer look at young children and considered them active participants in their learning processes (Graves, 1980; Henderson, 1981; National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC], 1986; Peterson & Eeds, 1990; Willert & Kamii, 1985). Children are no longer considered passive recipients of information. Peterson and Eeds stated, !"Children do learn reading by reading. Teachers and students can help, but in the end, the individual student must make the effort and do the work. Learners cannot be spectators who watch learning wash over them: they must be participants" (p. 11). Bissex (1984) suggested children carry on conversations with themselves while interacting with new information, thereby establishing structures. They act as their own teachers. Holdaway (1979) found children correcting themselves as they reread or retold familiar stories. Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984), in their work with young children and invented spelling, indicated their belief that children knew when they were right and when they were wrong. The children in their study seemed to form their own hypotheses which they would test and revise, if necessary, to come up with consistent rules to apply to their spelling. Children learn spoken









and written forms of language by making rules and forming relationships from within while using these forms (Willert & Kamii, 1985).

Not only are children now considered constructors of their own learning, but researchers confirmed strong links between language, writing, drawing, and reading in various combinations. Researchers reasoned that oral and written language proficiency might develop in parallel ways (Fields, 1988; Hall, 1987; Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Ehri and Wilce (1985) and Mason (1980) connected reading and writing by reporting that children's experience with the graphic details of letters and words supports their growing awareness of the sounds in words. Indeed, it would be difficult to author a text unless one were able to read it (Hall, 1987). Holt (1983) joined writing with drawing and called children's drawings symbols for objects, almost like hieroglyphs. Buren (1986) regarded goals for art and reading as being similar in that both are used to communicate, both require an articulate use of symbols, and both stimulate thinking through visual symbols. Richardson (1982) stated, "Without art, without imagery, symbolism, and visual relationships, language is reduced to emptiness" (p. 10). Dyson (1988) also linked language with art by theorizing both processes provide children with the chance to "reflect upon, organize, and share experiences" (p. 26). Szekely (1990) considered picture books works of art and










perceived picture books as a way of showing children the special relationship between artists and their picture books. Children can be led to an awareness that a book begins in the mind of an author or illustrator and concludes with individual inspirations and visions. According to Szekely, not only can picture books help develop an excitement and interest in writing, reading, and owning books, but can also motivate a lifelong interest in collecting art. McGuire (1984) reported areas of overlap in literacy activities. He discussed studies linking language and drawing, art and reading, imagery in the arts and imagery in reading, and a curriculum centered around art and reading achievement. Clay (1977), Dyson (1986), Francks (1979), and Kane (1982) connected scribbling and drawing with early attempts to write letters and words. Douglass (1978) stated,

In fact, observations of four- and five-year-olds in a nursery school setting quickly confirm that
many children at these ages not only draw
spontaneously, they attempt to write as well.
They soon can write their own name, then other
things, and before long, they begin to read things other children have written. It all
evolves very naturally. (p. 108)

Ferreiro (1990) defined criteria young children search for while distinguishing writing from drawing.! Schickedanz et al. (1990) postulated children first recognize writing as different from drawing by its linearity and its variety of letters and forms. The two decades before the 1980s provided the groundwork for the change from a reading










readiness philosophy to a philosophy more appropriate to the development of children.

Clay's (1972, 1975, 1977) pioneering research in the

1960s and 1970s stressed fluency, meaning, and "learning as one reads," instead of the traditional reading readiness programs of the times that were designed to teach specific skills in specific order, such as letter-sound associations and basic sight-word vocabulary knowledge (Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Clay noted the interrelationship among the three forms of literacy and stated her belief that language, writing, and reading develop in parallel fashion to each other. In the first edition of Reading: The Patterning of Complex Behaviour, Clay (1972) expressed her thoughts on how children learn to read, which was different from the traditional theory of reading readiness. Clay stated,

The transformation [to understanding the links between the oral and written language] at the
early reading stage takes place only in the
presence of print and when the child actively
seeks to discover how oral and written language are related. . It is the need to transform
preschool skills into new ways of responding
that . makes early reading behavior a matter
of learning and discredits the "growth from
within" concept. (pp. 5-6)

As in her 1972 book, in her 1975 book, What Did I Write?, Clay brought children's writing to attention by discussing the importance of writing to literacy development. Both books are about reading, but she focused on the relationships between writing and reading in early literacy








30

development. She also demonstrated how much can be learned from small children.

Even though research on writing has not received the attention reading has (Graves, 1980), and art has received less than reading or writing, the presumption has surfaced that to understand reading, one must understand writing, and, to understand writing, one must understand reading and drawing development. To understand the development of all forms of literacy it is requisite to study the young, preschool child.

Cryan (1984) postulated art is a natural process. Similarly, Goodman (1984), influenced by Durkin (1966), concluded that, within a literate society, learning to read is natural. She noted many concepts about reading that students are already aware of before entering school. Goodman and Goodman (1979) studied the influence of labels, signs, and logos on preschool children to determine preschool children's awareness of print within the environment. Results from the study supported the concept that the beginning roots of the reading process occur during very early childhood. As Goodman and Goodman indicated,

The roots of the reading process are established
very early in life. Furthermore, the results
supported the notions that function precedes form
in learning to read and that there is a
"movement" from learning to read printed symbols
in familiar situational contexts toward more
reliance on language contexts. (p. 145)










Further support of the idea of children constructing concepts about print through interaction with literacy experiences during the early years before school was found in the work of Anderson (1985), the Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee of the International Reading Association (1986b), Fisher (1991), Goodman (1990), Isom and Casteel (1986), and Weiss and Hagen (1988). Pappas and Brown (1987) considered knowledge of certain characteristics of written language necessary and Clay (1972) listed several basic concepts of print that children learning to-re4d need to understand.

1. Children need an understanding of the orientation of a book. There is a front and back. Pages have tops and bottoms.

2. Children need to understand the difference between print and pictures. Print is to be read.

3. A reader needs to know of the directionality of print on a page. Print is read from left to right across the page and lines are read from the top to the bottom.

4. A reader must know that letters within words and

words within a sentence are ordered from left to right. If that order is changed, the meaning is changed.

5. A reader needs to be able to identify words as a cluster of letters surrounded by space.

6. Children need to understand the function of basic punctuation and capitalization.










Ross and Bondy (1986) added the following as necessary information for successful reading:

7. Children need to understand that speech can be written down.

8. Children need to be familiar with a variety of types of literature.

9. Children need to know that reading is pleasurable and useful.

10. Children need a rich knowledge about the world.

11. Children should expect that what one reads will make sense.

12. Children should understand, not just what a word is, but also what a letter and sentence are.

As the young child realizes that writing is different from drawing, she or he is becoming aware of writing as print that conveys a message((DeFord, 1980; Ferreiro, 1990; Schickedanz et al., 1990). Alphabet symbols are created naturally and spontaneously by young children as they go through their artistic development (Kane, 1982). Beginning with scribbling, which is essential to drawing and writing, Buren (1986) noted that, as children begin to make and understand symbols, they also recognize that people around them make letters, draw pictures, and read symbols. Kellogg (1967) studied children's scribbles and noticed that scribbling usually begins at age 2 (sometimes earlier) and normally lasts through ages 4 or 5. She proposed four










distinct stages in their development of scribbles during that time.

1. The placement stage--2- and 3-year-old children

experiment spontaneously by drawing on paper (or some other surface).

2. The shape gestalt stage--3- and 4-year-old

children discover that they are occasionally creating shapes.

3. The design stage--children deliberately combine different shapes and lines into structured designs and diagrams.

4. The pictorial stage--4- and 5-year-old children will start to draw familiar objects that resemble objects that adults can recognize.

Goodman (1990) distinguished three developmental

ordered levels that children go through understanding the alphabetic representation of language. Level one begins by involving children with distinguishing between drawing and writing through a series of explorations, children distinguish writing from drawing by discovering writing's ordered linearity and that the set of forms is arbitrary (letters do not reproduce the form of the object). After distinguishing writing from drawing, children start to look for conditions that make print "interpretable, readable, or good for saying something" (p. 17). According to Goodman, children conceptualize three letters as being enough to










make a "word" but they must be different letters. The second level children go through understanding their written language considers criteria to represent differences in meaning. During this level, children go through a variety of experimentations searching to make sense of why words are different from each other. For example, young children might believe a long word represents an adult where a short word might represent a baby. Level two precedes knowledge of sound patterns of a word and the written representation. Level three represents the phonetization of written representations. Goodman divides this level as syllabic, syllabicalphabetic, and alphabetic. During the syllabic stage, children provide a letter for each syllable. Children with some knowledge of letters and their sounds may use the correct first consonant letter of each syllable. The second stage, syllabic-alphabetic builds on using letters for syllables by beginning to add other letters for some sounds heard within a word. The third stage (alphabetic) within Goodman's third level requires children to understand the intrinsic nature of the alphabetic system. Schickedanz et al. (1990) called this awareness of speech sounds phonemic awareness and phonemic segmentation skill.

Typically,1 children's first writing efforts are used in conjunction with drawing and talking J(Dyson, 1988). Kane (1982) agreed with Clay (1977), Dyson (1986), and









Loban (1976) and concluded that art activities can stimulate verbal and written expression. As a child progresses in development, she or he will begin using drawing and writing in progressively appropriate and distinct ways. Roney (1984) stated that a child begins to make sense of the symbol system when she or he realizes that speech can be translated into print and vice versa. With this beginning awareness, the child's name represents one of the earliest connections between meaning and print (Beardsley & Mareck-Zeman, 1987; Clay, 1975; Goodman, 1990; Wiseman, 1984). During a time of experimenting with letters and letter forms, children produce letters, mock letters (Lamme, 1984), and invented shapes. Children often mix these letters and letter forms, first using one, then the other, then the first again (Schickedanz et al., 1990). Clay observed several principles in the development of a child's writing and understanding of the writing process

1. Children discover the recurring principle of

repetition of letters and that words are produced from a repetition of those letters.

2. Children understand directionality of print.

3. Children go through the copying stage, where they copy signs and logos or other print available within their environment.

4. Children learn the inventory principle, where lists of letters, words, or known phrases are made.









5. Children experiment with the contrasts to learn such differences as "m" and "w" or "on" and "no."

In an early study, Charles Read (1971)_xamined speech sounds and their relation to invented spellings within a child's composition. Chomsky (1971), stimulated by Read's research, initiated research in spelling by children and suggested that young children should "write first, read later" (p. 296). Templeton (1986) recommended that children be encouraged to write while they learn letter/ sound correspondences. Taylor (1983) indicated that use precedes form. Durkin (1972) and Goetz (1979) suggested that because many youngsters are attracted to reading through writing, children need to be exposed to many experiences in-writing. WTempleton (1986) stated that use of writing during the accumulation of knowledge is much more productive than isolated experiences. invented spelling can eliminate many obstacles young writers might confront in trying to communicate through writing (Ferreiro, 1990; Graves, 1973; Hubbard, 1988; Lamme, 1984). Chomsky (1971) and Wiseman (1984) indicated that a concrete way for children to acquire written language knowledge is through invented spelling. Henderson and Beers (1980) followed Chomsky's lead and investigated sound-symbol correspondences and orthographic patterns in written language. Wiseman (1984) discovered that as children continue to learn about written language, they begin to









insert vowels in their invented spelling. Beers (1980) identified vowel spelling strategies as vowel substitution. Children often substitute a vowel (except for long vowel sounds) for another letter. Holdaway (1979) revealed the great amount of experimentation children go through when producing messages. Graves (1973) interviewed children on what is needed to be a good writer and examined 53 writing episodes from interviews with children about their writing. The process-observational study approach that he used was an educational ethnography and has been used frequently since his research. Clay (1975) and Farr (1985) were concerned with children's ability to compose text. The research mentioned above provided the framework for the research focus of the decade of the 1980s.

Bissex (1980) demonstrated what was of strong interest in the decade of the 1980s progressing into the 1990s--the process of reading and writing developing together. Due to researchers such as Ferreiro and Teberosky (1983), Springate (1983), and Sulzby (1985), there is growing evidence to substantiate the existence of the reading/writing relationship and the belief that readingcomprehension is engaged during the reading/writing process. Williams (1990) stated,

Children learn to read not only by reading, but also
by writing. In many ways the division we create
between reading and writing is an arbitrary and not
very practical one. Research in language development
has shown that growth in reading and writing is interdependent; opportunities to write increase










ability to read, and vice versa. For this reason,
writing is an important part of any reading program.
(p. 2).

As a result of a great deal of research in the last decade,

the following conclusions were made by Hall (1987):

1. Reading and writing are cognitive and social
abilities involving a whole range of meaninggaining strategies.
2. Most children begin to read and write long before they arrive at school. They do not wait
until they are "taught."
3. Literacy emerges not in a systematic,
sequential manner, but as a response to the
printed language, and social environment
experienced by the child.
4. Children control and manipulate their
literacy learning in much the same way as they
control and manipulate all other aspects of their
learning about the world.
5. Literacy is a social phenomenon and as such
is influenced by cultural factors. Therefore the
cultural group in which children grow up will be
a significant influence on the emergence of
literacy. (p. 8)

Researchers studying the learning environment for

preschool children have described many variables which have

added to children's awareness and use of literacy. ,These

experiences and variables, delineated in the second section

of this chapter, combine to produce a theory of an

effective emergent literacy environment.,

The Home Environment and Literacy

Within the last decade, researchers studying literacy

development within the home environment have proliferated

(Becher, 1982; Bissex, 1980, 1984; Bloom, 1982; DeFord,

1980; Henderson, 1981; Hess & Holloway, 1984; Lamme, 1984;

Moon & Wells, 1979; Nelsen & Nelsen, 1991; Olmstead &








39
Rubin, 1983; Potter, 1986; Shapiro & Doiron, 1987; Taylor, 1983). The crucial role parents play within that home environment has been well established (Anbar, 1986; Becher, 1982; Lamme, 1984; Olmstead & Rubin, 1983; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983). Reviewing the research has revealed specific categories of practices of children interacting with their environment and of children interacting with their parents (or other significant individuals) that promote literacy development. Probably the most frequently and consistently mentioned type of interaction is parents reading to children. For example, in reviewing the research, Trelease (1982) wrote,

Frequently the child who is read to regularly can
be seen toddling along with his favorite book, looking for someone to read to him. There are
two important elements here. One is to keep in mind that as much as anything else, the child is looking for attention, he wants his body cuddled
as much as his mind. (pp. 34-35)

Reading to the Child

Reading has long been known as an enjoyable

interaction between child and reader (Hall, 1987; Holdaway, 1979; Lamme, 1985; Lass, 1982; Nurss & Hough, 1986; Roney, 1984; Trelease, 1982), but reading to children has also proven to be significantly related to reading achievement and positive attitudes toward reading (Becher, 1982; Briggs & Elkind, 1977; Butler, 1980; Chomsky, 1972; Clark, 1976; Cliatt & Shaw, 1988; Cohen, 1968; Durkin, 1966; Gardner, 1970; Greaney, 1986; Hall, 1987; Hess, Holloway, Price, &










Dickson, 1982; Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee, 1986a; King & Friesen, 1972; Koeller, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lass, 1982; McCormick & Mason, 1986; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983; Teale, 1984, 1986; Trelease, 1991; Wells, 1985). Becher (1982) indicated that if parents understand the specific benefits gained from reading to their child, they will value that interaction more seriously. Silvern (1985) listed several benefits to children of parents reading to them.

1. Children increase their listening and speaking vocabularies.

2. Children increase their letter and symbol recognition abilities.

3. Children increase their length of a spoken sentence.

4. Children gain in literal and inferential comprehension skills.

5. Children increase the number and nature of concepts developed.

6. Children have an increased interest in books and reading.

7. Children view reading as a valued activity.

8. Children are introduced to a variety of language patterns.

9. Children begin to learn or construct the rules which govern the reading process.








41

Nurss and Hough (1986) correlated reading to children, as instruction in reading, where children can enjoy stories without being aware that they are "learning." Teale (1984) perceived reading as a means of establishing the importance of print. Combs (1987) considered the traditional reading of stories as a way for children to become comfortable with hearing written language. Cliatt and Shaw (1988) credited story-telling or reading aloud to children with providing children with the knowledge of reading and writing as sense-making activities that are separate from the isolated skill drill of ditto and workbook sheets. Lamme (1985) extended the benefits past the early reader and credited reading to children with developing advanced skills for children who already know how to read. Cullinan, Jagar, and Strickland (1974) connected reading to success with the written word later in school. Their study included children from kindergarten through the third grade and included studies of follow-up activities of discussion, dramatics, role7playig, language experience activities, and puppetry. As the greatest gains in reading achievement were made with the kindergarten children, Cullinan, Jagar, and Strickland recommended starting reading and interacting early with children.

The amount of time actually spent reading to children proves to be an important factor in literacy achievement. Results of studies generally have revealed that children










who are read to every day (or at least four times a week) for 8 to 10 minutes at a time score higher in achievement levels and exhibit more positive attitudes toward reading (Henry, 1974; Romatowski & Trepanier, 1977) than children who are not read to on a regular basis. Parents of gifted children read to their children an average of 21 minutes a day whereas children of average intelligence are read to about 8 minutes a day (Karnes, Shwedel, & Steinberg, 1982). Children of parents who were specifically asked to read to their children for 3 to 6 months prior to kindergarten scored significantly higher on reading readiness tests than children who had not been read to (Henry, 1974; McCormick & Mason, 1986).

Several authors (Butler, 1980; Durkin, 1966; Hearne, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lamme & Packer, 1986; Larrick, 1982; Resnick et al., 1987; Taylor, 1983) added the question "How soon do we read?" to "How often should we read?" The parents of the children in Taylor's study reported reading to their children "as soon as their eyes could focus" (p. 11). Lamme and Packer (1986) suggested reading to a child from birth. Not only is the amount of time spent reading to children, and how soon children are read to, shown to have a positive effect on learning to read, but the (i tivprocesses between the parent and child during reading are also shown to be important (Silvern, 1985).










Interactive Practices Between Parents
and Children as Related to Reading

Vygotsky described the zone of proximal
development as a range of social interaction
between an adult and child in which the child can
perform with degrees of assistance from an adult that which s/he cannot yet perform independently.
Much has been made of this idea in describing
parent-child 'interactions, including interactions
with literacy. (Sulzby, 1985, p. 52)

Vygotsky's social interaction theory demonstrated an

important process in the development of literacy. Children actively seek and use literacy (Hall, 1987). They also benefit from interacting with adults in the process of becoming literate. A few studies (Flood, 1977; Hess, Holloway, Price, & Dickson, 1982; Slaughter, 1983; Snow, 1983; Taylor, 1983; Teale, 1978) revealed that the children of parents who initiate talk with them about the books they are reading and children who talk more about the story and ask more questions during the reading process have higher reading and achievement scores and demonstrate an understanding of more reading concepts than children who do not discuss stories with their parents. \Active participation with reading or literature activities has been recommendedJ(Blank & Sheldon, 1971; Bower, 1976; Brown, 1975; Morrow, 1985) to enhance comprehension and oral language ability and to help children create what Shapiro and Doiron (1987) call a "sense of story" or what Jensen (1985) calls "story awareness." Jensen listed some broad concepts children can develop about story awareness










through interaction with parents as (a) patterns for sequencing story events and actions, (b) story language patterns, (c) dialogue or role-taking patterns, and

(d) types of events and elements found in a story. Jensen further described what children might learn from interacting in reading activities as follows:

Some of the story elements that might be included
in young children's story construction are:
setting, an initiating event, characters' first
reaction or plan, attempts to reach a goal,
obstacles to the goal, consequences of
characters' actions, and outcome reactions. (p.
21)

!While the parents are reading to their children, they are modeling a very important literary concept--story telling.: Gemake (1984) believed that, when interaction takes place, both sides of the brain are in use. She stated that the words, sentences, and paragraphs appeal to the left side of the brain, while images, pictures and emotions appeal to the right side of the brain. She determined the child's reaction becomes an integral and interesting aspect of the story.

Effective practices for parents to use to interact

with their children during story-time as suggested by Nurss and Hough (1986) and Silvern (1985) are as follow:

1. Children can be asked warm-up questions before beginning the story.










2. Children can be asked a variety of types of questions, including informational, anticipatory, inferential, and evaluative, during the reading process.

3. Children can be asked questions at the end of the story. Nurss and Hough indicated that follow-up discussions about story elements and the relationships between them add to the children's knowledge of story structure and appear to influence comprehension of narrative materials.

4. General discussions should be conducted with the children about the books they read.

Children's art can also involve reading and

interaction between parents and children. Wiseman (1984)

p dthathildren's art work can be a way to help appended ht

literacy development. She recommended parents write a sentence dictated from the child about the child's art work. The adult then reads the sentence after writing it and the child can read it back. Taylor (1983) added to a growing list of ways parents can interact with children with the following points:

1. Stories can be related to the everyday life of children.

2. Reading (and writing) should be an active part of daily pursuits.

3. Listening to children is important. Parents should talk to their children, not at them.










4. Reading stories ePetiv y can be beneficial

Agreeing with Taylor (1983) concerning story

repetition, Clark (1976) and Pappas and Brown (1987) indicated that a child can become sensitized to written language and the language of a book. Clark theorized this to be more important than phonics or a basic sight vocabulary. Several authors (Martinez & Roser, 1985; Schickedanz, 1978; Yaden, 1988) credited repetitive reading with giving a child more opportunities to clarify, fill in gaps, and to make connections. They noted the range of a child's responses is increased as she or he gains control over a story through repetition. Schickedanz (1978) proposed that children go through a very important memorization process when having stories read over and over to them. They learn first by memory and then by sight as they begin to connect letter/sound correspondence (Wiseman, 1984). Doake (cited in Wiseman, 1984) referred to the same benefits of "memory reading" but Doake also reported that children who are exposed to oral reading will have reading behaviors emerging early in their lives.

An additional interaction technique parents use while reading to children is what Combs (1987) called "tracking of the print" (p. 422). Through tracking of the print (pointing to the words while reading) children receive several concepts of print. They see (a) directionality,

(b) speech matched to print, and (c) that print carries the










same message as speech (Combs, 1987). Lamme and Packer (1986) reported that, if parents do a lot of pointing while reading to their infants, by the time that infant is 1 year old, the child will start pointing to the text. Infants can begin to take control of the interaction as parents respond by naming whatever the child points to.

Having children retell a story is a variation of the parent rereading a story./ Morrow (1985) reported that the retelling of stories involves children actively in reconstructing literature. Hough, Nurss, and Wood (1987) recommended story-telling as practice for fluent and elaborated language. Koskinen, Gambrell, Kapinus, and Heathington (1988) equated verbal rehearsal of literature with enhancement of reading comprehension. Wiseman (1984) recommended that the parent write down the story as the child tells it and let the child illustrate the pages and make the story into a book.

Interaction between parents and children during the reading process can be very beneficial to literacy development. Adults can initiate talks while reading to the child, or when the child rereads or retells the story. Reading stories repetitively and pointing to the words while reading can also be very helpful. Children benefit from interaction with adults in all areas of literacyreading, writing, and during art experiences.










Interactive Practices Between Parents
and Children During Art Experiences

In reference to art experiences and very young

children, parents should "provide time, space, place, and materials for children, and then allow them the dignity of 'doing their own thing'" (Francks, 1979, p. 21). Francks affirmed children need to go about their own discoveries with encouragement and without intervention, but there comes a time in a child's development when help will be needed or asked for. ;Because there is so little known about art from young children, parents and teachers are not sure how they should interact with their children (Schirrmacher, 1986). Feldman (1982) indicated children should be coaxed and directed. At present, suggestions from the literature to help children with their art mainly involve the interaction process the child has before, during, or after the art process.

Ross (1982) divided interacting with the child into

three categories--motivating, keeping the child going, and evaluating and providing feedback. To help motivate a child, Ross indicated three things are necessary:

1. A child needs an experience that will actually

stimulate him or her to express an idea in art. Wachowiak (1977) stated nothing replaces direct contact or the actual object for an intense experience.

2. A child needs to recall an event. Adults can

discuss an event with the child using open-ended questions,








49

to help children recall the event. Wachowiak (1977) agreed with Ross and suggested asking how, who, what, why, where, and/or when concerning the event or experience.

3. Children need to have help in extending their

visual awareness. Lowenfeld and Brittain (1982); McFee and Degge (1977); Schickedanz, York, Stewart, and White (1983); and Wachowiak (1977) also discussed "learning to see." By bringing a child's attention to specific features of the environment, that child will learn to look selectively at specific features.

Wachowiak (1977) added a fourth requirement for motivating a child which Ross (1982) separated into a different category of interaction because it occurs while the child is involved with the process and not before.

4. Children need visual stimulation. Actual

artifacts, pictures, posters, and/or color reproductions of art work are all good references for children to look at and help their memory.

('To keep a child going while working on a project, Ross (1982) suggested asking questions and presenting visuals to provide the child with necessary material to enable him or her to continue.

The last type of interaction discussed by Ross (1982) regarding the art process involves\evaluation and feedback. She suggested adults (a) be honest, (b) make statements that are correct according to the child's development, and










(c) acknowledge the child's intent. The child should be given time to react to the project, and then, if appropriate, the adult can offer suggestions for the next time. Schirrmacher (1986) indicated that adult intervention during the art process is inappropriate but discussed many types of discussion and/or questions to use after a child is finished when excitement is at its highest and ideas are fresh. He suggested that an adult smile and say nothing at first when a child brings a picture to share. This provides the child the first opportunity to talk, which provides the adult with a framework of what the child wants to talk about. Schirrmacher provided a list of art elements which he indicated are appropriate for discussion with young children. These art elements are

(a) color, (b) line, (c) mass or volume, (d) pattern,(

(e) shape or form, (f) space, and (g) texture.

Until recently, most types of intervention or coaxing or directing by adults, while a child was involved with art, was considered harmful (D'Amico, 1954). However, not only do children at some time or another want and need interaction with adults, they also depend on a model from adults, siblings and peers.

IParents can provide a model by drawing, writing, or reading during everyday activities. Parents can also provide a model by drawing, writing, or reading with the child as the child observes and copies what is seen. While










parents are involved in literacy activities, they are demonstrating many important aspects of reading, writing, drawing, and language. Providing a model for children is an important and effective way of helping children emerge into literacy.

Modelini'

Children already know that most things in their
lives are organized systematically, and they
begin to look for and experiment with the
organization of the complexities of written language. They continuously attempt to make
sense of and through written language in order to
comprehend or express meanings, ideas, or
emotions.
As children explore their literate
environment, they develop their roots of
literacy. These roots include: print awareness
in situational contexts; print awareness in connected discourse; functions and forms of
writing; oral language about written language; and metalinguistic and metacognitive awareness
about written language. (Y. M. Goodman, 1986, p.
6)

If we believe that children are constantly interacting with their environment and that children are active participants (Goodman & Goodman, 1979; Hall, 1987), then it is easy to understand why it is important for children to see adults involved in the use of literacy skills. Studies (Clark, 1976; Durkin, 1966; Holdaway, 1979; Krippner, 1963; Morrow, 1985) have revealed that parents of early readers are readers themselves. The IRA Position Statement by the Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986a) described a positive literacy environment for early readers and writers as having parents and other family members who










themselves engage in reading and writing activities.

Manning and Manning (1984) observed parents as important

models of reading behavior.

To illustrate a case of peer modeling, Holt (1983)

related an incident of two young girls drawing. The first

time Holt watched the children, one little girl drew a

tree, while the other could not. Holt described a second

observation of the two children:

Two or three days later, I saw the same girls,
sitting at a table again with big pieces of paper
before them. But this time there was the
familiar tree on both pieces of paper, the roots
coming in to make the trunk, the trunk going
almost to the top of the page, the two forked
branches, the smaller branches sticking out any
way, the green leaves. I said, "Ah, I see you're
drawing a tree." She gave me a pleased smile,
and then, nodding toward her friend, said, "She showed me how." And then went on with her work.
(p. 194)

In another incident observed by Holt:

She drew as she did because she likes to look at
things and draw them the way she saw them. Art
was her way of expressing much of what she was
learning about life. It sharpened her eye as
well, and gave her an idea of what next to look
for. And not only her eye, but the eyes of many
of her classmates. A number of them, without
thinking of it this way, made themselves into a
kind of school under her leadership, like the
schools of the old Italian masters. They drew
pictures like hers, or used her ideas and
developed them in their own ways. The kind of
carefully and surely observed detail that she put
in her pictures began to appear in others' work
as well. Children would go up--I used to hear
them--and look at one of her drawings, and notice
that the people had fingernails. "Look!" they
would say. "They even have fingernails." It
seemed a wonderful achievement. Then they would
think of putting some fingernails on the people
in their own pictures, and they would look with a










new eye at their own fingernails, to see what they really looked like, how they were shaped,
how big they were. Or they would begin to try to
find some details that this little girl, their
leader, had not yet thought to put in.
(pp. 196-197)

Holdaway (1979) brought attention to children

Imitating models when he noted how children, while reading aloud, shift the inflection of the voice to resemble that of the one who usually reads to them.' Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984) noticed children wanting to engage in writing activities after they saw their parents engaged in writing. Combs (1987) observed children's increased enthusiasm over books once they had been read to them. Most children in Comb's study began tracking, as they had seen it done, while they pretended to read. Taylor (1983) observed children imitating models by writing notes to each other and to their parents, even long before they were able to write in a traditional sense. Wiseman (1984) stated the best way for a child to learn directionality is through experimentation with writing and observation of adults producing written language. Adults, while reading to children, also identify and define the reading process for children. The literate habits of the parents infuse themselves within the lives of their children.

Some examples (Hall, 1987; Holt, 1983; Ross & Bondy, 1986; Shapiro & Doiron, 1987; Taylor, 1983; Tway, 1983) of !modeling literacy, within the family environment include activities such as










1. reading stories; 2. telling stories;

3. reading magazines and newspapers;

4. reading environmental print, signs, and logos;

5. Writing checks;

6. Writing postcards; 7. Following recipes;

8. Finding television shows in guides;

9. Filling out forms;

10. Writing letters;

11. Writing informational notes to family members;

12. Creating shopping lists;

13. Drawing or making art objects while children are watching; and

14. Displaying art within the home.

Shapiro and Doiron (1987) indicated, "Children must see parents reading, writing, and drawing in purposeful and enjoyable situations, not just as promoters of literacy skills. Children must see models of the skills, as well as have opportunities to participate in literacy events" (p. 265).

Experience with Available Material

Modeling by parents or other family members, without the availability to children of the materials of literacy, would not have the impact necessary for true literacy. i Children need to practice, experiment, and interact with








55

different aspects of literacy. Children of literate homes are allowed to handle and read books for themselves (Shapiro & Doiron, 1987). Many authors (Bissex, 1980; Chomsky, 1971; Durkin, 1966, 1974-75; Greaney, 1986; Hess & Holloway, 1984; King & Friesen, 1972; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lass, 1982; Manning & Manning, 1984; Slaughter, 1983; Walberg & Tsai, 1984; Wiseman, 1984) have stated the importance of having a wide variety of reading and writing materials available to children. The need for available art materials has also been discussed (Holt, 1983; Ross, 1982; Schickedanz, York, Stewart, & White, 1983). One of the parents of a young child gifted in art in Holt's (1983) study, expressed a belief in providing only quality art materials for young preschool children, including easels and acrylic paints. Parents should take the time to show children how to use supplies but also expect them to do their own experimenting. Some of the other materials suggested include pens, felt-tip markers, chalk, crayons, pencils, a variety of papers, glue, scissors, chalkboards, plastic letters, books, magazines and newspapers. Children need to have easy access to these materials and should be free to interact with them. Holt (1983) recommended children have free play with materials before being expected or asked to do anything with them. Dyson (1988) indicated parents should expect repetition from children in art and writing. Even though repetition may sometime








56

inhibit the child from exploring new ideas, Dyson believed it is a way for the child to experiment and grow. Trips to the library add a great wealth of books available to children and researchers have reported that parents of early readers take their children on a regular basis and sometimes use those trips as a special "reward" (Clark, 1976; Hess & Holloway, 1984; Manning & Manning, 1984; McMullan, 1984).

Exposure to Environmental Print

Researchers have substantiated that most children in a literate society begin the process of learning to read and write very early in their lives. Hall (1987); Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984); Isom and Casteel (1986); Manning and Manning (1984); and Torrey (1969) indicated that exposure to signs and logos within the environment, coupled with frequent experiences with writing and reading, significantly develop awareness of print. Teberosky (1990) stated,

Commercial labels are good printed material that can
be used by the youngest children for learning about
the writing system. Many labels appear frequently on television, in magazines, and on products consumed in
the home. In addition, labels maintain a degree of
constancy in their physical appearance--the same
letter type, the same form, and the same color. Their
continuous presence in the environment and their graphic constancy lead children to associate the
overall form of the label with its text and to
recognize the brand or product being advertised. (p.
47).

Schickedanz et al. (1990) credited being surrounded by environmental print with helping many 4- and 5-year-olds










identify upper case letters. Print, within our environment, is practically unavoidable. Television, according to Torrey (1969) provides 40 printed words an hour, shown and pronounced together. Even if television is not available, package labels are seen on products throughout the home and the market (Goodman, 1984; Hiebert, 1981; Lass, 1982). The Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986b) noted that, long before children enter school, not only do they see product labels and print on television but they are also exposed to print on buildings and along highways. Anbar (1986), Dyson (1984), Goodall (1984), Mason (1980), Nurss (1987), Potter (1986), and Ylisto (1967) suggested sequential steps children go through from observing environmental print to the actual reading of print. Within the environment, children initially respond to the print in context. In the beginning stages of print recognition, the printed words can only be recognized as unique patterns when embedded in natural context. Gradually, the child learns to respond to decontextualized print. Children learn to focus on the details of print, allowing them to deal with print as language by itself, without the visual cues such as color, shape, and place that the print had within the environment. Potter (1986) viewed environmental print as a model for children in their manipulating and experimenting with print:










The world we live in abounds with print and few children can escape the abundance of words that surround them. They see traffic signs and food
labels, captions on television commercials and billboards. They see people filling in forms,
leaving messages and jotting down phone numbers.
As they see written language used in
everyday situations, they learn about its
purposes and the visual features that
characterize print. Several researchers have
described preschoolers reading signs, labels, and
well known books, writing letters and stories in
varied situations, trying out print themselves.
(p. 628)

Weiss and Hagan (1988) supported the importance and

influence of environmental print on children by connecting

the continual exposure of print to the child's realization

that print has many different uses within meaningful

situations. Reading, providing literacy models,

interacting, and providing the necessary materials while a

child becomes involved with the environment create an

atmosphere for literacy.

Parents' Attitudes. ExRectations. and Reward System

IParents' attitudes, expectations, and reactions to

literacy attempts of the child affect how a child becomes

literate.) Potter (1986) expressed this as follows:

Home can contribute to literacy development by
offering storytelling, books, writing
opportunities, language and literacy models and plenty of time for communication. Home provides the concrete experiences of life which challenge
the child to master oral language and search
actively for control of the written form; it also
offers support which enables the child to meet
these challenges. (p. 629)

Many researchers have agreed that literacy develops

within the home in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere,










without actual teaching taking place (Anbar, 1986; Durkin, 1966; Fields, 1988; Hall, 1987; Lass, 1982; Potter, 1986; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983; Werner & Strother, 1987; Willert & Kamii, 1985; Zirkelbach, 1984). In Lass's (1982) research on her son's learning to read, she admitted she knew how to teach reading, but that at no time did she or anyone else actually instruct him. Learning took place, but it was incidental. He was read to when he was in the mood. Reading materials as well as educational television were available. Questions that he asked about literacy were answered. Taylor (1983) reported parents' frustration when trying to actually teach their children to read, write, or learn the alphabet. The children involved in Taylor's study learned to read and write early, but learning occurred when and how the child wanted. It is not uncommon for school-related activities to be resisted by children if they are not personal and meaningful to the child (Rasinski, 1988; Taylor, 1983).

SAnbar (1986) called parents' help of early readers spontaneous, intuitive, and unplanned. Not only did the parents in Anbar's study spend a great deal of time with their children in reading-related activities, but they also enjoyed the interactions, exhibited patience, and showed much enthusiasm. Although these children were not pushed or pressured to learn any reading skills, they were stimulated to do so. Parents took care to pick










developmentally appropriate materials for their children and worked with their child only when the child showed an interest (Holt, 1983).

Moon and Wells (1979) related reading achievement with the quality of parental verbal interaction. The Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986b) postulated that a positive home environment includes responsive parents who answer questions about literacy events including language, books, reading, and writing. These responsive parents encourage the child's literacy activities which take place both independently and through interaction with an adult. Lass (1982) indicated that virtually all homes of early readers have an interested available adult or an older sibling to answer questions about literacy events and, more generally, about anything in the child's world. Hubbard (1988), in discussing ways to help children with their language and writing, encouraged frequent opportunities for them to draw, write, do, and discuss things they find interesting.

Unfortunately, attitudes can also adversely affect an activity. One reason children's art work begins to disappear might very well be the attitudes of parents and teachers.- Holt (1983) related a general attitude of teachers and parents concerning child art:

The children began to feel, after a while, that
there was no time for art, that it was not
serious--and 6-year-olds in school are very
serious. They are also very sensitive to what










adults value. They show a parent or teacher a
picture, and the adult says, in a perfunctory voice, "How nice, dear." Then they take home
some idiot workbook, whose blanks they have
dutifully filled in, and their parents show real
joy and excitement. Soon the pictures get shoved aside by the workbooks, even though there is more
real learning in a good picture than in twenty
workbooks. (p. 197)

Fassler (1987) supported Holt's conviction about adult attitude affecting children and their art. Fassler, while studying children's drawings from China and the Soviet Union, noticed a superiority in the drawings and handwriting of Chinese children. Those skills are stressed in Chinese schools from an early age.

Gotfried (1984), Greaney (1986), and Taylor (1983) found that parents provided a more stimulating and interactive environment with first-born children than with subsequent children. The older siblings in Taylor's study influenced and helped shape experiences of the younger children. The younger children grew up surrounded by children already in school and doing school-related activities. The younger children were exposed to reading, writing, and drawing in ways never provided the oldest child in a household. Holt (1983) described the closeness in ages of siblings as more conducive to learning than the distance between an adult and child. He believed that children might believe they can never be as good as an adult, so there is no use in even trying. Children who are a little older provide examples that are much closer to a










young child's reach, are seemingly obtainable, and are worth reaching for. Older children understand the language of the young child and can speak in terms the young child understands. Parents sometimes forget what or how a child learns. Holt continued by explaining how quality examples are an occasional excellent inspiration, but on a day-byday basis, examples that are close to the level of the child are best. !Regardless of the help or the examples around them, children still learn best when they want to learn or when they learn through the literacy events of everyday living.

Marjoribanks (1979) attributed a child's success in

reading to the level of academic guidance available to the child, the nature of work habits within the home, the amount of independence that is encouraged, and the emphasis that is placed on academic achievement, intellectual activities, and self-discovery. It has been found (Hess et al., 1982) that children from homes where there is considerable emphasis on performance, do better on letter recognition tasks than children who are not encouraged by their parents to succeed. Anbar (1986) encouraged parents to facilitate their children's literacy skills as long as the distinction is made between "pushing" and "encouraging."

Silvern (1985) made a distinction between pushing and encouraging. Silvern proposed that children who are










expected to learn to read and are rewarded for that achievement with praise and reading-related activities have higher achievement scores and more positive attitudes toward reading. Reading-related activities include taking trips to the library, buying a new book, or a having special story time. In contrast children who receive excessive pressure or are punished for not reading well, have lower achievement scores and less positive attitudes toward reading. Elkind (1981) issued a warning to parents and teachers about pushing children too hard. He stated that a large percentage of children seen by psychologists today are children that are pushed too much to succeed. Children's individuality needs to be respected and they should never be made to feel like losers if they cannot live up to the expectations of adults. Children need direction, but it is the abuse of "hurrying" that harms children (Elkind, 1981). Werner and Strother (1987) suggested several practices that parents can apply to reinforce a positive encouraging environment rather than a negative defeating one:

1. Parents should encourage rather than praise a

child. The child should not feel his or her worth depends on performance. Encouragement focuses on the specific task and should be used with small steps of progress.

2. Respect should be shown to the child. Each child is different and should be recognized as such.










3. Criticism should be eliminated and mistakes minimized.

4. Children's development should be well-rounded and one area, such as reading, should not be so well attended to that other areas of the child's development, such as socialization, are ignored.

Summary

Elkind (1981) asserted that schools represent the past instead of the future. He stated that part of the reason children do poorly in school is because there is no connection between what is happening to the child at school and what really happens in life.

It has been reported that early literacy development begins long before a child enters school and involves far more than the sound/symbol association and letter recognition which are prevalent in many classrooms today. For optimal learning, children should be involved in many personal, meaningful, and functional language experiences while interacting with people and things around them. Children do not have to be forced to learn. They are personally motivated because they want to and need to make sense of their world. Motivation, already within the child, needs meaningful context in order to continue and for the inner desire to make sense of what is happening. Dyson (1988) concluded, "Children come up with their own puzzle parts, their own problems to solve. The solutions








65

to those problems are reflected in their pictures and their texts" (p. 25).

A review of the research on literacy development has

revealed the importance of specific elements within a young child's environment that promote drawing, writing, and reading. These elements include (a) reading to children;

(b) parent/child interaction; (c) parental and environmental models to learn from; (d) experience with materials; and (e) positive attitudes, expectations, and reward systems of parents. These findings have been gathered from studies that were designed using a variety of methodologies. Some areas of literacy have been studied in depth, and some methodologies have been used extensively. Other areas of literacy have received considerably less attention, and some methodologies have almost been neglected. It was the intent of this researcher to explore the areas most neglected--children's perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and/or read, and how those elements of literacy developed from many of the same influences. This researcher concurs with Dyson's (1986) statement:

We have to look for its (the essence of literacy)
beginnings in all the kinds of making that
children do. In this way, we will begin to
understand, appreciate and allow time for the
often messy, noisy, and colorful process of
becoming literate. (pp. 407-408)














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY



Introduction

Qualitative research methods were used in this study. This chapter contains a discussion of the methods utilized for data collection and analysis. The chapter begins with a statement of the problem and the research perspective. A discussion of the selection of the classroom and subjects, as well as data-collection methods follows. The final section contains a description of how the data were analyzed.

The objective of this study was to provide a

description of the variables and elements within the home environments of early learners which influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The study was designed to add information to the existing knowledge of how young children learn and to add important and neglected dimensions to that knowledge--the children's perceptions of how they learned, and how the three elements of literacy, drawing, writing and reading develop from many of the same influences. The children studied were termed "early learners." "The researcher chose ethnographic interview methods (Spradley, 1979) using a retrospective 66










viewpoint (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) to learn about literacy acquisition from the subjects' perspective. Spradley refered to an informant's perspective as "getting into their heads," and a must to find out what people know. Instead of collecting data from people, Spradley indicated the ethnographer seeks to learn from, and be taught by, them. The researcher concurred that the conclusions of the ethnographer depend on the insight provided by the subject. Malinowski (cited in Spradley, 1979) stated that the goal of ethnography is to grasp the viewpoint of the subject with respect to "his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world" (p. 3).

Research Perspective

The guiding questions of this study emphasized the process each child went through to learn to draw, write, and/or read.1 A methodology was needed that emphasized not
-J
the product but the process each child used to obtain that product., Bogdan and Biklen (1982) described qualitative research as "rich in description of people, places, and conversations, and not easily handled by statistical procedures" (p. 2). Bogdan and Biklen were concerned as well with "understanding behavior from the subject's own frame of reference" (p. 2).

Bogdan and Biklen (1982) defined qualitative research as having five distinct features. Different types of










qualitative research have varying amounts of each feature. These five features are:

1. The researcher is the main instrument and the child, parents, and siblings are the direct source of information. This researcher interviewed children while they actually were drawing, writing, or reading. An openended questioning technique was used to uncover their perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and/or read. Parents and siblings were interviewed for data to develop additional insight into the nature of the learning environment and processes that support early learners.

2. Descriptive data were collected. The data

collected in this study were in the form of transcribed interviews, accompanied by some photographs. Quotations from the subjects were used to substantiate and illustrate the generalizations that emerged from the data. Researcher observations during the interview process were also included as data. Spradley (1979) described a good ethnographic translation as showing, where a poor one only tells.

3. Qualitative research focuses on process rather than the product. !The objective of this study was to discover what in particular occurred within the subjects' lives that influenced their present abilities to draw, write, or read.









4. Data were analyzed inductively. From the

responses of early learners, parents, and siblings to interview questions, categories and subcategories were formed. The author formulated an appropriate learning environment for children based on the information obtained during and after the interview.

5. Qualitative researchers are concerned with the perspectives of the subjects. 'To insure accuracy in reporting responses, this researcher tape-recorded all interviews and then compiled verbatim transcriptions.

\A retrospective interview approach within the

qualitative/ethnography methodology was selected in order to increase available data and to help fill a gap in the current research. A retrospective viewpoint is probably the most practical means for studying the development of a few subjects gifted in particular areas (Anbar, 1986). Seeking out subjects who have already, at a specified age, attained skill in drawing, writing, or reading was deemed necessary for this study. It is almost impossible to predict at birth children who will become talented and time does not allow for the interviewing of hundreds of children who show interest and might become talented, just to find a few who actually do several years from now (Bloom, 1985). Both Bloom and Anbar have used the retrospective-interview approach to conduct their studies with talented children. Bloom's subjects were 130 young, highly-talented adults








70

reflecting on childhood influences and experiences. Bloom also interviewed their parents and major teachers. Anbar interviewed the parents of six subjects who ranged in age from 2 years, 9 months to 4 years, 10 months. Anbar located the youngest readers available so that early events would more likely be recalled by their parents.

During 1987, a pilot study was completed by this

researcher to investigate the feasibility of conducting this study. A total of 21 children and 4 mothers were interviewed. The same retrospective interview approach, as discussed for this research, was used at that time. Interview transcriptions resulted in 111 pages of protocols. IThe data collected may be interpreted to suggest that there were particular variables influencing these children's literacy development while interacting with their peers, siblings, and parents. Events for learning, mentioned by both mothers and early learners, included repetitive interaction in the three areas of drawing, writing, and/or reading; copying from parents, siblings, or occasionally their surroundings; a whole language approach; free access to materials and supplies; and help, encouragement, and support from someone they cared about in a fun or play atmosphere. 'The biggest problem experienced during this pilot study was getting children to answer, in detail, what was asked of them. When asked how they learned a particular skill, the










overwhelming answer, even after asking the same child several times, was, "Mama teached me." Even though the children initially had problems responding in detail, with restructuring of the questions and continual prodding, most of the children finally revealed the particular events that helped them acquire literacy.

The retrospective-interview approach, established

during the 1987 pilot study by this researcher, was guided by the qualitative interview methods outlined by Spradley (1979) and were employed to reveal the multiple components of the home environments conducive to the development of early competence in drawing, writing, and reading during this research. A detailed description of the interview setting, the subjects, and the conversation as well as photographs of the interview setting and tape-recordings, were collected. Although there were specific questions that functioned as an interview guide, every effort was made to facilitate an open-ended discussion which aided in the discovery of the learning environment these children experienced before entering school. School Selection

The school where the study took place was chosen

because ofleasy access.' The researcher was a kindergarten teacher in this particular school in Central Florida. At the time of the study, 90% of the children within this small rural school participated in a free lunch program.









There were 24 classrooms which included kindergarten through fifth grade. Classrooms had between 23 and 33 students in each.

Subject Selection

As a sizeable number of children would be required for a clear picture of an early learner's home environment, and as there were only two or three who were identified as early learners in each of the five kindergarten classrooms, kindergartners, first graders, and some second graders were included in this research. In the data pool of early learners, there was one set of twins. The remaining 18 early learners had no siblings in the data pool. This study comprised 20 students. Approximately two-thirds of the early learners were currently in kindergarten, and onethird came from first and second grade. Kindergartners that met the criteria were selected first. First graders were then selected, and, to fill the sample, second graders were used.

,Students were chosen by their kindergarten classroom teachers on the basis of exhibiting exceptional skills in drawing, writing, and/or reading upon entering kindergarten. Performance on the Dial test or Brigance test was also analyzed. 'Exceptional skills might be exhibited in each of the three areas examined, but exceptional skill in one area qualified the child as an early learner.' Upon entering kindergarten, early learners










in reading were able to read at least 10 words. Early learners in writing were writing letters and words. Whenever possible, early learners in reading and writing were selected who demonstrated higher skills by using phonetic spelling, writing sentences, or stories and/or reading simple text. Early learners in drawing were using techniques common to children at least 2 years older (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982), incorporating the spatial concept of a baseline and using repetitive schemas to represent their environment in a descriptive way. Whenever possible, children were selected who demonstrated higher levels of skills and used elements of proportion and perspective, such as overlapping, the use of size relationships to show distance, and the correct use of horizon line and profiles. At least five of the most advanced learners from each of the three areas of literacy investigated in this study were interviewed. To complete the sample, an additional five early learners were selected from the three areas of drawing, writing and reading, within the minimum guidelines. "Children who showed the highest achievement were selected for interviewing first. Included in the study were 11 white males, 4 white females,

3 black males, 1 black female, and 1 Oriental female.

Ten mothers, two fathers, and five older siblings of children who were identified as early learners were also interviewed about their perceptions of how their children










or siblings acquired literacy. The data from these two additional sources were triangulated with the data from the early learners. Together they provided insight into the nature of the learning environment and processes that supported the early learners. Families were chosen for intensive study based on their willingness, availability, and responses of the early learners. Six early learners who were the most verbal and were able to recall specific events that aided in their literacy development had their families included in the study. Four families of children who were low responders were also interviewed. Nine white families and one black family were interviewed. Family interviews were conducted in the home setting and visual elements of that literacy environment were noted and photographed. Literacy elements included such things as children's books; adult books; paper and writing or drawing instruments; area for child to draw, write, and/or read; child's pictures on display and/or any art work on display. Interviews were taped and transcribed into protocols. Interviews with parents and siblings, as observers and participants, were used to triangulate the data, elaborate, add to, and substantiate the data received from the early learners.










The Setting

Entry to the Site

In the school that served as the research setting, there were five kindergarten classrooms and four first grade classrooms. At this school, children attending kindergarten for the first time were divided equally by sex and race. There was no predetermination of the child's academic status.

Access to the research setting was easily obtained as the researcher served as a kindergarten teacher and had taught kindergarten or art for 15 years within this setting. The principal and other teachers were extremely cooperative. The county in which the school is located required no formal approval for conducting research. The teachers involved and principal were given the guidelines for determining an early learner, as well as a statement of the purpose of this study. Copies of the results of the study were shared with the faculty at the school where the research was conducted.

A description of the proposed study was submitted to

the University of Florida's Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. In 1987, the project was approved and was revised for extension twice since that time. Letters of consent, signed by the parent of each child participating in the study were obtained.








76

The researcher met with the teachers who were involved in the study to arrange an interview schedule that did not interfere with any of the children's academic instructional time. Depending on the child, interviews lasted from 40 to 60 minutes. The conducting of interviews began during May of 1990.

Description of the Site--Classroom

This study was conducted in a public elementary school in a central Florida city with a population of approximately 650. This school served an area of approximately 135 square miles and incorporated children from several other small towns. The area is basically rural, whose residents are characterized as mostly lower to low-middle socioeconomic class. Homes in this area range from slum dwellings to large horse farms. The student population of this school was 585, of whom 65% were black and 35% were white. There were two day care centers in the area serving a very small number of children. It was noted by the researcher that most of the children in this area had strong family bonds. Many older children were directly responsible for the care of younger siblings, and most had several family members who lived either next door or within walking distance. 'Most of the children in this area have no formal instruction before reaching public kindergarten.

The room used by the researcher was a small auxiliary room used by teacher aids to grade papers. It was quiet,








77

with little to no disturbances. There was one large table in the center of the room, with various supplies used by teachers and aids on bookshelves and cabinets around the table. There was a telephone in the room for adult use. As the children walked into the room, they saw on the table two new boxes of crayons, pencils, two sheets of 12x18 white construction paper, and a tape-recorder. The researcher had a yellow legal pad and pencil to take notes.

Research Methods and Procedures Overview

The research method used in this study was a

qualitative investigation of the variables and elements within the home environment which influenced drawing, writing, and/or reading of early learners. The product of the research was a description and analysis of specific events that, combined, contributed to an effective environment for emerging literacy. The research method chosen for this study was the ethnographic interview (Spradley, 1979), with a retrospective approach (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985). Ethnographic interviewing, taperecording, note-taking, and photographing were used to gather data. Analysis was an ongoing process as the data were accumulated during the study. The following sections provide an explanation of the methods used for data collection and analysis, the difficulties and limitations of the study, and methodological issues.










Data Collection

A combination of the retrospective-interview technique (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) and Spradley's (1979) ethnographic interview research model were used in this study. The retrospective-interview approach was used by both Bloom and Anbar. These researchers were studying already very talented, young individuals in an effort to discover the developmental and educational processes that enabled them to reach those high levels of competence. This study also involved very talented, young individuals of a specific age and the experiences that occurred within their short lifetimes that helped them attain their levels of competence. Because it was impractical, for the purpose of this study, to interview hundreds of children and wait several years to see who developed talent in drawing, writing, and/or reading, interviewing children already identified as talented appeared to be the best method for obtaining data. Anbar and Bloom provided a good rationale for interviewing in retrospect, but offered no real guidance or assistance in developing the whole study. Spradley's model was also used because of the guidelines he offered for interviewing with respect to locating informants, interviewing informants, collecting, recording and analyzing the data, formulating conclusions, and writing up the results. A description of the use of informal and formal interviews used follows.










Informal and Formal InterviewinQ

In this study, informal and formal interviews were conducted and recorded. Interviews were conducted in a small, isolated room with two children at a time. Parents and siblings were interviewed in their homes one at a time. The time of the interview was planned in advance with the children's teacher or with the parent. Preplanned questions were used to guide the interview but the order was changed according to the responses of the early learner/parent/sibling and the various techniques they discussed or exhibited, while drawing, writing, or reading. These guiding questions were used to encourage and stimulate discussions on various kinds of experiences that helped developed literacy. Early learners were asked:

1. Did your parents (or other significant

individuals) ever draw for you? What types of things did they draw and how did they do it?

2. Did your parents (or other significant

individuals) ever read to you, and what specifically did they do during that time?

3. Did your parents (or other significant

individuals) ever write to you or for you and when?

4. Did you see people around you draw, write, or read? When?

As picture composing progressed, further points were covered.








80

1. Children were questioned as to how they learned to draw specific advanced elements of their drawing. Among others, such elements included perspective techniques, correct use of horizon line, base line, body detail or positions, and details of texture or color.

2. Provided the children wrote, during the interview they were questioned as to how they learned specific elements of writing, such as mock letters, alphabet letters, and words.

3. During the interview, children were questioned as to how they believed they learned to read letters and/or words they had written or seen.

;-Following the interview questions addressed to the early learners, parents and siblings were asked:

1. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever draw for your child? What types of things did you draw, and how did you do it?

2. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever

read to your child, and what specifically did you do during that time?

3. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever write to your child or for your child and when?

4. Did any person around your child draw, write, or read? When?

If the child was advanced in drawing, parents and siblings were asked:










1. How do you believe your child learned specific

elements of their writing, such as mock letters, alphabet letters, and words.

If the child was advanced in reading, parents and siblings were asked:

1. How do you believe the child learned to read letters and/or words they wrote or saw.

After asking the parents and siblings the same basic questions that were asked the early learners, any discrepancies were noted during the parent interview, and more questions asked to clarify that discrepancy.

Questions were open-ended so as to get the informant's true perspective in his or her own words, rather than just a rewording of what the interviewer said or a "yes-no" response. These open-ended questions were conversational in nature and also aided in formulating additional questions. All interviews were tape-recorded to insure accurate detail of conversations. fThe accuracy of interview data were judged by comparing what the children said to what the parents and siblings said, and compared to what had been documented in other studies reported in the literature. A pilot study completed by this researcher was also used for comparison. Evidence contrary to established patterns was examined and explanations sought and reported.










Analysis of the Data

The data collected through interviews focused on how children learned to draw, write, and/or read before they came to school. All interviews were tape-recorded and then transcribed into protocols for analysis. Notes taken by the researcher during the interview were placed in the margins by the appropriate conversation. Known data pertaining to the child was placed at the top of the protocols and included information such as sex, race, IQ if known, socioeconomic status, whether the child had been to preschool, who was primarily in charge of his or her care, and notes on general academic achievement. All protocols were typed from the recordings the same day the interview took place to insure a clear memory in the translation.

The data analysis was an ongoing process of

questioning, recording, reading, rereading, analyzing protocols, and searching for patterns. The Spradley (1979) Developmental Research Sequence Method (DRS) was selected to guide the data collection and analysis for this study. Spradley's DRS model is an ethnographic interview research model which is cyclic in nature and involves continual analysis and possible revision of guiding questions during the interviewing process to lead to a more focused research as the study evolves. The four phases of Spradley's model include the following:










1. Domain analysis: Spradley considered domains to be the "first and most important type of analysis in ethnographic research" (p. 100). Categories of types of, or kinds of experiences, or kinds of ways to do things, or elements within environments were searched for through the protocols. Domain analysis uncovered as many categories of an early learning environment as could be deduced from the interviews. An analysis of the guiding questions was made during the early interviewing process and the questions revised in order to fill in any possible gaps or delete some areas of discussion.

2. Taxonomic analysis: The next step of Spradley's

DRS model involved looking for the relationship between the domains. Subcategories or the internal structures within main categories (domains) were formulated at this time. Additional interviews were added to verify the taxonomic relationships or to reveal new categories.

3. Componential analysis: The third level of

analysis involved searching through the already established domains, determining likenesses and differences, separating or grouping them together, and determining their meaning for each situation.-/ This information needed to be verified and any missing gaps filled in. Because the parents and siblings were interviewed last in this study, they served as the informants during this phase of analysis, as well as being part of the domain and taxonomic analyses. The end







84

result of these three types of analysis (domain, taxonomic, and componential) is provided in outline form in the summary of Chapter 4.

4. Theme analysis: Up to this point in the analysis process specific domains had been studied in depth. The domains of drawing, writing, and reading were reviewed. The purpose of this final analysis was to find an explanation of the early learning environment leading to literacy in all three areas. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) provided a theoretical framework for this research which is discussed in depth in Chapter 4.

The DRS model guiding the data analysis in this study provided the researcher an organized and systematic guide to follow. The data were analyzed to identify elements of an early learning environment conducive to drawing, writing, and reading. Even with the best, or most explicit guide for a study, there are certain methodological issues that may affect the process. These are discussed under the following headings: (a) researcher qualifications and bias, (b) problems using children as informants, and (c) the reliability and validity of findings. Methodological Issues

Researcher qualifications and biases

The relevant qualifications of this researcher are as follows:










1. The researcher was an elementary school art teacher in rural areas for 11 years, in kindergarten through fifth grade, and spent 1 year as art and music teacher in a rural middle school consisting of grades five through seven.

2. At the time of the study, the researcher was in her ninth year of teaching kindergarten in the same rural area.

3. The researcher taught one summer session of the Headstart program.

4. The researcher served as a consultant for the

University of Florida and taught two terms of art methods courses for elementary education majors and one term of crafts for occupational therapists.

5. The researcher presented numerous workshops

describing art as the base for whole language environments at both art and early childhood conferences on district, state, and regional levels.

6. The researcher earned a Master of Arts degree

majoring in early childhood education and a Specialist in Education degree majoring in art education.

7. Course work and examinations had been successfully completed for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on early childhood and a minor in art education.










8. The researcher successfully completed the qualitative research method courses required by the University of Florida College of Education for completion of the Ph.D. requirements.

9. A pilot study was completed, using qualitative methods exploring this research problem.

In addition to the qualifications of the researcher, biases were identified. Biases of the researcher could have influenced the collection and analysis of the data and affected the interpretation of the results. By presenting these biases, the researcher acknowledged their presence and alerted the reader to such biases, beliefs, and feelings as may affect the evaluation of the results of the study. In order to deal with the relevant biases of the researcher, the following list is offered to the reader:

1. This researcher believed that most early learners have been reared primarily at home, as opposed to primarily in a day-care settings. Because of great distances to any of the available day-care centers or preschools, children within the area of this study were rarely able to attend. There was possibly no correlation between homecare and early learning, but this researcher believed there was.

2. This researcher perceived education in drawing to be severely neglected by parents and teachers.

3. This researcher strongly supported the whole language approach within the classroom and at home.










Problems of using children as informants

As the success of any study depends on the

researcher's ability to gain a true picture from the informants, it is essential for the researcher and informant to derive the same meaning from a statement. The researcher must possess the necessary skills for making sense of and correctly interpreting the responses of others. During the first few interviews during the pilot study, this researcher experienced some difficulty in having children understand exactly what was asked of them and saw their frustration at their inability to make themselves understood. Recognizing, understanding, and dealing with this problem was essential. Hatch (1988) identified four problems in using children as informants.

The adult-child problem. Hatch (1990) identified this as the most apparent problem. When the researcher is an adult and the informants are children, both enter into an interaction, knowing well-established norms for the social roles expected of themselves and of the other. For the adult, establishing rapport as someone trying to find out what the child really knows about a subject is a major step in a researcher-informant relationship. The usual and expected role of adults is guiding, directing, and tutoring, where children usually receive that which the adult has to offer. It is the researcher's responsibility










to provide an atmosphere in which the child feels a more equal role relationship is in existence.

Right answer problem. Children try to respond with what they believe the adult wants to hear, believing the adult already has the answer. Instead of revealing their own perceptions, children play a guessing game, trying to determine the adult's answer. If they give an answer that has received a favorable reaction, they try to use it over and over again. Since the very core of a researcherinformant relationship depends on the informant's possessing special knowledge that is to be discovered, it is essential that the researcher is aware of this problem and only settles for the informant's own views.

Preoperational thought problem. Based on Piaget's

research, Hatch (1990) described children from the age of 2 to about 7 as being at a level of cognitive development known as preoperational. Because of the characteristics of this age, children may not respond in the way an adult would be expected to respond to the identical question. Hatch listed these characteristics as (a) "Egocentrism (the inability to take another's point of view), (b) complexive thinking (the stringing together of ideas that have no unifying concept), and (c) centering (the inability to consider more than one aspect of a situation at one time)" (p. 257).










Self-as-social-object problem. This problem is

related to egocentrism in that subjects are unable to think of themselves as they are able to think of or understand people or objects other than themselves. The importance of this problem is that when children are asked to remember events that happened in the past concerning their learning environment and to analyze their own actions, or attitudes, they may not be able to respond as easily as desired. During the pilot study, a very typical response was, "She teached me." In some cases, a child could not get beyond that response, would become indignant if the researcher continued the pursuit for the specific event, and would respond with, "I SAID, SHE TEACHED NEI" This problem needed to be overcome. The researcher pursued the questions from different directions until the child understood and was able to respond. Most children were able to eventually respond to specific events.

Hatch (1990) offered strategies for improving

interviews with young children. He made the following suggestions:

(1) Take time to establish personal relationships with students; (2) emphasize informal rather than
formal interviewing as studies are designed and
implemented; (3) ask questions children can
answer, expect them to answer, and accept their answers; (4) provide concrete or semi-abstract
symbols to elicit explanations of classroom
social phenomena. (p. 260)

As it was essential to gain a true picture from

informants, this researcher dealt with the problems and










solutions described by Hatch (1990) and Westby (1990) in the following ways:

1. Early learners involved in this study had all seen and known the researcher for at least 8 months. Personal and friendly relationships were established before each child was interviewed. From the beginning, the children knew they had done something VERY right and the researcher wanted them to share how they learned so others could be taught.

2. Interviews were informal, held in familiar

surroundings, and a positive atmosphere was maintained.

3. Because a pilot study had been conducted,

questions had been eliminated or revised to facilitate children's responding. Questions were simple in form, referring to one idea or incident. All questions were pursued from different directions until the child understood and was able to respond. Answers were expected, and children were reminded that they were informants.

4. Children were drawing, writing, or reading during the interview and questions referred to that paper as often as possible.

Reliability and Validity

Reliability and validity are central issues for

qualitative research. Reliability refers to the extent to which a study can be replicated. Validity depends on the










extent to which the findings of the study represent reality.

!Reliability, or replication, would depend on

duplicating exactly the informants, setting, and interview techniques. This could be accomplished by obtaining a thorough description of the informants, setting, and interview. Care was taken in this study to provide as much information on each child as possible. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim so that the reader may observe the style of the researcher while interviewing.
iMeasuring to insure validity of the early learning environment that is depicted is as follows:

1. The number of early learners was 20.

2. The number of parents and older siblings included in the data was from 10 families.

3. By using interview data from early learners/

parents/siblings, and drawing on the existing research, the researcher was able to triangulate data, discover discrepancies, or confirm particular positive elements within the learning environment. As these data sources substantiated one another, this researcher believed validity was confirmed.

4. A relaxed atmosphere was maintained. The

researcher was known to the informants and a getting acquainted period was not necessary. 'Early learners involved were either in the researcher's classroom, had




Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8
REPORT xmlns http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitss xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.fcla.edudlsmddaitssdaitssReport.xsd
INGEST IEID E6ELPM25I_KFVOXH INGEST_TIME 2016-09-30T20:39:50Z PACKAGE AA00048108_00001
AGREEMENT_INFO ACCOUNT UF PROJECT UFDC
FILES



PAGE 1

CHILDREN'S PERCEPTIONS OF HOW THEY LEARNED TO DRAW, WRITE, AND READ By SHARON VIRGINIA THOMPSON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 1992 [UNIVERSITY'OF FLORIDA LIBRARIES

PAGE 2

Copyright 1992 by Sharon Virginia Thompson

PAGE 3

This dissertation is dedicated to my family, Joey and Joelle, Mom and Dad, and to my support system, Paul and Linda.

PAGE 4

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The writing of this dissertation has been successfully completed only by a team effort. Without the inspiration, sacrifice, encouragement, and occasional push by people I love and/or respect the writing probably never would have started and certainly never would have been completed. I would like to express my gratitude to the following people who shared with me and helped me survive and even to succeed through the past few years: — The early learners and their families who shared their perceptions of literacy development with me. — The members of my committee, Dorene Ross, Raymond Ferguson, Arthur Newcomb, and Lynn Hartle, who gave of their time, expertise, and encouragement. — My committee chairperson. Dr. Linda Lamme, who has consistently inspired me and provided time, direction, guidance, and friendship. — My best friend, Paul Hildebrand, for his patience, encouragement, and constant H What did you do on your paper today?" — And, especially my children, Joelle and Joey, who have sacrificed more than I ever wanted. iv

PAGE 5

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS iii ABSTRACT vii CHAPTERS 1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY 1 Statement of the Problem 2 Design of the Study 5 Significance of the Study 7 Definition of Terms 8 Limitations of the Study 10 Scope of the Study 11 Summary 12 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 14 Introduction 14 A Historical Overview of Preschool Drawing, Writing, and Reading 17 Intrinsic Growth/Neural Ripening/Maturation . 18 Basic Skills Approach to Reading Readiness ... 20 Emergent Literacy in the 1980s 26 The Home Environment and Literacy 38 Reading to the Child 39 Interactive Practices Between Parents and Children as Related to Reading 43 Interactive Practices Between Parents and Children During Art Experiences 48 Modeling 51 Experience with Available Material 54 Exposure to Environmental Print 56 Parents' Attitudes, Expectations, and Reward System 58 Summary 64 3 METHODOLOGY 66 Introduction 66 Research Perspective 67 v

PAGE 6

School Selection 71 Subject Selection 72 The Setting 74 Entry to the Site 74 Description of the Site — Classroom 76 Research Methods and Procedures 77 Overview 77 Data Collection 78 Informal and Formal Interviewing 79 Analysis of the Data 82 Methodological Issues 84 Reliability and Validity 90 Conclusion 92 4 METHODS EMPLOYED BY EARLY LEARNERS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS AS DESCRIBED BY THOSE EARLY LEARNERS, THEIR PARENTS, AND THEIR SIBLINGS ... 93 Introduction 93 Time Provided 95 Materials and Resources 102 Observations of the Environment 107 Modeling 113 Positive Influences of Modeling 113 Negative Influences of Modeling 118 Social Transactions During Reading 119 Child Initiation 123 Encouragement Systems 129 Displays 130 Verbal Encouragement 132 Distribution of Literacy Products to Others . 133 Adult Dependence on Children 135 Uses Literacy as a Reward 135 Validity 136 Cognitive Apprenticeship? 138 The Context Taught 142 Domain Knowledge 142 Heuristic Strategies 145 Control Strategies 148 Learning Strategies 151 The Pedagogical Methods Employed 153 Modeling, Coaching, and Scaffolding 154 Articulation and Reflection 158 Exploration 161 Seguencing of Learning Activities 163 Increasing Complexity v 164 Increasing Diversity .’ 166 Global Before Local Skills 167 The Sociology of Learning 170 Situated Learning 171 Culture of Expert Practice 173 Intrinsic Motivation 175 vi

PAGE 7

Exploiting Cooperation 180 Exploiting Competition 182 Summary 186 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 195 Conclusions 195 Summary 205 Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies .... 206 Time Provided 207 Availability of Materials and Resources 209 Observations of the Environment 210 Modeling 213 Social Transactions During Reading 217 Child Initiated Interactions 219 Encouragement Systems 221 Drawing 223 Implications 226 Implications for the Research Community 226 Implications for Parents 230 Implications for Teachers 232 Summary 234 REFERENCES 238 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 252 vii

PAGE 8

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education CHILDREN'S PERCEPTIONS OF HOW THEY LEARNED TO DRAW, WRITE, AND READ By Sharon Virginia Thompson May 1992 Chairperson: Linda L. Lamme Major Department: Instruction and Curriculum The purpose of this study was to describe elements that existed within the home environment of 20 early learners that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. Data were generated from retrospective interviews of children, their parents, and siblings. A theoretical construct, "cognitive apprenticeship," provided a framework for analyzing the learning environments. Interpretation of the results of this study revealed that children who excelled in art remembered being very observant of their natural surroundings, in the same way that early readers reported noticing environmental print. They remembered copying adult and sibling models, much as early writers recounted copying models of writing. This finding suggested that children could benefit from being viii

PAGE 9

taught to be more observant of their environment and from being exposed to a variety of models of drawing with different levels of expertise. Further, because the links between art development and those of reading and writing were so strong, there may be additional links among the other arts, such as music and drama and early literacy. Children's interactions with older siblings tended to differ somewhat from their interactions with parents. Although parents tended to be responsive, siblings directed learning experiences in a play-oriented atmosphere. This finding suggested there might be educational advantages derived from placing children in multi-age learning environments that are more family-like while in school. Oral interactions with their parents and siblings surrounded the literacy events remembered by these children. These early learners initiated most of the learning experiences remembered by their parents and siblings. They sought out books, art and writing supplies, and reasons for literacy events. They asked questions and initiated interactions during storybook reading. If the learning development of children is promoted at home by responsive adults, it might be worthwhile to explore more deeply the impact of responsive environments at school. ix

PAGE 10

CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND FOR THE STUDY Researchers have explored in great depth how children learn to read and, to a lesser extent, how they acquire the ability to write (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984) Far less attention has been paid to how children learn to draw, yet children draw before they write or read, and drawing helps form the basis for writing and reading (Dyson, 1988; Gardner, 1970; Hildreth, 1936; Lamme, 1984). Research in emergent literacy has involved observing children and studying their artifacts. Researchers have also observed and interviewed parents about how their children have learned or are learning to read, write, and draw. Children's perceptions of how they learned or are learning these skills have thus far almost been ignored in the emergent literacy research. While children's emergence into drawing, writing, and reading have each been studied separately and the links between reading and writing have received recent attention (Dyson, 1988), few researchers have explored children's development across all three areas of reading, writing, and drawing. What we know about children's development in drawing, writing, and reading has been obtained from 1

PAGE 11

2 studies in each area that were independent of each other and used different children for each. Young children develop as a whole, demonstrating their emergent literacy as they draw, write, and read, so it makes logical sense to explore these three forms of literacy in conjunction with one another. This study was designed to add a needed dimension to the research on how young children learn to draw, write, and read by focusing on their total development and how they, their parents, and their siblings perceived the attainment of these skills occurred within the home environment. Qualitative research methods stress the importance of gathering documentation from as many sources as possible. However, one source of data that is seldom drawn upon is the children themselves. The researcher employed retrospective interviews with 20 kindergarten, first, and second grade children who entered school with exceptional drawing, writing, and/or reading ability. These children were termed early learners. Half of the early learners' parents and siblings were also interviewed. Statement of the Problem Emergent literacy development is an issue of great importance to educators of young children. Even though children have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge before entering school (Hall, 1987) some have trouble acquiring academic skills, despite great efforts from

PAGE 12

3 teachers and parents. In an effort to make instruction simple, forms of literacy and their associated skills have been isolated and broken into small bits and pieces. That very isolation of skills and removal of literacy from the context that makes it useful and purposeful, however, has made learning difficult for many children (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Researchers and writers have also broken literacy into small or isolated areas and have neglected examining literacy development as a unified process (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984) Children speak, draw, write, and read in intertwined patterns which are continually adding to each of the other areas of literacy. This creates a unified view of literacy as a process which is always changing and maturing. Children's development can be studied as a uniform process. When the performance of a child is studied in several or in all areas of literacy and the findings are presented as a whole, then literacy instruction within the classroom can reflect the true means by which children become literate. The children in this study were a special group of children. They were from a rural area and, in many cases, were minority students who have been underrepresented in the emergent literacy research. Through these rural children and some of the families, this study linked simultaneously the influences from the home environment on

PAGE 13

4 drawing, writing, and reading during literacy development. Employing a child's perspective added another needed dimension to the current research. The researcher investigated the elements within the home environment that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The following questions provided a focus for this study: 1. What are the perceptions of children about the multiple factors that contributed to their emergent literacy in drawing, writing, and/or reading? 2. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of different children? Do their perceptions/experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development? 3. What do parents and siblings see as important contributing factors for drawing, writing, and/or reading? 4. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of parents and siblings? Do their perceptions/experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development? 5. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of children and the perceptions of parents and siblings? Of what significance are these similarities and differences?

PAGE 14

5 After asking the children's parents and siblings questions similar to those asked the early learners, any discrepancies were noted and restated during the parent interview. Design of the Study Ethnographic methods are most appropriate to study holistic literacy development of young children. The methods of ethnography, also known as naturalistic inquiry or qualitative research, provide the means through which the researcher can attempt to gain the perspective of the subjects through their own perceptions to better understand their development (Spradley, 1979) In contrast to quantitative research, qualitative research forms hypotheses during and after the investigation rather than before the investigation (Silverman, 1983). Two major methods of qualitative or ethnographic research include participant observation and interviewing (Spradley, 1979) In this study, the interview approach was utilized (including open-ended interviews, conversational interviews, and the general interview guide) (Silverman, 1983) After teacher evaluation and initial testing, subjects who had been identified as early learners were chosen and were interviewed to gain a retrospective picture of the process of their literacy development. Bloom (1985) used a retrospective interview technique in studying individuals who had reached the highest levels

PAGE 15

6 of talent within their fields. Bloom studied outstanding musicians, athletes, and mathematicians as well as individuals representing interpersonal fields, such as school teachers, social workers, supervisors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Using a retrospective interview approach, the researcher/ ethnographer collected field notes, conducted and tape-recorded informal interviews, and transcribed the tapes of the interviews onto protocols that were later analyzed to describe and compare in detail the children studied. Through this later analysis, patterns emerged that created a "picture" and theory of how these children's early literacy emerged. The researcher/ethnographer selected children who were identified as early learners based on teacher evaluation and performance on the Dial test or Brigance test. As a minimum, these children, upon entering kindergarten, read at least 10 words and/or wrote letters and/or some words. The drawing techniques the children used were common to children at least 2 years older, incorporating the use of a base line and easily recognizable human figures. In some instances children showed the correct usage of proportions and perspective, such as overlapping, size relationships to show distance, correct use of horizon line and use of profiles. The children interviewed were advanced in at least one of the three areas of drawing, writing, and reading.

PAGE 16

7 As an integral part of this study, the parents and older siblings of 10 of the early learners were also interviewed. Families were chosen for interviews after all of the early learners had been interviewed. Of the 20 early learners interviewed, 10 of their families were included in the study. Families were chosen for this study based on their willingness and availability. Families of the highly verbal children were the first asked to participate. Six of the interviewed families were of children who were best able to respond specifically to the questions asked; four of the families interviewed were of children who were low responders. Significance of the Study This study addressed the need for research on children's perceptions of the early development of their drawing, writing, and reading abilities. Many researchers have examined development within the home environment but very few have asked children how they perceived that they acquired literacy (Anbar, 1986; Holt, 1983) Every source of available information needs to be explored. The three specific areas of literacy involving symbols — drawing, writing, and reading — have received unequal attention. Reading has gained a great deal of attention within the literature and research. Writing has received considerably less attention than reading (Graves, 1980) but a great deal more than children's art. Researchers have almost ignored

PAGE 17

8 the development of drawing, writing, and reading together. Even though these same literacy studies are done in the name of "holistic" learning, most researchers isolate one or maybe two areas of literacy to examine. Classroom teachers are beginning to make a move toward a closer correlation between how children learn at home and how instruction occurs within a school setting. £ To have control over or to be able to influence learning within the classroom, particular elements or variables affecting learning need to be explored. Studies of children's perceptions provide relevant and useful information for curriculum formation. The results of this study contribute evidence that particular strategies, when combined, have provided children with a head start in their literacy development. Drawing, writing, and reading develop in similar ways and reinforce each other. No area of literacy is developed in isolation from the others. These elements or strategies may be transferred from the home environment to the classroom to provide children with a "natural" way of learning. Since emergent literacy research provides the foundation for whole language instruction in the classroom (Hall, 1987) these findings have direct application for teachers. Definition of Terms The following terms are defined as they were used in this study.

PAGE 18

9 Early learners were those children who, in drawing, were at least 2 years ahead of their peers when entering kindergarten, as judged by an educational specialist in art education (the researcher) As a minimum level of development, children were categorized within a Schematic Stage (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982) which normally begins around 7 years of age. Children termed early learners in writing were writing letters and words when entering kindergarten. Children termed early learners in reading were able to read at least 10 words when entering kindergarten. Children who were chosen for this study were also reading simple readers or stories from children's picture books. Emerging literacy was defined by Teale and Sulzby (1986) as follows: At whatever point we look, we see children in the process of becoming literate, as the term emergent indicates. . Emergent connotes development rather than stasis; it signifies something in the process of becoming, (p. xix) Perception is defined in Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (1963) as having a capacity for comprehension, to attain awareness or have an understanding Whole language was defined by Altwerger, Edelsky, and Flores (1987) as follows: Whole Language is based on the following ideas: (a) language is for making meanings, for accomplishing purposes; (b) written language is language — thus what is true for language in

PAGE 19

10 general is true for written language; (c) the cuing systems of language (phonology in oral, orthography in written language, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) are always simultaneously present and interacting in any instance of language in use; (d) language use always occurs in a situation; (e) situations are critical to meaning-making. (p. 144) Limitations of the Study The objective of this study was to describe the elements within the home environment of early learners which influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. It may be, however, that the findings can be applied only to children with average and better-than-average intelligence or to children from a particular rural north-Florida community. The researcher/ ethnographer selected the children who demonstrated advanced knowledge and abilities and to whom she had easy access. Their learning styles and techniques may not typify the learning of all young children. The very nature of the study (i.e., the retrospective interviewing of young children) is a difficult method by which to obtain accurate data. Children must be able to separate specific instances of their past, out of context, and report those instances when asked by the interviewer. Hatch (1988) identified four problems which arise when young children are used as informants stemming from the ways they understand their roles and make sense of their world. These problems are (a) the adult-child problem, (b) the right-answer problem, (c) the preoperational thought

PAGE 20

11 problem, and (d) the self-as-social-object problem. These are explained in detail in Chapter 3, and every effort was made to adjust for them in order to improve the quality of the data obtained. To help compensate for these problems and to add to the validity of the children's perceptions, the parents and older siblings of 10 of the early learners were interviewed to obtain their perceptions of how the children acquired literacy. Scope of the Study The study was conducted with early learners — children who were identified as being advanced in drawing, writing, and/or reading. Students identified as early learners in the kindergarten years of 1987-88 (second graders when interviewed) 1988-89 (first graders when interviewed) and 1989-90 school years were interviewed. Children who met the guidelines for classification as early learners who were currently in kindergarten were chosen first. The data pool was completed with first and second graders based on their former kindergarten teacher's recommendations. The number of early learners in this study was 20. 'Children were chosen to be interviewed based on teacher observation and early testing that normally occurs within the classroom and county. The subjects were from one school setting. This small rural school had approximately 120 kindergartners, 100 first graders, and 100 second graders,

PAGE 21

12 f-The majority of children in this school were black and from a lower socioeconomic status. Summary For many years it was assumed that children had very little literacy when they entered school. The job of the preschool or kindergarten teacher was to get children "ready" for the real reading and writing of first grade. Writing was taught after children were reading, and art gradually became a "frill" and was seldom included in the curriculum. More recently, however, researchers have shown that children acquire a great deal of literacy at very early ages. The child's home and other environments provide many opportunities for children to make sense of their world through symbols of language. Children learn from their environment, but some environments are more conducive to learning than others, and some children are more responsive to literacy-producing environments. Some children, upon entering kindergarten, have already acquired more literacy than their peers and are already writing, reading, or drawing with competence. Research designed to involve the home environment provides data that add to the growing description of literacy acquisition found in the existing body of emergent literacy literature. The recollections of early learners provide guidelines for parents, art educators, and classroom teachers in

PAGE 22

developing an appropriate curriculum for parents and teachers to guide children toward literacy. 13 This study provides a description of the perceptions of early learners, their parents, and their siblings of the elements within their home environment that influenced their literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The study was designed to add information to the existing knowledge of how young children learn and to add an important and neglected dimension to that knowledge. That dimension is the children's perceptions of how they learned, and how the three elements of literacy — drawing, writing, and reading — developed from many of the same influences. The findings from this study provide educators and parents of young children with a better understanding of how children's literacy develops within a home environment. To the degree that similar techniques can be used within the classroom, implications for classroom instruction are contributed as well. Since whole language instruction models its curriculum on the home experiences of literate children (Hall, 1987; Schickedanz, Hansen, & Forsyth, 1990), implications for classroom applications are warranted.

PAGE 23

CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Introduction At this point in the history of education, a radical move is being made from a basic skills philosophy to a whole language philosophy of teaching reading and writing. Whole language philosophy is based on teaching children at school the way they would learn at home in a positive learning environment. Rather than teaching skills using a didactic approach, parents and teachers study how early learners acquire literacy at home, or at least how they perceive that literacy is acquired, in order to apply similar techniques in the classroom (Schickedanz Hansen, & Forsyth, 1990) Whole language uses children's experiences in a meaningful and personal way to develop literacy. The prevalent emphasis in schools has been on isolated skills that are easy to measure (Dyson, 1984) Unfortunately, as long as achievement tests continue to test decoding and other readiness skills, teachers feel pressured to teach those skills (Eisner, 1979, 1982). Teachers and parents need to understand the history of literacy acquisition and they need to be aware of the current research involving whole 14

PAGE 24

15 language learning in order to create an environment that best "allows" and facilitates children to obtain literacy and to have a rationale based on reliable research for that environment. Fields (1988) offered advice concerning whole language : Teachers can help parents realize they are teaching reading and writing when they read and write for their own purposes, when they read to their children, when they encourage children's free exploration of print, when they write to children, and when they write children's words for them. These informed parents will be able to teach children to read as well as they taught them to talk. (p. 902) Print, within our environment, is practically unavoidable (Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee, 1986a; Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1983; Goodman, 1984; Hiebert, 1981; Lass, 1982; Potter, 1986; Torrey, 1969; Weiss & Hagen, 1988). Ferreiro and Teberosky (1983) stated. The children we know are learners who actively try to understand the world around them, to answer questions the world poses ... it is absurd to imagine that four or five year old children growing up in an urban environment that displays print everywhere (on toys, on billboards and road signs, on their clothes, on TV) do not develop any ideas about this cultural object until they find themselves sitting in front of a teacher. (p. 12) Children are surrounded by literacy, and teachers or parents may not be able to stop the interaction — but could interfere with it. The whole language approach to literacy development involves integrating learning with the everyday life of the child. Each area of knowledge and how it is obtained has

PAGE 25

16 impact on other areas of knowledge. A child learns to speak, draw, write, and read simultaneously. Separation of these literacy events in research (language, art, writing, and reading) usually provides a fragmented view of Flores (1987) separated the philosophy of whole language from other recent philosophies. Whole Language shares some ties to other theories and to various methods, but it isn't the same — it isn't the whole word approach, nor merely teaching skills in context, nor a method for packaged products, nor the Language Experience Approach, nor a new term for the Open Classroom. It's an overriding theory and point of view about language, literacy, and content learning. (p. 144) The purpose of this chapter is to provide a discussion of past research on literacy acquisition and to present the current research pertaining to the nature of a facilitative environment for early literacy, concentrating on three major aspects of literacy — drawing, writing, and reading. This facilitative or positive home environment is the basis for current whole language philosophy and whole language approaches to literacy attainment. In order to present a complete review of the literature, this chapter is divided into two major sections. The first section provides a historical overview of literacy instruction beginning in the 1920s and progressing into the 1980s. The second section describes the factors, discussed within the development. Edelsky, and

PAGE 26

17 literature beginning in the 1980s, which create an effective home environment conducive to literacy. A Historical Overview of Preschool Drawing, Writing, and Reading Prior to the 1920s, very few researchers addressed preschool reading and writing. Not much had been done because the general belief was that reading and writing should not begin until formal school instruction began (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Part of a majority, John Dewey did not believe in teaching reading before first grade, and Edmund Huey believed formal instruction should wait until the child was eight years old (Zirkelbach, 1984) During the 1920s a change of thought started to take root, due to great numbers of children failing school reading instruction. Children had trouble with wholegroup, everybody-doing-the-same-thing instruction, and educators began to look at early childhood as a time of preparation for school (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Specifically, educators of that time saw preschool as a time for children to get ready to read. The term reading readiness, and seeing early childhood as the time for acquiring that readiness, took hold with the report of the National Committee on Reading (1925) published in the Yearbook of the United States National Society for the Study of Education This report was the first among many that referred to the term "reading readiness."

PAGE 27

18 In an effort to identify the factors that could prepare a child for that readiness to read, two theories of what occurred during early childhood surfaced. One group of educators believed that reading readiness was a result of intrinsic growth or maturation, sometimes called "neural ripeness" (Lamoreaux & Lee, 1943). The other group of educators believed that particular appropriate activities or experiences could accelerate readiness. Intrinsic Growth/Neural Ripening /Maturation Beginning in the 1920s and lasting into the 1950s Arnold Gesell influenced many areas of early childhood. Educators, authors, and child development theorists followed Gesell' s theory of development (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Environment was not seen by Gesell as a large contributing factor in preparing children for motor or intellectual development. According to this theory, development begins inside the child and evolves through time into maturation rather than being directly influenced by the environment or factors outside the child (Hall, 1987) The effect of the maturation theory on reading readiness was simple; if the child was not ready, we waited. The child could not be rushed. Good educational practice, in this theory, provided an environment for students that would not interfere with the predetermined process of spontaneous maturation (Ausubel, 1981) The era

PAGE 28

19 of waiting for the child to be ready coexisted with a strong testing and measurement era. Additional commitment to and enthusiasm for the maturation theory was generated from a study by Morphett and Washburne (1931) Through the testing of 141 children, Morphett and Washburne (1931) identified the mental age of 6 years and 6 months as being the age that would be ideal for starting reading instruction in school. The age guideline was formed by determining which children demonstrated satisfactory reading progress and the age those children were when they started school. Based on this study, parents were warned of the great harm they could cause their children if they let them read too soon. Teachers were encouraged to keep track of their students' mental ages so they would know when they could begin reading instruction. Even though this study was discredited only a few years later, the impact and influence of the neural ripening/mental age/delay instruction orientation lasted through four decades (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) During this time, many types of reading tests were devised. In the 1946 edition of Foundations of Reading Instruction Bett discussed 12 reading readiness tests published between 1930 and 1943, including the Metropolitan Readiness Tests that are still being used in revised forms today (Teale & Sulzby, 1986)

PAGE 29

20 The reading readiness tests were designed to measure specific strengths and weaknesses. By this categorizing of skills, the tests not only served as a measure of a child's knowledge (or lack of it) but the subtests served as perfect diagnostic tools for areas of education needing intervention. During the 1930s, the reading readiness workbook became an established part of the basal series. Teacher method books presented activities designed to instruct the child deficient in specific areas of the subjects. Waiting for the child to mature began to lose its dominance as a theory of reading readiness and was replaced by a basic skills theory of reading readiness affected by experience. Basic Skills Approach to Reading Readiness When reading readiness workbooks introduced systematic steps in a seguential order to prepare children for reading, they created a direct shift from the maturationist view of "wait till they are ready" to the view that children could be taught the necessary skills regardless of how "ready" they were. Following that lead, publishers began introducing early reading materials, children's magazines, and articles on how to teach preschoolers to read (Zirkelbach, 1984) Some other factors during the late 1950s and 1960s that contributed to the shift to a basic skills approach to reading readiness were listed by Teale and Sulzby (1986) as the following:

PAGE 30

21 1. The launching of the Sputnik in 1957 put increased pressure on our education system to proceed at a more rigorous pace and to begin that rigorous education earlier. 2. The federal government, influenced by the civil rights movement, created programs such as Headstart for early intervention, to help create an "equal'' start in school for culturally disadvantaged children. 3. There was increased interest in and research concerning young children and what they could achieve. Bloom (1982) reported that the majority of intellectual growth is achieved before the age of 5. Durkin (1966) studied early readers, and Bruner's report published in 1960 (cited in Teale & Sulzby, 1986) was interpreted as support for teaching subjects earlier within grades and getting children ready to read as soon as possible. Zirkelbach (1984) perceived another stimulus to the basic skills approach as being the birth of the television programs Sesame Street and The Electric Company, which demonstrated that children could have fun while they were learning academic skills. Firmly established in the 1950s and 1960s, the basic skills reading readiness program, still followed in many classrooms and homes today, had many influences on our educational system. In 1987 Hall wrote that, in a basic skills reading program.

PAGE 31

22 1. Reading and writing are primarily visualperceptual processes involving printed unit/sound relationships 2 Children are not ready to learn to read and write until they are five or six years old. 3. Children have to be taught to be literate. 4. The teaching of literacy must be systematic and sequential in operation. 5. Proficiency in the 'basic' skills has to be acquired before one can act in a literate way. 6. Teaching the 'basic' skills of literacy is a neutral, value-free activity. 7 There was no consideration that becoming a reader and becoming a writer are closely related processes. 8. There was no consideration that becoming a reader and becoming literate might be a social process and be influenced by a search for meaning. 9. There was no consideration that becoming literate might be a continuous developmental process that begins very early in life. 10. There was no consideration of the organization and control that children might bring to becoming literate. 11. There was no consideration that in order to become literate a child might need to engage in literate acts. 12 There was little consideration of how language and stories might inform, in particular ways, children's understandings about literacy and text. 13. There was no consideration that the knowledge that children have about literacy might be a legitimate element of their literacy development. (pp. 2-4) The dominance of reading readiness theory made a strong impression on educators and the general public. One message portrayed was that any reading or writing during early childhood is a precursor to the "real" reading and writing instruction that begins in school. Another strong message to parents was that anything they do with their children before entering school should be modeled after the

PAGE 32

23 systematized approach presented in school (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Carbo (1987), the National Council of Teachers of English (1989), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1986) reported that the publishers of basal readers and achievement tests are still dictating, to a large extent, what is being taught in today's classroom. Eisner (1982) wrote of the backwardness of tests dictating curriculum. This flow of events from test scores to educational goals is, of course, the reverse of the textbook version of how tests should be used in educational practice. The standard version prescribes that one first establish objectives, then design a series of curriculum activities related to those objectives, then implement these activities through teaching, and, finally, test or in other ways evaluate to determine if the goals that were initially formulated have been achieved. The direction is from goals to test data as a means of checking effectiveness. In the operation of schools the reverse trend is more common. (p. 15) 'The National Council of Teachers of English (1989) \y considered current reading instruction to be locked into an out-of-date, half-a-century old technology. Basal reading systems are blamed as part of the problem of illiteracy as they dominate 90% of reading instruction in United States elementary classrooms. Unfortunately, according to the Commission on Reading, these basal textbook series 1. are often viewed as complete reading systems, leaving every little room for other kinds of reading activities ;

PAGE 33

24 2. promote the misconception that reading is learned from smaller to larger parts; 3. sequence skills, not on how children learn to read, but because of the logistics of developing a series of lessons, day after day, week after week, and year after year ; 4. isolate skills, such as phonics, and are tested as if mastery of these skills insure reading success; 5. take up so much time with workbook activities that very little reading is actually done; and 6. promote one answer and tell teachers exactly what to say and do, depriving teacher and student from developing the necessary skills of critical literacy and thinking skills. Carbo (1987) as well as the National Council of Teachers of English (1989), further stated that the basal series support their own hierarchy of skills on notions that have never been supported by research. Teale and Sulzby (1986) wrote: It might be said that reading readiness was a good concept that got applied in a bad way. There should be no quarrel with the notion that certain prior knowledge, language facility, cognitive development, and attitudinal orientations toward literacy all probably facilitate the child's learning to write and read in school-like settings. However, the reading readiness program is built upon a logical analysis of literacy skills from an adult perspective rather than upon a developmental perspective. Research and theory in recent years indicate that we cannot cling to the conception of

PAGE 34

25 literacy currently institutionalized through curricula, test publishers, and schools under the name of readiness, if we hope to provide the best possible instruction during the child's first years in school. Current research overwhelmingly indicates the need to reconceptualize reading readiness, and indeed a new developmental perspective is in evidence. Developmental perspectives recognize children's thinking as being qualitatively different from, yet growing toward, adult modes and therefore attempt to provide instruction in accordance with a child's developing knowledges. (p. xiv) Our current decade has become the setting for a new approach. For years, some classroom teachers and researchers as early as Durkin (1966) have indicated the inappropriateness of the reading readiness program that has existed for four decades. Hubbard (1988) described the type of language arts program in many schools today: Language arts texts, workbooks, and worksheets commonly seen in the primary grades today encourage all children to conform and write in much the same way, each sounding a lot like the next. Sometimes teachers ask children to write book reports based on a library book each child has read. In the primary grades, these book reports are frequently more like forms to fill out than like creative writing. The results of all this are often voiceless recitations of facts, or words, plagiarized paragraphs from whatever library book or children's encyclopedia is handy. (p. 33) Strengthening the support for a new approach includes the renewed interest in the development of young children. Also, research has been conducted in the area of cognitive learning and development within the classroom (Teale & — i Sulzby, 1986) Thus, in replacement of reading readiness.

PAGE 35

26 the stage was set for "emergent literacy" (Combs, 1987; Schickedanz et al., 1990; Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Emergent Literacy in the 1980s The researchers of the 1980s took a much closer look at young children and considered them active participants in their learning processes (Graves, 1980; Henderson, 1981; National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC] 1986; Peterson & Eeds, 1990; Willert & Kamii, 1985) Children are no longer considered passive recipients of information. Peterson and Eeds stated, "Children do learn reading by reading. Teachers and students can help, but in the end, the individual student must make the effort and do the work. Learners cannot be spectators who watch learning wash over them: they must be participants" (p. 11). Bissex (1984) suggested children carry on conversations with themselves while interacting with new information, thereby establishing structures. They act as their own teachers. Holdaway (1979) found children correcting themselves as they reread or retold familiar stories. Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984), in their work with young children and invented spelling, indicated their belief that children knew when they were right and when they were wrong. The children in their study seemed to form their own hypotheses which they would test and revise, if necessary, to come up with consistent rules to apply to their spelling. Children learn spoken

PAGE 36

27 and written forms of language by making rules and forming relationships from within while using these forms (Willert & Kamii, 1985) Not only are children now considered constructors of their own learning, but researchers confirmed strong links between language, writing, drawing, and reading in various combinations. Researchers reasoned that oral and written language proficiency might develop in parallel ways (Fields, 1988; Hall, 1987; Teale & Sulzby, 1986). Ehri and Wilce (1985) and Mason (1980) connected reading and writing by reporting that children's experience with the graphic details of letters and words supports their growing awareness of the sounds in words. Indeed, it would be difficult to author a text unless one were able to read it (Hall, 1987) Holt (1983) joined writing with drawing and called children's drawings symbols for objects, almost like hieroglyphs. Buren (1986) regarded goals for art and i reading as being similar in that both are used to communicate, both require an articulate use of symbols, and both stimulate thinking through visual symbols. Richardson (1982) stated, "Without art, without imagery, symbolism, and visual relationships, language is reduced to emptiness" (p. 10) Dyson (1988) also linked language with art by theorizing both processes provide children with the chance to "reflect upon, organize, and share experiences" (p. 26) Szekely (1990) considered picture books works of art and

PAGE 37

28 perceived picture books as a way of showing children the special relationship between artists and their picture books. Children can be led to an awareness that a book begins in the mind of an author or illustrator and concludes with individual inspirations and visions. According to Szekely, not only can picture books help develop an excitement and interest in writing, reading, and owning books, but can also motivate a lifelong interest in collecting art. McGuire (1984) reported areas of overlap in literacy activities. He discussed studies linking language and drawing, art and reading, imagery in the arts and imagery in reading, and a curriculum centered around art and reading achievement. Clay (1977), Dyson (1986), Francks (1979), and Kane (1982) connected scribbling and drawing with early attempts to write letters and words. Douglass (1978) stated. In fact, observations of fourand five-year-olds in a nursery school setting quickly confirm that many children at these ages not only draw spontaneously, they attempt to write as well. They soon can write their own name, then other things, and before long, they begin to read things other children have written. It all evolves very naturally. (p. 108) Ferreiro (1990) defined criteria young children search for al. (1990) postulated children first recognize writing as different from drawing by its linearity and its variety of letters and forms. The two decades before the 1980s while distinguishing writing from Schickedanz et provided the groundwork for the change from a reading

PAGE 38

29 readiness philosophy to a philosophy more appropriate to the development of children. Clay's (1972, 1975, 1977) pioneering research in the 1960s and 1970s stressed fluency, meaning, and "learning as one reads," instead of the traditional reading readiness programs of the times that were designed to teach specific skills in specific order, such as letter-sound associations and basic sight -word vocabulary knowledge (Teale & Sulzby, 1986) Clay noted the interrelationship among the three forms of literacy and stated her belief that language, writing, and reading develop in parallel fashion to each other. In the first edition of Reading; The Patterning of Complex Behaviour Clay (1972) expressed her thoughts on how children learn to read, which was different from the traditional theory of reading readiness. Clay stated. The transformation [to understanding the links between the oral and written language] at the early reading stage takes place only in the presence of print and when the child actively seeks to discover how oral and written language are related. ... It is the need to transform preschool skills into new ways of responding that . makes early reading behavior a matter of learning and discredits the "growth from within" concept. (pp. 5-6) As in her 1972 book, in her 1975 book. What Did I Write? Clay brought children's writing to attention by discussing the importance of writing to literacy development. Both books are about reading, but she focused on the relationships between writing and reading in early literacy

PAGE 39

30 development. She also demonstrated how much can be learned from small children. Even though research on writing has not received the attention reading has (Graves, 1980) and art has received less than reading or writing, the presumption has surfaced that to understand reading, one must understand writing, and, to understand writing, one must understand reading and drawing development. To understand the development of all forms of literacy it is reguisite to study the young, preschool child. Cryan (1984) postulated art is a natural process. Similarly, Goodman (1984), influenced by Durkin (1966), concluded that, within a literate society, learning to read is natural. She noted many concepts about reading that students are already aware of before entering school. Goodman and Goodman (1979) studied the influence of labels, signs, and logos on preschool children to determine preschool children's awareness of print within the environment. Results from the study supported the concept that the beginning roots of the reading process occur during very early childhood. As Goodman and Goodman indicated, The roots of the reading process are established very early in life. Furthermore, the results supported the notions that function precedes form in learning to read and that there is a "movement” from learning to read printed symbols in familiar situational contexts toward more reliance on language contexts. (p. 145)

PAGE 40

31 Further support of the idea of children constructing concepts about print through interaction with literacy experiences during the early years before school was found in the work of Anderson (1985) the Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee of the International Reading Association (1986b), Fisher (1991), Goodman (1990), Isom and Casteel (1986), and Weiss and Hagen (1988). Pappas and Brown (1987) considered knowledge of certain characteristics of written language necessary and Clay (1972) listed several basic concepts of print that children learning to read need to understand. 1. Children need an understanding of the orientation of a book. There is a front and back. Pages have tops and bottoms 2. Children need to understand the difference between print and pictures. Print is to be read. 3. A reader needs to know of the directionality of print on a page. Print is read from left to right across the page and lines are read from the top to the bottom. 4. A reader must know that letters within words and words within a sentence are ordered from left to right. If that order is changed, the meaning is changed. 5. A reader needs to be able to identify words as a cluster of letters surrounded by space. 6. Children need to understand the function of basic punctuation and capitalization.

PAGE 41

32 Ross and Bondy (1986) added the following as necessary information for successful reading: 7. Children need to understand that speech can be written down. 8. Children need to be familiar with a variety of types of literature. 9. Children need to know that reading is pleasurable and useful. 10. Children need a rich knowledge about the world. 11. Children should expect that what one reads will make sense. 12. Children should understand, not just what a word is, but also what a letter and sentence are. As the young child realizes that writing is different from drawing, she or he is becoming aware of writing as print that conveys a message (DeFord, 1980; Ferreiro, 1990; Schickedanz et al., 1990). Alphabet symbols are created naturally and spontaneously by young children as they go through their artistic development (Kane, 1982) Beginning with scribbling, which is essential to drawing and writing, Buren (1986) noted that, as children begin to make and understand symbols, they also recognize that people around them make letters, draw pictures, and read symbols. Kellogg (1967) studied children's scribbles and noticed that scribbling usually begins at age 2 (sometimes earlier) and normally lasts through ages 4 or 5. She proposed four

PAGE 42

33 distinct stages in their development of scribbles during that time. 1. The placement stage — 2and 3-year-old children experiment spontaneously by drawing on paper (or some other surface) 2. The shape gestalt stage — 3and 4-year-old children discover that they are occasionally creating shapes. 3. The design stage — children deliberately combine different shapes and lines into structured designs and diagrams. 4. The pictorial stage — 4and 5-year-old children will start to draw familiar objects that resemble objects that adults can recognize. Goodman (1990) distinguished three developmental ordered levels that children go through understanding the alphabetic representation of language. Level one begins by involving children with distinguishing between drawing and writing through a series of explorations, children distinguish writing from drawing by discovering writing's ordered linearity and that the set of forms is arbitrary (letters do not reproduce the form of the object) After distinguishing writing from drawing, children start to look for conditions that make print interpretable, readable, or good for saying something" (p. 17) According to Goodman, children conceptualize three letters as being enough to

PAGE 43

34 make a "word" but they must be different letters. The second level children go through understanding their written language considers criteria to represent differences in meaning. During this level, children go through a variety of experimentations searching to make sense of why words are different from each other. For example, young children might believe a long word represents an adult where a short word might represent a baby. Level two precedes knowledge of sound patterns of a word and the written representation. Level three represents the phonetization of written representations. Goodman divides this level as syllabic, syllabicalphabetic, and alphabetic. During the syllabic stage, children provide a letter for each syllable. Children with some knowledge of letters and their sounds may use the correct first consonant letter of each syllable. The second stage, syllabic-alphabetic builds on using letters for syllables by beginning to add other letters for some sounds heard within a word. The third stage (alphabetic) within Goodman's third level requires children to understand the intrinsic nature of the alphabetic system. Schickedanz et al. (1990) called this awareness of speech sounds phonemic awareness and phonemic segmentation skill. Typically, children's first writing efforts are used in conjunction with drawing and talking (Dyson, 1988) Kane (1982) agreed with Clay (1977), Dyson (1986), and

PAGE 44

35 Loban (1976) and concluded that art activities can stimulate verbal and written expression. As a child progresses in development, she or he will begin using drawing and writing in progressively appropriate and distinct ways. Roney (1984) stated that a child begins to make sense of the symbol system when she or he realizes that speech can be translated into print and vice versa. With this beginning awareness, the child's name represents one of the earliest connections between meaning and print (Beardsley & Mareck-Zeman, 1987; Clay, 1975; Goodman, 1990; Wiseman, 1984) During a time of experimenting with letters and letter forms, children produce letters, mock letters (Lamme, 1984) and invented shapes. Children often mix these letters and letter forms, first using one, then the other, then the first again (Schickedanz et al., 1990). Clay observed several principles in the development of a child's writing and understanding of the writing process 1. Children discover the recurring principle of repetition of letters and that words are produced from a repetition of those letters. 2. Children understand directionality of print. 3. Children go through the copying stage, where they copy signs and logos or other print available within their environment 4. Children learn the inventory principle, where lists of letters, words, or known phrases are made.

PAGE 45

36 5. Children experiment with the contrasts to learn such differences as "m" and "w" or "on" and "no." In an early study, Charles Read (1971) examined speech sounds and their relation to invented spellings within a child's composition. Chomsky (1971), stimulated by Read's research, initiated research in spelling by children and suggested that young children should "write first, read later" (p. 296) Templeton (1986) recommended that children be encouraged to write while they learn letter/ sound correspondences. Taylor (1983) indicated that use precedes form. Durkin (1972) and Goetz (1979) suggested that because many youngsters are attracted to reading through writing, children need to be exposed to many experiences in writing. Templeton (1986) stated that use of writing during the accumulation of knowledge is much spelling can eliminate many obstacles young writers might confront in trying to communicate through writing (Ferreiro, 1990; Graves, 1973; Hubbard, 1988; Lamme, 1984). Chomsky (1971) and Wiseman (1984) indicated that a concrete way for children to acguire written language knowledge is through invented spelling. Henderson and Beers (1980) followed Chomsky's lead and investigated sound-symbol correspondences and orthographic patterns in written language. Wiseman (1984) discovered that as children continue to learn about written language, they begin to more productive than

PAGE 46

37 insert vowels in their invented spelling. Beers (1980) identified vowel spelling strategies as vowel substitution. Children often substitute a vowel (except for long vowel sounds) for another letter. Holdaway (1979) revealed the great amount of experimentation children go through when producing messages. Graves (1973) interviewed children on what is needed to be a good writer and examined 53 writing episodes from interviews with children about their writing. The process-observational study approach that he used was an educational ethnography and has been used frequently since his research. Clay (1975) and Farr (1985) were concerned with children's ability to compose text. The research mentioned above provided the framework for the research focus of the decade of the 1980s. Bissex (1980) demonstrated what was of strong interest in the decade of the 1980s progressing into the 1990s — the process of reading and writing developing together. Due to researchers such as Ferreiro and Teberosky (1983) Springate (1983), and Sulzby (1985), there is growing evidence to substantiate the existence of the reading/writing relationship and the belief that reading^ comprehension is engaged during the reading/writing process. Williams (1990) stated, Children learn to read not only by reading, but also by writing. In many ways the division we create between reading and writing is an arbitrary and not very practical one. Research in language development has shown that growth in reading and writing is interdependent; opportunities to write increase

PAGE 47

38 ability to read, and vice versa. For this reason, writing is an important part of any reading program. (p 2 ) As a result of a great deal of research in the last decade, the following conclusions were made by Hall (1987) : 1. Reading and writing are cognitive and social abilities involving a whole range of meaninggaining strategies. 2. Most children begin to read and write long before they arrive at school. They do not wait until they are "taught." 3. Literacy emerges not in a systematic, sequential manner, but as a response to the printed language, and social environment experienced by the child. 4. Children control and manipulate their literacy learning in much the same way as they control and manipulate all other aspects of their learning about the world. 5. Literacy is a social phenomenon and as such is influenced by cultural factors. Therefore the cultural group in which children grow up will be a significant influence on the emergence of literacy. (p. 8) Researchers studying the learning environment for preschool children have described many variables which have added to children's awareness and use of literacy. These experiences and variables, delineated in the second section of this chapter, combine to produce a theory of an effective emergent literacy environment. The Home Environment and Literacy Within the last decade, researchers studying literacy development within the home environment have proliferated (Becher, 1982; Bissex, 1980, 1984; Bloom, 1982; DeFord, 1980; Henderson, 1981; Hess & Holloway, 1984; Lamme, 1984; Moon & Wells, 1979; Nelsen & Nelsen, 1991; Olmstead &

PAGE 48

39 Rubin, 1983; Potter, 1986; Shapiro & Doiron, 1987; Taylor, 1983) The crucial role parents play within that home environment has been well established (Anbar, 1986; Becher, 1982; Lamme, 1984; Olmstead & Rubin, 1983; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983) Reviewing the research has revealed specific categories of practices of children interacting with their environment and of children interacting with their parents (or other significant individuals) that promote literacy development. Probably the most frequently and consistently mentioned type of interaction is parents reading to children. For example, in reviewing the research, Trelease (1982) wrote. Frequently the child who is read to regularly can be seen toddling along with his favorite book, looking for someone to read to him. There are two important elements here. One is to keep in mind that as much as anything else, the child is looking for attention, he wants his body cuddled as much as his mind. (pp. 34-35) Reading to the Child Reading has long been known as an enjoyable interaction between child and reader (Hall, 1987; Holdaway, 1979; Lamme, 1985; Lass, 1982; Nurss & Hough, 1986; Roney, 1984; Trelease, 1982), but reading to children has also proven to be significantly related to reading achievement and positive attitudes toward reading (Becher, 1982; Briggs & Elkind, 1977; Butler, 1980; Chomsky, 1972; Clark, 1976; Cliatt & Shaw, 1988; Cohen, 1968; Durkin, 1966; Gardner, 1970; Greaney, 1986; Hall, 1987; Hess, Holloway, Price, &

PAGE 49

40 Dickson, 1982; Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee, 1986a; King & Friesen, 1972; Koeller, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lass, 1982; McCormick & Mason, 1986; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983; Teale, 1984, 1986; Trelease, 1991; Wells, 1985). Becher (1982) indicated that if parents understand the specific benefits gained from reading to their child, they will value that interaction more seriously. Silvern (1985) listed several benefits to children of parents reading to them. 1. Children increase their listening and speaking vocabularies. 2. Children increase their letter and symbol recognition abilities. 3. Children increase their length of a spoken sentence. 4. Children gain in literal and inferential comprehension skills. 5. Children increase the number and nature of concepts developed. 6. Children have an increased interest in books and reading. 7. Children view reading as a valued activity. 8. Children are introduced to a variety of language patterns 9. Children begin to learn or construct the rules which govern the reading process.

PAGE 50

41 Nurss and Hough (1986) correlated reading to children, as instruction in reading, where children can enjoy stories without being aware that they are "learning.” Teale (1984) perceived reading as a means of establishing the importance of print. Combs (1987) considered the traditional reading of stories as a way for children to become comfortable with hearing written language. Cliatt and Shaw (1988) credited story-telling or reading aloud to children with providing children with the knowledge of reading and writing as sense-making activities that are separate from the isolated skill drill of ditto and workbook sheets. Lamme (1985) extended the benefits past the early reader and credited reading to children with developing advanced skills for children who already know how to read. Cullinan, Jagar, and Strickland (1974) connected reading to success with the written word later in school. Their study included children from kindergarten through the third grade and included studies of follow-up activities of discussion, dramatics, role-playing, language experience activities, and puppetry. As the greatest gains in reading achievement were made with the kindergarten children, Cullinan, Jagar, and Strickland recommended starting reading and interacting early with children. The amount of time actually spent reading to children proves to be an important factor in literacy achievement. Results of studies generally have revealed that children

PAGE 51

42 who are read to every day (or at least four times a week) for 8 to 10 minutes at a time score higher in achievement levels and exhibit more positive attitudes toward reading (Henry, 1974; Romatowski & Trepanier, 1977) than children who are not read to on a regular basis. Parents of gifted children read to their children an average of 21 minutes a day whereas children of average intelligence are read to about 8 minutes a day (Karnes, Shwedel, & Steinberg, 1982) Children of parents who were specifically asked to read to their children for 3 to 6 months prior to kindergarten scored significantly higher on reading readiness tests than children who had not been read to (Henry, 1974; McCormick & Mason, 1986) Several authors (Butler, 1980; Durkin, 1966; Hearne, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lamme & Packer, 1986; Larrick, 1982; Resnick et al., 1987; Taylor, 1983) added the question "How soon do we read?" to "How often should we read?" The parents of the children in Taylor's study reported reading to their children "as soon as their eyes could focus" (p. 11). Lamme and Packer (1986) suggested reading to a child from birth. Not only is the amount of time spent reading to children, and how soon children are read to, shown to have a positive effect on learning to read, but the interactive processes between the parent and child during reading are also shown to be important (Silvern, 1985).

PAGE 52

Interactive Practices Between Parents and Children as Related to Reading 43 Vygotsky described the zone of proximal development as a range of social interaction between an adult and child in which the child can perform with degrees of assistance from an adult that which s/he cannot yet perform independently. Much has been made of this idea in describing parent-child interactions, including interactions with literacy. (Sulzby, 1985, p. 52) ygotsky's social interaction theory demonstrated an actively seek and use literacy (Hall, 1987) They also benefit from interacting with adults in the process of becoming literate. A few studies (Flood, 1977; Hess, Holloway, Price, & Dickson, 1982; Slaughter, 1983; Snow, 1983; Taylor, 1983; Teale, 1978) revealed that the children of parents who initiate talk with them about the books they are reading and children who talk more about the story and ask more questions during the reading process have higher reading and achievement scores and demonstrate an understanding of more reading concepts than children who do not discuss stories with their parents. \ Active participation with reading or literature activities has been recommended (Blank & Sheldon, 1971; Bower, 1976; Brown, 1975; Morrow, 1985) to enhance comprehension and oral language ability and to help children create what Shapiro and Doiron (1987) call a "sense of story" or what Jensen (1985) calls "story awareness." Jensen listed some • ‘ — 1 important process in the development of literacy. Children broad concepts children can develop about story awareness

PAGE 53

44 through interaction with parents as (a) patterns for sequencing story events and actions, (b) story language patterns, (c) dialogue or role-taking patterns, and (d) types of events and elements found in a story. Jensen further described what children might learn from interacting in reading activities as follows: Some of the story elements that might be included in young children's story construction are: setting, an initiating event, characters' first reaction or plan, attempts to reach a goal, obstacles to the goal, consequences of characters' actions, and outcome reactions, (p. 21 ) While the parents are reading to their children, they are modeling a very important literary concept — story telling. Gemake (1984) believed that, when interaction takes place, both sides of the brain are in use. She stated that the words, sentences, and paragraphs appeal to the left side of the brain, while images, pictures and emotions appeal to the right side of the brain. She determined the child's reaction becomes an integral and interesting aspect of the story. Effective practices for parents to use to interact with their children during story-time as suggested by Nurss and Hough (1986) and Silvern (1985) are as follow: 1. Children can be asked warm-up questions before beginning the story.

PAGE 54

45 2. Children can be asked a variety of types of questions, including informational, anticipatory, inferential, and evaluative, during the reading process. 3. Children can be asked questions at the end of the story. Nurss and Hough indicated that follow-up discussions about story elements and the relationships between them add to the children's knowledge of story structure and appear to influence comprehension of narrative materials. 4 General discussions should be conducted with the children about the books they read. Children's art can also involve reading and interaction between parents and children. Wiseman (1984) appended that children's art work can be a way to help literacy development. She recommended parents write a sentence dictated from the child about the child's art work. The adult then reads the sentence after writing it and the child can read it back. Taylor (1983) added to a growing list of ways parents can interact with children with the following points: 1. Stories can be related to the everyday life of children. 2. Reading (and writing) should be an active part of daily pursuits. 3. Listening to children is important. Parents should talk to their children, not at them.

PAGE 55

46 4. Agreeing with Taylor (1983) concerning story repetition, Clark (1976) and Pappas and Brown (1987) indicated that a child can become sensitized to written language and the language of a book. Clark theorized this to be more important than phonics or a basic sight vocabulary. Several authors (Martinez & Roser, 1985; Schickedanz, 1978; Yaden, 1988) credited repetitive reading with giving a child more opportunities to clarify, fill in gaps, and to make connections. They noted the range of a child's responses is increased as she or he gains control over a story through repetition. Schickedanz (1978) proposed that children go through a very important memorization process when having stories read over and over to them. They learn first by memory and then by sight as they begin to connect letter/ sound correspondence (Wiseman, 1984) Doake (cited in Wiseman, 1984) referred to the same benefits of "memory reading" but Doake also reported that children who are exposed to oral reading will have reading behaviors emerging early in their lives. An additional interaction technique parents use while reading to children is what Combs (1987) called "tracking of the print" (p. 422) Through tracking of the print (pointing to the words while reading) children receive several concepts of print. They see (a) directionality, (b) speech matched to print, and (c) that print carries the

PAGE 56

47 same message as speech (Combs, 1987). Lamme and Packer (1986) reported that, if parents do a lot of pointing while reading to their infants, by the time that infant is 1 year old, the child will start pointing to the text. Infants can begin to take control of the interaction as parents respond by naming whatever the child points to. Having children retell a story is a variation of the parent rereading a story. Morrow (1985) reported that the retelling of stories involves children actively in reconstructing literature. Hough, Nurss, and Wood (1987) recommended story-telling as practice for fluent and elaborated language. Koskinen, Gambrell, Kapinus, and Heathington (1988) equated verbal rehearsal of literature with enhancement of reading comprehension. Wiseman (1984) recommended that the parent write down the story as the child tells it and let the child illustrate the pages and make the story into a book. Interaction between parents and children during the reading process can be very beneficial to literacy development. Adults can initiate talks while reading to the child, or when the child rereads or retells the story. Reading stories repetitively and pointing to the words while reading can also be very helpful. Children benefit from interaction with adults in all areas of literacyreading, writing, and during art experiences.

PAGE 57

48 Interactive Practices Between Parents and Children During Art Experiences In reference to art experiences and very young children, parents should "provide time, space, place, and materials for children, and then allow them the dignity of 'doing their own thing'" (Francks, 1979, p. 21). Francks affirmed children need to go about their own discoveries with encouragement and without intervention, but there comes a time in a child's development when help will be needed or asked for. ^Because there is so little known about art from young children, parents and teachers are not sure how they should interact with their children (Schirrmacher 1986). Feldman (1982) indicated children should be coaxed and directed. At present, suggestions from the literature to help children with their art mainly involve the interaction process the child has before, during, or after the art process. Ross (1982) divided interacting with the child into three categories — motivating, keeping the child going, and evaluating and providing feedback. To help motivate a child, Ross indicated three things are necessary: 1. A child needs an experience that will actually stimulate him or her to express an idea in art. Wachowiak (1977) stated nothing replaces direct contact or the actual object for an intense experience. 2. A child needs to recall an event. Adults can discuss an event with the child using open-ended guestions,

PAGE 58

49 to help children recall the event. Wachowiak (1977) agreed with Ross and suggested asking how, who, what, why, where, and/or when concerning the event or experience. 3. Children need to have help in extending their visual awareness. Lowenfeld and Brittain (1982); McFee and Degge (1977); Schickedanz, York, Stewart, and White (1983); and Wachowiak (1977) also discussed "learning to see." By bringing a child's attention to specific features of the environment, that child will learn to look selectively at specific features. Wachowiak (1977) added a fourth requirement for motivating a child which Ross (1982) separated into a different category of interaction because it occurs while the child is involved with the process and not before. 4. Children need visual stimulation. Actual artifacts, pictures, posters, and/or color reproductions of art work are all good references for children to look at and help their memory. To keep a child going while working on a project, Ross (1982) suggested asking questions and presenting visuals to provide the child with necessary material to enable him or her to continue. The last type of interaction discussed by Ross (1982) regarding the art process involves evaluation and feedback. She suggested adults (a) be honest, (b) make statements that are correct according to the child's development, and

PAGE 59

50 (c) acknowledge the child's intent. The child should be given time to react to the project, and then, if appropriate, the adult can offer suggestions for the next time. Schirrmacher (1986) indicated that adult intervention during the art process is inappropriate but discussed many types of discussion and/or questions to use after a child is finished when excitement is at its highest and ideas are fresh. He suggested that an adult smile and say nothing at first when a child brings a picture to share. This provides the child the first opportunity to talk, which provides the adult with a framework of what the child wants to talk about. Schirrmacher provided a list of art elements which he indicated are appropriate for discussion with young children. These art elements are (a) color, (b) line, (c) mass or volume, (d) pattern, (e) shape or form, (f) space, and (g) texture. Until recently, most types of intervention or coaxing or directing by adults, while a child was involved with art, was considered harmful (D'Amico, 1954) However, not only do children at some time or another want and need interaction with adults, they also depend on a model from adults, siblings and peers. Parents can provide a model by drawing, writing, or reading during everyday activities. Parents can also provide a model by drawing, writing, or reading with the child as the child observes and copies what is seen. While

PAGE 60

51 parents are involved in literacy activities, they are demonstrating many important aspects of reading, writing, drawing, and language. Providing a model for children is an important and effective way of helping children emerge Children already know that most things in their lives are organized systematically, and they begin to look for and experiment with the organization of the complexities of written language. They continuously attempt to make sense of and through written language in order to comprehend or express meanings, ideas, or emotions. . As children explore their literate environment, they develop their roots of literacy. These roots include: print awareness in situational contexts; print awareness in connected discourse; functions and forms of writing; oral language about written language; and metalinguistic and metacognitive awareness about written language. (Y. M. Goodman, 1986, p. 6 ) If we believe that children are constantly interacting with their environment and that children are active participants (Goodman & Goodman, 1979; Hall, 1987), then it is easy to understand why it is important for children to see adults involved in the use of literacy skills. Studies (Clark, 1976; Durkin, 1966; Holdaway, 1979; Krippner, 1963; Morrow, 1985) have revealed that parents of early readers are readers themselves. The IRA Position Statement by the Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986a) described a positive literacy environment for early readers and writers as having parents and other family members who into literacy Modeling

PAGE 61

52 themselves engage in reading and writing activities. Manning and Manning (1984) observed parents as important models of reading behavior. To illustrate a case of peer modeling, Holt (1983) related an incident of two young girls drawing. The first time Holt watched the children, one little girl drew a tree, while the other could not. Holt described a second observation of the two children: Two or three days later, I saw the same girls, sitting at a table again with big pieces of paper before them. But this time there was the familiar tree on both pieces of paper, the roots coming in to make the trunk, the trunk going almost to the top of the page, the two forked branches, the smaller branches sticking out any way, the green leaves. I said, "Ah, I see you're drawing a tree." She gave me a pleased smile, and then, nodding toward her friend, said, "She showed me how." And then went on with her work. (p. 194) In another incident observed by Holt: She drew as she did because she likes to look at things and draw them the way she saw them. Art was her way of expressing much of what she was learning about life. It sharpened her eye as well, and gave her an idea of what next to look for. And not only her eye, but the eyes of many of her classmates. A number of them, without thinking of it this way, made themselves into a kind of school under her leadership, like the schools of the old Italian masters. They drew pictures like hers, or used her ideas and developed them in their own ways. The kind of carefully and surely observed detail that she put in her pictures began to appear in others' work as well. Children would go up — I used to hear them — and look at one of her drawings, and notice that the people had fingernails. "Look!" they would say. "They even have fingernails." It seemed a wonderful achievement. Then they would think of putting some fingernails on the people in their own pictures, and they would look with a

PAGE 62

53 new eye at their own fingernails, to see what they really looked like, how they were shaped, how big they were. Or they would begin to try to find some details that this little girl, their leader, had not yet thought to put in. (pp. 196-197) Holdaway (1979) brought attention to children imitating models when he noted how children, while reading aloud, shift the inflection of the voice to resemble that of the one who usually reads to them. Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984) noticed children wanting to engage in writing activities after they saw their parents engaged in writing. Combs (1987) observed children's increased enthusiasm over books once they had been read to them. Most children in Comb's study began tracking, as they had seen it done, while they pretended to read. Taylor (1983) observed children imitating models by writing notes to each other and to their parents, even long before they were able to write in a traditional sense. Wiseman (1984) stated the best way for a child to learn directionality is through experimentation with writing and observation of adults producing written language. Adults, while reading to children, also identify and define the reading process for children. The literate habits of the parents infuse themselves within the lives of their children. Some examples (Hall, 1987; Holt, 1983; Ross & Bondy, 1986; Shapiro & Doiron, 1987; Taylor, 1983; Tway, 1983) of modeling literacy, within the family environment include activities such as

PAGE 63

54 1 reading stories; 2. telling stories; 3. reading magazines and newspapers; 4. reading environmental print, signs, and logos; 5. Writing checks; 6. Writing postcards; 7. Following recipes; 8. Finding television shows in guides; 9. Filling out forms; 10. Writing letters; 11. Writing informational notes to family members; 12. Creating shopping lists; 13. Drawing or making art objects while children are watching; and 14. Displaying art within the home. Shapiro and Doiron (1987) indicated, "Children must see parents reading, writing, and drawing in purposeful and enjoyable situations, not just as promoters of literacy skills. Children must see models of the skills, as well as have opportunities to participate in literacy events" (p. 265). Experience with Available Material Modeling by parents or other family members, without the availability to children of the materials of literacy, would not have the impact necessary for true literacy. Children need to practice, experiment, and interact with

PAGE 64

55 different aspects of literacy. Children of literate homes — 7 are allowed to handle and read books for themselves (Shapiro & Doiron, 1987) Many authors (Bissex, 1980; Chomsky, 1971; Durkin, 1966, 1974-75; Greaney, 1986; Hess & Holloway, 1984; King & Friesen, 1972; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lass, 1982; Manning & Manning, 1984; Slaughter, 1983; Walberg & Tsai, 1984; Wiseman, 1984) have stated the importance of having a wide variety of reading and writing materials available to children. The need for available art materials has also been discussed (Holt, 1983; Ross, 1982; Schickedanz, York, Stewart, & White, 1983). One of the parents of a young child gifted in art in Holt's (1983) study, expressed a belief in providing only quality art materials for young preschool children, including easels and acrylic paints. Parents should take the time to show children how to use supplies but also expect them to do their own experimenting. Some of the other materials suggested include pens, felt-tip markers, chalk, crayons, pencils, a variety of papers, glue, scissors, chalkboards, plastic letters, books, magazines and newspapers. Children need to have easy access to these materials and should be free to interact with them. Holt (1983) recommended children have free play with materials before being expected or asked to do anything with them. Dyson (1988) indicated parents should expect repetition from children in art and writing. Even though repetition may sometime

PAGE 65

56 inhibit the child from exploring new ideas, Dyson believed it is a way for the child to experiment and grow. Trips to the library add a great wealth of books available to children and researchers have reported that parents of early readers take their children on a regular basis and sometimes use those trips as a special "reward" (Clark, 1976; Hess & Holloway, 1984; Manning & Manning, 1984; McMullan, 1984) Exposure to Environmental Print Researchers have substantiated that most children in a literate society begin the process of learning to read and write very early in their lives. Hall (1987); Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984); Isom and Casteel (1986); Manning and Manning (1984) ; and Torrey (1969) indicated that exposure to signs and logos within the environment, coupled with frequent experiences with writing and reading, significantly develop awareness of print. Teberosky (1990) stated, Commercial labels are good printed material that can be used by the youngest children for learning about the writing system. Many labels appear frequently on television, in magazines, and on products consumed in the home. In addition, labels maintain a degree of constancy in their physical appearance — the same letter type, the same form, and the same color. Their continuous presence in the environment and their graphic constancy lead children to associate the overall form of the label with its text and to recognize the brand or product being advertised, (p. 47) Schickedanz et al. (1990) credited being surrounded by environmental print with helping many 4and 5-year-olds

PAGE 66

57 identify upper case letters. Print, within our environment, is practically unavoidable. Television, according to Torrey (1969) provides 40 printed words an hour, shown and pronounced together. Even if television is not available, package labels are seen on products throughout the home and the market (Goodman, 1984; Hiebert, 1981; Lass, 1982) The Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986b) noted that, long before children enter school, not only do they see product labels and print on television but they are also exposed to print on buildings and along highways. Anbar (1986) Dyson (1984), Goodall (1984), Mason (1980), Nurss (1987), Potter (1986), and Ylisto (1967) suggested sequential steps children go through from observing environmental print to the actual reading of print. Within the environment, children initially respond to the print in context. In the beginning stages of print recognition, the printed words can only be recognized as unique patterns when embedded in natural context. Gradually, the child learns to respond to decontextualized print. Children learn to focus on the details of print, allowing them to deal with print as language by itself, without the visual cues such as color, shape, and place that the print had within the environment. Potter (1986) viewed environmental print as a model for children in their manipulating and experimenting with print:

PAGE 67

58 The world we live in abounds with print and few children can escape the abundance of words that surround them. They see traffic signs and food labels, captions on television commercials and billboards. They see people filling in forms, leaving messages and jotting down phone numbers. As they see written language used in everyday situations, they learn about its purposes and the visual features that characterize print. Several researchers have described preschoolers reading signs, labels, and well known books, writing letters and stories in varied situations, trying out print themselves. (p. 628) Weiss and Hagan (1988) supported the importance and influence of environmental print on children by connecting the continual exposure of print to the child's realization that print has many different uses within meaningful interacting, and providing the necessary materials while a child becomes involved with the environment create an Parents 1 Attitudes Expectations and Reward System Parents attitudes expectations and reactions to literacy attempts of the child affect how a child becomes literate. Potter (1986) expressed this as follows: Home can contribute to literacy development by offering storytelling, books, writing opportunities, language and literacy models and plenty of time for communication. Home provides the concrete experiences of life which challenge the child to master oral language and search actively for control of the written form; it also offers support which enables the child to meet these challenges, (p. 629) Many researchers have agreed that literacy develops within the home in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, situations. leading, providing literacy models atmosphere for literacy

PAGE 68

59 without actual teaching taking place (Anbar, 1986; Durkin, 1966; Fields, 1988; Hall, 1987; Lass, 1982; Potter, 1986; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983; Werner & Strother, 1987; Willert & Kamii, 1985; Zirkelbach, 1984). In Lass's (1982) research on her son's learning to read, she admitted she knew how to teach reading, but that at no time did she or anyone else actually instruct him. Learning took place, but it was incidental. He was read to when he was in the mood. Reading materials as well as educational television were available. Questions that he asked about literacy were answered. Taylor (1983) reported parents' frustration when trying to actually teach their children to read, write, or learn the alphabet. The children involved in Taylor's study learned to read and write early, but learning occurred when and how the child wanted. It is not uncommon for school-related activities to be resisted by children if they are not personal and meaningful to the child (Rasinski, 1988; Taylor, 1983). Anbar (1986) called parents' help of early readers spontaneous, intuitive, and unplanned. Not only did the parents in Anbar 's study spend a great deal of time with their children in reading-related activities, but they also enjoyed the interactions, exhibited patience, and showed much enthusiasm. Although these children were not pushed or pressured to learn any reading skills, they were stimulated to do so. Parents took care to pick

PAGE 69

60 developmentally appropriate materials for their children and worked with their child only when the child showed an interest (Holt, 1983) Moon and Wells (1979) related reading achievement with the quality of parental verbal interaction. The Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986b) postulated that a positive home environment includes responsive parents who answer questions about literacy events including language, books, reading, and writing. These responsive parents encourage the child's literacy activities which take place both independently and through r" interaction with an adult. Lass (1982) indicated that virtually all homes of early readers have an interested available adult or an older sibling to answer questions about literacy events and, more generally, about anything in the child's world. Hubbard (1988), in discussing ways to help children with their language and writing, encouraged frequent opportunities for them to draw, write, do, and discuss things they find interesting. Unfortunately, attitudes can also adversely affect an activity. One reason children's art work begins to disappear might very well be the attitudes of parents and teachers. Holt (1983) related a general attitude of teachers and parents concerning child art: The children began to feel, after a while, that there was no time for art, that it was not serious — and 6-year-olds in school are very serious. They are also very sensitive to what

PAGE 70

61 adults value. They show a parent or teacher a picture, and the adult says, in a perfunctory voice, "How nice, dear." Then they take home some idiot workbook, whose blanks they have dutifully filled in, and their parents show real joy and excitement. Soon the pictures get shoved aside by the workbooks, even though there is more real learning in a good picture than in twenty workbooks, (p. 197) Fassler (1987) supported Holt's conviction about adult attitude affecting children and their art. Fassler, while studying children's drawings from China and the Soviet Union, noticed a superiority in the drawings and handwriting of Chinese children. Those skills are stressed in Chinese schools from an early age. Gotfried (1984), Greaney (1986), and Taylor (1983) found that parents provided a more stimulating and interactive environment with first-born children than with subseguent children. The older siblings in Taylor's study influenced and helped shape experiences of the younger children. The younger children grew up surrounded by children already in school and doing school-related activities. The younger children were exposed to reading, writing, and drawing in ways never provided the oldest child in a household. Holt (1983) described the closeness in ages of siblings as more conducive to learning than the distance between an adult and child. He believed that children might believe they can never be as good as an adult, so there is no use in even trying. Children who are a little older provide examples that are much closer to a

PAGE 71

62 young child's reach, are seemingly obtainable, and are worth reaching for. Older children understand the language of the young child and can speak in terms the young child understands. Parents sometimes forget what or how a child learns. Holt continued by explaining how quality examples are an occasional excellent inspiration, but on a day-byday basis, examples that are close to the level of the child are best. Regardless of the help or the examples around them, children still learn best when they want to learn or when they learn through the literacy events of everyday living. Marjoribanks (1979) attributed a child's success in reading to the level of academic guidance available to the child, the nature of work habits within the home, the amount of independence that is encouraged, and the emphasis that is placed on academic achievement, intellectual activities, and self-discovery. It has been found (Hess et al., 1982) that children from homes where there is considerable emphasis on performance, do better on letter recognition tasks than children who are not encouraged by their parents to succeed. Anbar (1986) encouraged parents to facilitate their children's literacy skills as long as the distinction is made between "pushing" and "encouraging. Silvern (1985) made a distinction between pushing and encouraging. Silvern proposed that children who are

PAGE 72

63 expected to learn to read and are rewarded for that achievement with praise and reading-related activities have higher achievement scores and more positive attitudes toward reading. Reading-related activities include taking trips to the library, buying a new book, or a having special story time. In contrast children who receive excessive pressure or are punished for not reading well, have lower achievement scores and less positive attitudes toward reading. Elkind (1981) issued a warning to parents and teachers about pushing children too hard. He stated that a large percentage of children seen by psychologists today are children that are pushed too much to succeed. Children's individuality needs to be respected and they should never be made to feel like losers if they cannot live up to the expectations of adults. Children need direction, but it is the abuse of "hurrying" that harms children (Elkind, 1981) Werner and Strother (1987) suggested several practices that parents can apply to reinforce a positive encouraging environment rather than a negative defeating one: 1. Parents should encourage rather than praise a child. The child should not feel his or her worth depends on performance. Encouragement focuses on the specific task and should be used with small steps of progress. 2. Respect should be shown to the child. Each child is different and should be recognized as such.

PAGE 73

64 3. Criticism should be eliminated and mistakes minimized. 4. Children's development should be well-rounded and one area, such as reading, should not be so well attended to that other areas of the child's development, such as socialization, are ignored. Summary Elkind (1981) asserted that schools represent the past instead of the future. He stated that part of the reason children do poorly in school is because there is no connection between what is happening to the child at school and what really happens in life. It has been reported that early literacy development begins long before a child enters school and involves far more than the sound/ symbol association and letter recognition which are prevalent in many classrooms today. For optimal learning, children should be involved in many personal, meaningful, and functional language experiences while interacting with people and things around them. Children do not have to be forced to learn. They are personally motivated because they want to and need to make sense of their world. Motivation, already within the child, needs meaningful context in order to continue and for the inner desire to make sense of what is happening. Dyson (1988) concluded, "Children come up with their own puzzle parts, their own problems to solve. The solutions

PAGE 74

65 to those problems are reflected in their pictures and their texts" (p. 25) A review of the research on literacy development has revealed the importance of specific elements within a young child's environment that promote drawing, writing, and reading. These elements include (a) reading to children; (b) parent/child interaction; (c) parental and environmental models to learn from; (d) experience with materials; and (e) positive attitudes, expectations, and reward systems of parents. These findings have been gathered from studies that were designed using a variety of methodologies. Some areas of literacy have been studied in depth, and some methodologies have been used extensively. Other areas of literacy have received considerably less attention, and some methodologies have almost been neglected. It was the intent of this researcher to explore the areas most neglected — children's perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and/or read, and how those elements of literacy developed from many of the same influences. This researcher concurs with Dyson's (1986) statement: We have to look for its (the essence of literacy) beginnings in all the kinds of making that children do. In this way, we will begin to understand, appreciate and allow time for the often messy, noisy, and colorful process of becoming literate. (pp. 407-408)

PAGE 75

CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction Qualitative research methods were used in this study. This chapter contains a discussion of the methods utilized for data collection and analysis. The chapter begins with a statement of the problem and the research perspective. A discussion of the selection of the classroom and subjects, as well as data-collection methods follows. The final section contains a description of how the data were analyzed. The objective of this study was to provide a description of the variables and elements within the home environments of early learners which influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The study was designed to add information to the existing knowledge of how young children learn and to add important and neglected dimensions to that knowledge — the children's perceptions of how they learned, and how the three elements of literacy, drawing, writing and reading develop from many of the same influences. The children studied were termed "early learners." The researcher chose ethnographic interview methods (Spradley, 1979) using a retrospective 66

PAGE 76

67 viewpoint (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) to learn about literacy acquisition from the subjects' perspective. Spradley refered to an informant's perspective as "getting into their heads," and a must to find out what people know. Instead of collecting data from people, Spradley indicated the ethnographer seeks to learn from, and be taught by, them. The researcher concurred that the conclusions of the ethnographer depend on the insight provided by the subject. Malinowski (cited in Spradley, 1979) stated that the goal of ethnography is to grasp the viewpoint of the subject with respect to "his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world" (p. 3) Research Perspective The guiding questions of this study emphasized the process each child went through to learn to draw, write, and/or read. A methodology was needed that emphasized not the product but the process each child used to obtain that product. Bogdan and Biklen (1982) described qualitative research as "rich in description of people, places, and conversations, and not easily handled by statistical procedures" (p. 2) Bogdan and Biklen were concerned as well with "understanding behavior from the subject's own frame of reference" (p. 2) Bogdan and Biklen (1982) defined qualitative research as having five distinct features. Different types of

PAGE 77

68 qualitative research have varying amounts of each feature. These five features are: 1. The researcher is the main instrument and the child, parents, and siblings are the direct source of information. This researcher interviewed children while they actually were drawing, writing, or reading. An openended questioning technique was used to uncover their perceptions of how they learned to draw, write, and/or read. Parents and siblings were interviewed for data to develop additional insight into the nature of the learning environment and processes that support early learners. 2. Descriptive data were collected. The data collected in this study were in the form of transcribed interviews, accompanied by some photographs. Quotations from the subjects were used to substantiate and illustrate the generalizations that emerged from the data. Researcher observations during the interview process were also included as data. Spradley (1979) described a good ethnographic translation as showing, where a poor one only tells. 3. Qualitative research focuses on process rather than the product. The objective of this study was to discover what in particular occurred within the subjects' lives that influenced their present abilities to draw, write, or read.

PAGE 78

69 4. Data were analyzed inductively. From the responses of early learners, parents, and siblings to interview questions, categories and subcategories were formed. The author formulated an appropriate learning environment for children based on the information obtained during and after the interview. 5. Qualitative researchers are concerned with the perspectives of the subjects. To insure accuracy in reporting responses, this researcher tape-recorded all interviews and then compiled verbatim transcriptions. A retrospective interview approach within the qualitative/ethnography methodology was selected in order to increase available data and to help fill a gap in the current research. A retrospective viewpoint is probably the most practical means for studying the development of a few subjects gifted in particular areas (Anbar, 1986) Seeking out subjects who have already, at a specified age, attained skill in drawing, writing, or reading was deemed necessary for this study. It is almost impossible to predict at birth children who will become talented and time does not allow for the interviewing of hundreds of children who show interest and might become talented, just to find a few who actually do several years from now (Bloom, 1985) Both Bloom and Anbar have used the retrospective-interview approach to conduct their studies with talented children. Bloom's subjects were 130 young, highly-talented adults

PAGE 79

70 reflecting on childhood influences and experiences. Bloom also interviewed their parents and major teachers. Anbar interviewed the parents of six subjects who ranged in age from 2 years, 9 months to 4 years, 10 months. Anbar located the youngest readers available so that early events would more likely be recalled by their parents. During 1987, a pilot study was completed by this researcher to investigate the feasibility of conducting this study. A total of 21 children and 4 mothers were interviewed. The same retrospective interview approach, as discussed for this research, was used at that time. Interview transcriptions resulted in 111 pages of protocols. The data collected may be interpreted to suggest that there were particular variables influencing these children's literacy development while interacting with their peers, siblings, and parents. Events for learning, mentioned by both mothers and early learners, included repetitive interaction in the three areas of drawing, writing, and/or reading; copying from parents, siblings, or occasionally their surroundings; a whole language approach; free access to materials and supplies; and help, encouragement, and support from someone they cared about in a fun or play atmosphere. The biggest problem experienced during this pilot study was getting children to answer, in detail, what was asked of them. When asked how they learned a particular skill, the

PAGE 80

71 overwhelming answer, even after asking the same child several times, was, "Mama teached me." Even though the children initially had problems responding in detail, with restructuring of the questions and continual prodding, most of the children finally revealed the particular events that helped them acquire literacy. The retrospective-interview approach, established during the 1987 pilot study by this researcher, was guided by the qualitative interview methods outlined by Spradley (1979) and were employed to reveal the multiple components of the home environments conducive to the development of early competence in drawing, writing, and reading during this research. A detailed description of the interview setting, the subjects, and the conversation as well as photographs of the interview setting and tape-recordings, were collected. Although there were specific questions that functioned as an interview guide, every effort was made to facilitate an open-ended discussion which aided in the discovery of the learning environment these children experienced before entering school. School Selection The school where the study took place was chosen because of easy access. The researcher was a kindergarten teacher in this particular school in Central Florida. At the time of the study, 90% of the children within this small rural school participated in a free lunch program.

PAGE 81

There were 24 classrooms which included kindergarten through fifth grade. Classrooms had between 23 and 33 students in each. Subject Selection As a sizeable number of children would be required for a clear picture of an early learner's home environment, and as there were only two or three who were identified as early learners in each of the five kindergarten classrooms, kindergartners, first graders, and some second graders were included in this research. In the data pool of early learners, there was one set of twins. The remaining 18 early learners had no siblings in the data pool. This study comprised 20 students. Approximately two-thirds of the early learners were currently in kindergarten, and onethird came from first and second grade. Kindergartners that met the criteria were selected first. First graders were then selected, and, to fill the sample, second graders were used. Students were chosen by their kindergarten classroom teachers on the basis of exhibiting exceptional skills in drawing, writing, and/or reading upon entering kindergarten. Performance on the Dial test or Brigance test was also analyzed. Exceptional skills might be exhibited in each of the three areas examined, but exceptional skill in one area qualified the child as an early learner. Upon entering kindergarten, early learners

PAGE 82

73 in reading were able to read at least 10 words. Early learners in writing were writing letters and words. Whenever possible, early learners in reading and writing were selected who demonstrated higher skills by using phonetic spelling, writing sentences, or stories and/or reading simple text. Early learners in drawing were using techniques common to children at least 2 years older (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982) incorporating the spatial concept of a baseline and using repetitive schemas to represent their environment in a descriptive way. Whenever possible, children were selected who demonstrated higher levels of skills and used elements of proportion and perspective, such as overlapping, the use of size relationships to show distance, and the correct use of horizon line and profiles. At least five of the most advanced learners from each of the three areas of literacy investigated in this study were interviewed. To complete the sample, an additional five early learners were selected from the three areas of drawing, writing and reading, within the minimum guidelines. Children who showed the highest achievement were selected for interviewing first. Included in the study were 11 white males, 4 white females, 3 black males, 1 black female, and 1 Oriental female. Ten mothers, two fathers, and five older siblings of children who were identified as early learners were also interviewed about their perceptions of how their children

PAGE 83

74 or siblings acquired literacy. The data from these two additional sources were triangulated with the data from the early learners. Together they provided insight into the nature of the learning environment and processes that supported the early learners. Families were chosen for intensive study based on their willingness, availability, and responses of the early learners. Six early learners who were the most verbal and were able to recall specific events that aided in their literacy development had their families included in the study. Four families of children who were low responders were also interviewed. Nine white families and one black family were interviewed. Family interviews were conducted in the home setting and visual elements of that literacy environment were noted and photographed. Literacy elements included such things as children's books; adult books; paper and writing or drawing instruments; area for child to draw, write, and/or read; child's pictures on display and/or any art work on display. Interviews were taped and transcribed into protocols. Interviews with parents and siblings, as observers and participants, were used to triangulate the data, elaborate, add to, and substantiate the data received from the early learners.

PAGE 84

75 The Setting Entry to the Site In the school that served as the research setting, there were five kindergarten classrooms and four first grade classrooms. At this school, children attending kindergarten for the first time were divided equally by sex and race. There was no predetermination of the child's academic status. Access to the research setting was easily obtained as the researcher served as a kindergarten teacher and had taught kindergarten or art for 15 years within this setting. The principal and other teachers were extremely cooperative. The county in which the school is located required no formal approval for conducting research. The teachers involved and principal were given the guidelines for determining an early learner, as well as a statement of the purpose of this study. Copies of the results of the study were shared with the faculty at the school where the research was conducted. A description of the proposed study was submitted to the University of Florida's Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. In 1987, the project was approved and was revised for extension twice since that time. Letters of consent, signed by the parent of each child participating in the study were obtained.

PAGE 85

76 The researcher met with the teachers who were involved in the study to arrange an interview schedule that did not interfere with any of the children's academic instructional time. Depending on the child, interviews lasted from 40 to 60 minutes. The conducting of interviews began during May of 1990. Description of the Site — Classroom This study was conducted in a public elementary school in a central Florida city with a population of approximately 650. This school served an area of approximately 135 square miles and incorporated children from several other small towns. The area is basically rural, whose residents are characterized as mostly lower to low-middle socioeconomic class. Homes in this area range from slum dwellings to large horse farms. The student population of this school was 585, of whom 65% were black and 35% were white. There were two day care centers in the area serving a very small number of children. It was noted by the researcher that most of the children in this area had strong family bonds. Many older children were directly responsible for the care of younger siblings, and most had several family members who lived either next door or within walking distance. Most of the children in this area have no formal instruction before reaching public kindergarten. The room used by the researcher was a small auxiliary room used by teacher aids to grade papers. It was quiet,

PAGE 86

77 with little to no disturbances. There was one large table in the center of the room, with various supplies used by teachers and aids on bookshelves and cabinets around the table. There was a telephone in the room for adult use. As the children walked into the room, they saw on the table two new boxes of crayons, pencils, two sheets of 12x18 white construction paper, and a tape-recorder. The researcher had a yellow legal pad and pencil to take notes. Research Methods and Procedures Overview The research method used in this study was a qualitative investigation of the variables and elements within the home environment which influenced drawing, writing, and/or reading of early learners. The product of the research was a description and analysis of specific events that, combined, contributed to an effective environment for emerging literacy. The research method chosen for this study was the ethnographic interview (Spradley, 1979) with a retrospective approach (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985). Ethnographic interviewing, taperecording, note-taking, and photographing were used to gather data. Analysis was an ongoing process as the data were accumulated during the study. The following sections provide an explanation of the methods used for data collection and analysis, the difficulties and limitations of the study, and methodological issues.

PAGE 87

78 Data Collection A combination of the retrospective-interview technique (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) and Spradley's (1979) ethnographic interview research model were used in this study. The retrospective-interview approach was used by both Bloom and Anbar. These researchers were studying already very talented, young individuals in an effort to discover the developmental and educational processes that enabled them to reach those high levels of competence. This study also involved very talented, young individuals of a specific age and the experiences that occurred within their short lifetimes that helped them attain their levels of competence. Because it was impractical, for the purpose of this study, to interview hundreds of children and wait several years to see who developed talent in drawing, writing, and/or reading, interviewing children already identified as talented appeared to be the best method for obtaining data. Anbar and Bloom provided a good rationale for interviewing in retrospect, but offered no real guidance or assistance in developing the whole study. Spradley's model was also used because of the guidelines he offered for interviewing with respect to locating informants, interviewing informants, collecting, recording and analyzing the data, formulating conclusions, and writing up the results. A description of the use of informal and formal interviews used follows.

PAGE 88

79 Informal and Formal Interviewing In this study, informal and formal interviews were conducted and recorded. Interviews were conducted in a small, isolated room with two children at a time. Parents and siblings were interviewed in their homes one at a time. The time of the interview was planned in advance with the children's teacher or with the parent. Preplanned questions were used to guide the interview but the order was changed according to the responses of the early learner /parent/ sibling and the various techniques they discussed or exhibited, while drawing, writing, or reading. These guiding questions were used to encourage and stimulate discussions on various kinds of experiences that helped developed literacy. Early learners were asked: 1. Did your parents (or other significant individuals) ever draw for you? What types of things did they draw and how did they do it? 2. Did your parents (or other significant individuals) ever read to you, and what specifically did they do during that time? 3. Did your parents (or other significant individuals) ever write to you or for you and when? 4. Did you see people around you draw, write, or read? When? As picture composing progressed, further points were covered.

PAGE 89

80 1. Children were questioned as to how they learned to draw specific advanced elements of their drawing. Among others, such elements included perspective techniques, correct use of horizon line, base line, body detail or positions, and details of texture or color. 2. Provided the children wrote, during the interview they were questioned as to how they learned specific elements of writing, such as mock letters, alphabet letters, and words. 3. During the interview, children were questioned as to how they believed they learned to read letters and/or words they had written or seen. Following the interview questions addressed to the early learners, parents and siblings were asked: 1. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever draw for your child? What types of things did you draw, and how did you do it? 2. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever read to your child, and what specifically did you do during that time? 3. Did you (or other significant individuals) ever write to your child or for your child and when? 4. Did any person around your child draw, write, or read? When? If the child was advanced in drawing, parents and siblings were asked:

PAGE 90

81 1. How do you believe your child learned specific elements of their writing, such as mock letters, alphabet letters and words If the child was advanced in reading, parents and siblings were asked: 1. How do you believe the child learned to read letters and/or words they wrote or saw. After asking the parents and siblings the same basic questions that were asked the early learners, any discrepancies were noted during the parent interview, and more questions asked to clarify that discrepancy. Questions were open-ended so as to get the informant's true perspective in his or her own words, rather than just a rewording of what the interviewer said or a "yes-no" response. These open-ended questions were conversational in nature and also aided in formulating additional questions. All interviews were tape-recorded to insure accurate detail of conversations. The accuracy of interview data were judged by comparing what the children said to what the parents and siblings said, and compared to what had been documented in other studies reported in the literature. A pilot study completed by this researcher was also used for comparison. Evidence contrary to established patterns was examined and explanations sought and reported.

PAGE 91

82 Analysis of the Data The data collected through interviews focused on how children learned to draw, write, and/or read before they came to school. All interviews were tape-recorded and then transcribed into protocols for analysis. Notes taken by the researcher during the interview were placed in the margins by the appropriate conversation. Known data pertaining to the child was placed at the top of the protocols and included information such as sex, race, IQ if known, socioeconomic status, whether the child had been to preschool, who was primarily in charge of his or her care, and notes on general academic achievement. All protocols were typed from the recordings the same day the interview took place to insure a clear memory in the translation. The data analysis was an ongoing process of questioning, recording, reading, rereading, analyzing protocols, and searching for patterns. The Spradley (1979) Developmental Research Sequence Method (DRS) was selected to guide the data collection and analysis for this study. Spradley' s DRS model is an ethnographic interview research model which is cyclic in nature and involves continual analysis and possible revision of guiding questions during the interviewing process to lead to a more focused research as the study evolves. The four phases of Spradley' s model include the following:

PAGE 92

83 1. Domain analysis: Spradley considered domains to be the "first and most important type of analysis in ethnographic research" (p. 100) Categories of types of, or kinds of experiences, or kinds of ways to do things, or elements within environments were searched for through the protocols. Domain analysis uncovered as many categories of an early learning environment as could be deduced from the interviews. An analysis of the guiding guestions was made during the early interviewing process and the questions revised in order to fill in any possible gaps or delete some areas of discussion. 2. Taxonomic analysis: The next step of Spradley' s DRS model involved looking for the relationship between the domains. Subcategories or the internal structures within main categories (domains) were formulated at this time. Additional interviews were added to verify the taxonomic relationships or to reveal new categories. 3. Componential analysis: The third level of analysis involved searching through the already established domains, determining likenesses and differences, separating or grouping them together, and determining their meaning for each situation. This information needed to be verified and any missing gaps filled in. Because the parents and siblings were interviewed last in this study, they served as the informants during this phase of analysis, as well as being part of the domain and taxonomic analyses. The end

PAGE 93

84 result of these three types of analysis (domain, taxonomic, and componential) is provided in outline form in the summary of Chapter 4 4. Theme analysis: Up to this point in the analysis process specific domains had been studied in depth. The domains of drawing, writing, and reading were reviewed. The purpose of this final analysis was to find an explanation of the early learning environment leading to literacy in all three areas. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) provided a theoretical framework for this research which is discussed in depth in Chapter 4 The DRS model guiding the data analysis in this study provided the researcher an organized and systematic guide to follow. The data were analyzed to identify elements of an early learning environment conducive to drawing, writing, and reading. Even with the best, or most explicit guide for a study, there are certain methodological issues that may affect the process. These are discussed under the following headings: (a) researcher qualifications and bias, (b) problems using children as informants, and (c) the reliability and validity of findings. Methodological Issues Researcher qualifications and biases The relevant qualifications of this researcher are as follows:

PAGE 94

85 1. The researcher was an elementary school art teacher in rural areas for 11 years, in kindergarten through fifth grade, and spent 1 year as art and music teacher in a rural middle school consisting of grades five through seven. 2. At the time of the study, the researcher was in her ninth year of teaching kindergarten in the same rural area. 3. The researcher taught one summer session of the Headstart program. 4 The researcher served as a consultant for the University of Florida and taught two terms of art methods courses for elementary education majors and one term of crafts for occupational therapists. 5. The researcher presented numerous workshops describing art as the base for whole language environments at both art and early childhood conferences on district, state, and regional levels. 6. The researcher earned a Master of Arts degree majoring in early childhood education and a Specialist in Education degree majoring in art education. 7. Course work and examinations had been successfully completed for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on early childhood and a minor in art education.

PAGE 95

86 8. The researcher successfully completed the qualitative research method courses required by the University of Florida College of Education for completion of the Ph.D. requirements. 9. A pilot study was completed, using qualitative methods exploring this research problem. In addition to the qualifications of the researcher, biases were identified. Biases of the researcher could have influenced the collection and analysis of the data and affected the interpretation of the results. By presenting these biases, the researcher acknowledged their presence and alerted the reader to such biases, beliefs, and feelings as may affect the evaluation of the results of the study. In order to deal with the relevant biases of the researcher, the following list is offered to the reader: 1. This researcher believed that most early learners have been reared primarily at home, as opposed to primarily in a day-care settings. Because of great distances to any of the available day-care centers or preschools, children within the area of this study were rarely able to attend. There was possibly no correlation between homecare and early learning, but this researcher believed there was. 2 This researcher perceived education in drawing to be severely neglected by parents and teachers. 3 This researcher strongly supported the whole language approach within the classroom and at home.

PAGE 96

87 Problems of using children as informants As the success of any study depends on the researcher's ability to gain a true picture from the informants, it is essential for the researcher and informant to derive the same meaning from a statement. The researcher must possess the necessary skills for making sense of and correctly interpreting the responses of others. During the first few interviews during the pilot study, this researcher experienced some difficulty in having children understand exactly what was asked of them and saw their frustration at their inability to make themselves understood. Recognizing, understanding, and dealing with this problem was essential. Hatch (1988) identified four problems in using children as informants. The adult-child problem Hatch (1990) identified this as the most apparent problem. When the researcher is an adult and the informants are children, both enter into an interaction, knowing well-established norms for the social roles expected of themselves and of the other. For the adult, establishing rapport as someone trying to find out what the child really knows about a subject is a major step in a researcher-informant relationship. The usual and expected role of adults is guiding, directing, and tutoring, where children usually receive that which the adult has to offer. It is the researcher's responsibility

PAGE 97

88 to provide an atmosphere in which the child feels a more equal role relationship is in existence. Right answer problem Children try to respond with what they believe the adult wants to hear, believing the adult already has the answer. Instead of revealing their own perceptions, children play a guessing game, trying to determine the adult's answer. If they give an answer that has received a favorable reaction, they try to use it over and over again. Since the very core of a researcherinformant relationship depends on the informant's possessing special knowledge that is to be discovered, it is essential that the researcher is aware of this problem and only settles for the informant's own views. Preoperational thought problem Based on Piaget's research, Hatch (1990) described children from the age of 2 to about 7 as being at a level of cognitive development known as preoperational. Because of the characteristics of this age, children may not respond in the way an adult would be expected to respond to the identical question. Hatch listed these characteristics as (a) "Egocentrism (the inability to take another's point of view), (b) complexive thinking (the stringing together of ideas that have no unifying concept) and (c) centering (the inability to consider more than one aspect of a situation at one time) (p. 257).

PAGE 98

89 Self-as-social-obiect problem This problem is related to egocentrism in that subjects are unable to think of themselves as they are able to think of or understand people or objects other than themselves. The importance of this problem is that when children are asked to remember events that happened in the past concerning their learning environment and to analyze their own actions, or attitudes, they may not be able to respond as easily as desired. During the pilot study, a very typical response was, "She teached me." In some cases, a child could not get beyond that response, would become indignant if the researcher continued the pursuit for the specific event, and would respond with, "I SAID, SHE TEACHED ME!" This problem needed to be overcome. The researcher pursued the questions from different directions until the child understood and was able to respond. Most children were able to eventually respond to specific events. Hatch (1990) offered strategies for improving interviews with young children. He made the following suggestions: (1) Take time to establish personal relationships with students; (2) emphasize informal rather than formal interviewing as studies are designed and implemented; (3) ask questions children can answer, expect them to answer, and accept their answers; (4) provide concrete or semi-abstract symbols to elicit explanations of classroom social phenomena. (p. 260) As it was essential to gain a true picture from informants, this researcher dealt with the problems and

PAGE 99

90 solutions described by Hatch (1990) and Westby (1990) in the following ways: 1. Early learners involved in this study had all seen and known the researcher for at least 8 months. Personal and friendly relationships were established before each child was interviewed. From the beginning, the children knew they had done something VERY right and the researcher wanted them to share how they learned so others could be taught 2. Interviews were informal, held in familiar surroundings, and a positive atmosphere was maintained. 3. Because a pilot study had been conducted, questions had been eliminated or revised to facilitate children's responding. Questions were simple in form, referring to one idea or incident. All questions were pursued from different directions until the child understood and was able to respond. Answers were expected, and children were reminded that they were informants. 4. Children were drawing, writing, or reading during the interview and questions referred to that paper as often as possible. Reliability and Validity Reliability and validity are central issues for qualitative research. Reliability refers to the extent to which a study can be replicated. Validity depends on the

PAGE 100

91 extent to which the findings of the study represent reality. Reliability, or replication, would depend on duplicating exactly the informants, setting, and interview techniques. This could be accomplished by obtaining a thorough description of the informants, setting, and interview. Care was taken in this study to provide as much information on each child as possible. Interviews were tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim so that the reader may observe the style of the researcher while interviewing. Measuring to insure validity of the early learning environment that is depicted is as follows: 1. The number of early learners was 20. 2. The number of parents and older siblings included in the data was from 10 families. 3. By using interview data from early learners/ parents/ siblings, and drawing on the existing research, the researcher was able to triangulate data, discover discrepancies, or confirm particular positive elements within the learning environment. As these data sources substantiated one another, this researcher believed validity was confirmed. 4. A relaxed atmosphere was maintained. The researcher was known to the informants and a getting acquainted period was not necessary. Early learners involved were either in the researcher's classroom, had

PAGE 101

92 been in her classroom, or saw and talked to her several times daily. Conclusion It was the goal of this researcher to provide a new dimension to the published research that has examined environment in relation to the development of children's drawing, writing, and reading ability. This researcher examined early learners' own perceptions of their development and attempted to provide both parents and educators with information that will be useful at home and in developing school curriculum suitable for a variety of children. As emergent literacy research provided the foundation for whole language instruction in the classroom (Hall, 1987), findings have direct application for teachers. With the information provided, specifically new data in the areas of drawing development, being the same or similar to writing and reading, and children's perceptions of literacy development, a foundation has been established for future questions, research, and curriculum development.

PAGE 102

CHAPTER 4 METHODS EMPLOYED BY EARLY LEARNERS AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS AS DESCRIBED BY THOSE EARLY LEARNERS, THEIR PARENTS, AND THEIR SIBLINGS Introduction The goal of this study was to provide a description of elements that existed within the home environment of early learners that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. As previously discussed, the researcher used a retrospective-interview technique (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) combined with Spradley's (1979) ethnographic interview research model. The interviews focused on 20 early learners within one particular school environment. As an integral part of the study, and for validation by triangulation, parents and siblings of 10 of the subjects were also interviewed. The data collected were categorized into commonalities, consisting of similar perceptions of events which occurred across children, parents, and siblings. Researcher observations during the interview process were also included as data. Domains included in this analysis were divided among the three areas of literacy studied — drawing, writing, and reading. The major domains or commonalities unveiled included (a) kinds of time provided, 93

PAGE 103

94 (b) availability of materials and resources, (c) observations of the environment, (d) influence of modeling, (e) kinds of social transactions during reading, (f) initiation of interaction by early learners, and (g) types of encouragement systems. The formulated domains contained specific information about elements within the home environment of early learners. Internal structures within these domains were analyzed and, at this time, taxonomies or relationships across domains were studied. This form of analysis was necessary in order to compare and contrast early learners' perceptions with those of their parents and siblings, thus triangulating across all data. Despite vast theoretical support for the importance of specific home elements in early learning, few researchers have reported children's perceptions of those home elements. In the current study, the researcher has documented and provided valid data about this important environment. Of the 20 children interviewed, only 3 of these subjects were unable to verbalize with any depth. These 3 children answered most questions with two or three words. The other 17 subjects appeared eager to share their literacy development with this researcher and could provide details from a retrospective viewpoint. As the elements and variables are described in the following pages, verbatim responses and examples from the taxonomies are included. Additionally, data about how many

PAGE 104

95 and the context in which the early learners, parents, or siblings mentioned that particular element has been included. It should be noted that the fact that a subject did not mention an element should not be inferred to mean it did not occur. That particular element was simply not mentioned. The number of instances where a subject stated that something specifically did not occur has also been reported. The protocols included in this document were selected to represent and clarify the domains and taxonomies. As in any ethnographic study, many more protocols were perceived and provided by the children, parents, and siblings. The examples included, therefore, do not completely define the entirety of the early learners' home environment. The first part of this chapter contains a description of the elements in the home environment that influenced literacy development for the early learners in respect to drawing, writing, and reading. In addition, a theoretical framework termed "cognitive apprenticeship" (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) has been provided as an explanation for the home environment described. Triangulation has been provided through examples of parents, siblings, and early learners' recollections of the same variables or elements with regard to literacy development. A summary has been provided at the conclusion of this chapter.

PAGE 105

96 Time Provided Reading has long been known as an enjoyable interaction between child and reader (Hall, 1987; Lamme, 1985; Nurss & Hough, 1986; Trelease, 1986) Additionally, the amount of time actually spent reading to children is an important factor in literacy development (Karnes, Shwedel, & Steinberg, 1982; McCormick & Mason, 1986). Another important factor is the age at which a child begins reading aloud (Butler, 1980; Hearne, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lamme & Packer, 1986; Larrick, 1982; Resnick et al., 1987; Taylor, 1983). Lass (1982) found that, in early readers' homes, an interested available adult or an older sibling was available to answer questions about literacy events and, more generally, about anything in the child's world. Hubbard (1988) who discussed ways to help children with language and writing, encouraged frequent opportunities for them to draw, write, do, and discuss things they found interesting. All of the families interviewed in this study reported that time was freely given to the early learners. If a parent was not available, a sibling or other caring person was readily accessible. Time was spent with the children in this study in several different ways: 1. Home-care before school 2. Being read to on a regular basis from an early age 3. Time provided other than story time: Time in which parents and siblings colored, drew, wrote, answered

PAGE 106

97 questions, talked, told stories, played games, involved with work, and took to library and other interesting places. Of the 20 subjects, 11 mentioned being read to from a very young age (what several referred to as from the time they were "little") ; 19 children remembered being read to on a regular basis. When Charles was asked "Did someone at your house read to you," and "How often did they read," his response was: My mom, my dad, and my cousin, and my grandma, and my grandpa, and my uncle. I got a lot of people that live next to me. Everybody I know. . Every night when I was just a little kid, when I couldn't go to sleep, and then they started reading me stories. Of the 12 parents interviewed, 8 remembered reading to their children since they were babies. Johnny's mom recalled, I always read to him. When I was pregnant with my little son, Johnny would sit in my lap, and I'd say, "We're reading to the baby." So I read to both of them, always, and he has a favorite book. He calls it his night-night book. He knew it word for word, by the time he was 2, because we read it all the time. We had a night-night story every night.

PAGE 107

98 In addition to reading, families spent time writing and drawing for their children. Of the 20 early learners, 19 reported observing people who drew or sketched pictures for them. When asked who she saw draw. Ebony replied, My dad. He draws buildings. And my grandma draws. She lives right beside me with my uncle. My mom teached me to draw apples on my tree. She draws flowers and houses and people. She draws pretty. I see her draw a lot. My brother teached me to draw trees. He drawed trees. I watched him. Every child in this study reported remembering someone writing for them. Most children remembered having someone help them with their names. Jason's older sister recalled. When I started writing cursive, Jason was very interested in it. So, he asked if I could teach him how to write his name. So, I taught him how to write his name in cursive. Louise's mom took dictation from Louise, so she could copy it and send it to her grandfather. Louise recalled, I write stories to my grandfather. My mommy write it and I copy off it. Thomas's mom remembered how important writing exactly what Thomas said was to him: When we moved to Virginia, Thomas would always tell me what he wanted to write in Jeramy's

PAGE 108

99 letter. He would say he would tell me exactly how he'd want it and I'd have to write it. He'd say, "Dear Jeramy," and then he'd want to write down everything he said, and if I didn't get it exactly right, he'd say, "No Mom. You didn't get this right," and I'd have to put something else in it. We did that a lot. Time was spent in a variety of ways other than reading, drawing, and writing. All children in this study had good communication with their families. If questions were asked, they were answered. Six children remembered detailed conversations. Jamese perceived his brother as helping him begin to understand that the blue sky touches the horizon line. My brother said one day, "Did you know that the whole world was round?" I said, "I think it is flat because the ground is flat." He said, "Naw, it's not flat because look at the sky. It goes all the way down." "Well," I said, "It's probably somebody pouring it down over us, probably." And he said, "Don't be silly." "Ok, ok, I understand, I understand." Then I started looking at it and I started drawing the stuff here [blue sky touching the horizon line] Seven parents reported their children learned literacy by playing games with their families. Jamie's mother remembers her three daughters working (or playing) together

PAGE 109

100 and interacting with them while she was in close proximity to the activity. I basically just taught her when we'd play. I guess I was just lucky. They liked to play. They wanted to. So, that is a lot of what we did. When I was busy, they'd sit at the table. We do now, when I'm cooking, stuff like that, they'll sit and draw or write and do their arithmetic. In this study, five of the children were cognizant of their parents' jobs and four of the children had parents who were attending college. These parents used their homes for studying or as an office and children were able to see a variety of purposeful literacy. Louise and Hubert's mother stated. They see me on the computer a lot and typing a lot and keeping up with all that stuff. And, um, because we do read and write so much with all the office work and stuff and Bert has to keep up with all his stuff and they are around us so much, it's not like we are working off away from them. We do our work here with them, which is, I think, a real different environment than most kids have, because they don't really know what their parents do for a living. Because they're

PAGE 110

101 here, they have a real working knowledge of what we do. Prior to 1990, the closest library in the community where the study was conducted was approximately 30 minutes away. In spite of this limitation, five children talked about going to the library and picking out books. When asked how often he could go and how many books he got, Luke responded with, Two times every week. Almost 10 [books], 10 almost." Children and their families interacted from an early age through oral communication as well as transmitting literacy through play, everyday life, and special events. Parents and siblings gave of their time in a variety of ways. They colored, drew, and wrote for the early learners, answered guestions, talked to them in an honest and informative way without using baby-talk, told stories, played games, and, in many cases, involved them in their work. There was a significant amount of interaction time on a daily basis. Of the 20 subjects, 16 had all or almost all home care before entering public school and did not attend day-care on a regular basis. The parents who had children in day care consciously took time to draw, write, and read through play and everyday life with their children. Extended families living on the same property or in the immediate area added people who were interested in providing time for 9 of the 20 children. In summary, all

PAGE 111

102 the early learners in this study enjoyed contact with interested family members who had been drawing, writing, and reading to them for as long as they could remember, usually whenever they asked, and on a regular basis. Literacy was an integral part of their lives. All of the parents and siblings interviewed freely gave their time to the children in this study. Not only was their time freely given, but so were materials. These children had a variety of materials and had free access to them. Materials and Resources The importance of having an extensive variety of reading and writing materials available to children has been widely documented (Bissex, 1980; Greaney, 1986; Hess & Holloway, 1984; Lamme 1984, 1985; Lass, 1982; Manning & Manning, 1984; Slaughter, 1983; Whalberg & Tsai, 1982; Wiseman, 1984). The need for available art materials has also been discussed (Holt, 1983; Ross, 1982; Schickedanz York, Stewart, & White, 1983) Materials and resources in this study were: 1. Provision of a quantity of commercially made literacy supplies such as paper, crayons, glue, scissors, markers, pencils, pens, books, coloring books, and workbooks 2. Television shows, such as "Sesame Street," "321 Contact," "Reading Rainbow," "National Geographic," and "Mr Rogers

PAGE 112

103 3. Commercial materials, such as grocery labels and road signs. Each of the children interviewed in this study had a large variety of supplies with easy access to them. In addition, all of the parents and siblings talked about a variety of supplies. When asked what kinds of book he had at home, Charles responded, I have a whole bunch of them. My whole room's filled with them, all over the floor, even my cubbies. I got about, I got about a hundred books When Gavin was asked what supplies he had, his response concentrated on paper and why he needed so much of it. We're getting a lot of paper so I can draw. And sometimes in the mail, we get a lot of notes. We get the notes, so we can put the letter in it and send it. We got to have this paper, 'cause I can write on it, but I still use the paper in my room sometimes Jason had a wide variety of drawing and writing supplies, but his reading resources, besides books, were those he needed to play games with and watch television. Um, I have pencils, pens, erasers, paper, glue, maybe some clay, and also I have sometimes, I have just a little wood to write on, so I might

PAGE 113

104 as well count in wood. Now for reading, I have game boards, the TV guide and, uh, books. Jamie involved her family from out-of-state to help provide her supplies. My aunt sends us boxes. She lives in Chicago, way far away. She sends boxes and she had a little white one and they were real tiny, about that big and it has paint brushes and she sent me one of those. And she sent me one that was big — like black boards — not like black boards, like where you put the paper. Like an easel, yeah, and we have coloring books, crayons, puzzles. We have all kinds of stuff, me and Nikki [her younger sister] Gavin's father believed books and reading should be something special. He remembered. We used to try to make it as positive as possible so that it was always a reward to be able to l read. And, by getting something in the mail, I remember what a special thing it was for me to get something in the mail, so I thought, ahh, what a perfect thing to get in the mail — a book, because that makes books real special and real fun and real exciting. I guess my whole game plan was to make it as rewarding as possible and even make it a reward, as much as possible, a

PAGE 114

105 positive event in his life. And then he had all those books and he'd just sit and read them. Work space was another resource frequency mentioned. Melanie's father stated. They do like to work right here [in his office] which is kind of a no-no. But, it happens quite a bit, at my desk, but primarily they have a desk in their room, but primarily there is more work done on the kitchen table in the dining room than anywhere else in the house, sometimes on the counter area, but they make the areas adequate, whether they are or not. When the early learners were asked if they watched television shows like Sesame Street or Reading Rainbow, all but one child answered affirmatively. That one child expressed a hatred of those television programs. Nine parents and every sibling recalled watching educational television with the early learners. One parent said her child was not able to watch educational television, although her daughter reported that she did. Monica learned to write some simple massages by watching Sesame Street. She said, I love it. It taught me, uh, spelling. It taught me [she shows the researcher by writing, "I love you" ] Jason talked about more benefits of Sesame Street:

PAGE 115

106 Now that I think when I was watching Sesame Street, it did help me to read, write, and draw, and all that, and, uh, it also taught me how to be more friendly with people. But I got most of that from my mom. And that's just about all I learned from Sesame Street. That's basically what Sesame Street is trying to teach people. Children usually did not watch television alone. Every sibling recalled watching television with their younger brother or sister. Luke's sister remembered talking with her sibling about what was happening on particular television shows. Well, I like Reading Rainbow and Sguare 1 TV. I used to sit down after school, because I didn't want to do my homework and I'd sit down with my brother and watch them and if he asked me what they were doing, I'd tell him. Like they might be showing on Sesame Street how to fix the wool and if asked me, I'd tell him. Just things like that. I didn't explain in detail. To encourage drawing, writing, and reading in the home, materials were continually available to the early learners in this study. Despite the economic level of the family, a quantity of supplies was available in all homes. Commercially prepared materials, such as paper of all kinds, workbooks, paste and glue, scissors, crayons,

PAGE 116

107 markers, and paint were readily available for the children. Interaction between children and their families with these materials was child-initiated, with the parents, siblings, and extended family being responsive to the early learners' needs. Extended families were involved with the purchase, interaction, and admiration of literacy products. Supplies were provided upon request and on special occasions such as holidays or as a special reward. Books that the children chose were bought or borrowed from a library and were always being read and left where the children had easy access to them. Children were allowed to use these materials in many areas of the home. In addition, childselected educational television shows were also used as a resource from which to learn and family members watched and interacted with the children and discussed the programs. Families in this study were responsive to their children's needs for materials and for interaction with those materials. In addition to their traditional literacy materials observance of the natural and man-made surrounding environments was also actively used to stimulate literacy development. Observations of the Environment Wachowiak (1977) remarked that nothing replaces direct contact with the actual object for an intense experience. Surroundings were discussed repeatedly as an important

PAGE 117

108 learning resource in this study. Early learners reported enhancing their reading and writing acquisition by observing commercial materials, such as grocery labels and road signs. Ross (1982) suggested asking questions and presenting visuals to provide children with the necessary material to enable them to stimulate drawing. "Learning to see" was discussed by Lowenfeld and Brittain (1982), Schickedanz York, Stewart, and White (1983) and Wachowiak (1977) Children in this study used their surrounding as models and inspiration, especially when drawing specific features, such as people, animals, buildings, plants, sunsets, and clouds. Interviews with early learners provided the only source of information used in the compilation of these data. Fifteen children were able to verbalize, in detail, observations they had made. Jamese wanted to draw people in a different way from the typical frontal view. He realized that he could figure this out by observing people he wanted to draw: Well, I try to look at people when they're talking. I go to the side and I look at the side. I don't like them when they are looking that way. It is like they are looking at somebody at the door. Jamese expanded his concept of observation by looking closely at animals.

PAGE 118

109 Well I just noticed that I saw a bird before and I looked at his tail feathers and I studied them, and I noticed on duck tails too. I try to understand them. Johnny noticed how a building (his home) was constructed and provided that detail in his drawing of his own home. About the first time I noticed it [he was asked how he knew to draw the steps and concrete blocks under the trailer he had drawn] when I was coming out of the house at first, the first thing I noticed was the thing that you turn on the side of the trailer to make the house go up and down and it had a brick on it, on the side and I looked down under the house and I saw a whole bunch of bricks. We have that, because we have trailers and they stand up like that, so they won't be on the ground. Jeramy observed nature for a variety of things: I just thought of it, and I looked at the grass outside, and see the grass down here [a section near the bottom that he had colored in very smooth-looking] the grass outside didn't look like it sticked up except for when it was coming to the sky. It looked like it sticked up there.

PAGE 119

110 And you see I looked down and it looked like somebody just colored it. Thomas, who was Jeramy's cousin and neighbor, could also observe nature accurately. His description of his realization of the blue sky touching the horizon line included, I thought, first thing, when I was born, I came, and I went outside, just 2 years old and I looked up and then I looked down and then I seen blue stuff and I knew what the color blue was, and I said, "What's that blue stuff touching the water for?" and I wondered and wondered and wondered till I went right under it and it just went farther back and I looked straight up and it just went straight back. Jason knew that he had help developing his observation skills. He admitted, Ok, ok, ok, ok, ok, from watching television and all that stuff and also in the fall and the leaves fell down and sometimes when a tree is dead like a week or month or two months all the leaves would fall down but before all the leaves would still be on there, sort of brownish. Actually it was sort of, I sort of watched it and someone sort of pointed it out. Sort of both.

PAGE 120

Ill Acquiring the skill to observe accurately is not enough to draw accurately. Jamese knew that he must constantly refer to his subject. I just looked at it once and then I started drawing. Then I looked at it again and I started drawing and I looked at it again and I started drawing again. The children with the best drawing skills spoke the most about observation. In addition to observing a lot on their own, they remembered asking for and receiving explanations of their environment. They were constantly interacting with people and the environment within each area of literacy examined in this study. In addition to children observing their natural environment, four of the siblings and six of the parents discussed consciously using the commercial environment to foster reading. Jason's family spent a lot of time in the car, so his mother made up games to keep them busy. She recalled: On trips, when I was a kid, we'd play the alphabet game on trips. When you passed signs, you'd try to find a, b, c, ta da, ta da, ta da, all the way through. So, we almost always play that, almost to this day we almost always play that. When we're going down to Disney World or somewhere like that, we do that and then I came

PAGE 121

112 up with an egg carton game which you just cover all the little compartments of the egg carton with different things and then they have to find them as you drive down the road and they get a little goodie when they open it up and some of those would be signs. Some of them would be like a cow or a bird or a filling station or whatever, and some of them would be like a speed limit 55 or 65, whatever so it was printed there and then they would be looking for it. And, license plates. We spend a lot of time in the car. There's a lot of this kind of stuff that we do. Ten early learners discussed reading and the commercial environment. Ebony learned to read labels on cans. I can read cans and that's all. I can read Old Milwaukee cans. Thomas displayed an interest in words at the Pizza Hut. His mother was there to answer his questions. I seen Pizza Hut and stuff and she went in there and bought me pieces of pizza and stuff and I'd say, "Mama, what does that sign say?" and she'd say, "Pizza for 99 cents." With help from her mother, Melanie practiced reading with road signs. When I was 4 I could read signs and mostly I got the little words and the big words halfway right

PAGE 122

113 and I told Mama and she, the ones I couldn't do, she'd tell me. Children used the environment as a source of information for learning to draw and read. Literacy acquisition was presented to them as play and it was part of their life. Early learners in this study seemingly sought inspiration from everything they came in contact with. They were surrounded by literacy, and they made use of it! Early learners observed, they analyzed, and they learned from their natural and man-made environments. Parents gave their time and provided materials, but families modeling literacy also helped. Modeling Positive Influences of Modeling "As children learn, they search through their environment for examples of what they want to know" (Shapiro & Doiron, 1987, p. 265). If we believe that children are constantly interacting with their environment and that children are active participants (Goodman & Goodman, 1979; Hall, 1987), then it is easy to understand why it is important for children to see adults and family members involved in the use of literacy skills. All the early learners, parents, and siblings reported remembering family and/or friends model reading. When asked, "Did you ever see anyone around you read?" Jamese provided,

PAGE 123

114 Always, used to, my daddy would read the paper. And then I take it and then I started reading the paper and then I eat my cereal like real people do and I'd drink my milk or my hot chocolate like it is hot coffee. Jeramy was encouraged to read text that was above his level, by wanting to read what he saw his mother read. I remember something really funny that happened, last night or night before last. You see, my mama was reading a grown up book and I snuck up behind her and I started reading it, and she said "What? What?" Siblings were also positive role models for some of the children. Ebony's older brother was her model, instead of a parent. He [her older brother] reads his spelling and I looked at it and my pluses and I learned! The modeling process was an efficient method for children to witness reading in a variety of uses. Children also saw writing occurring in meaningful ways. Fifteen early learners, all siblings, and 11 parents mentioned modeling of writing. Only, one parent said her child had never seen anyone write. When Thomas was asked if he saw people around him writing, he talked about letter writing.

PAGE 124

115 She [his mother] writes folks in Virginia, because we used to live in Virginia, and she writes to my grandma. The first word many children write, or want to see written, is their own name. Writing their names was mentioned by most of the children in this study. Buddy reported remembering his mother write his name from the time he was 2 years old. When I was 2, they'd just write it [his name] down and I'd say my name. All I do is try to keep it in my brain and whenever I first tried to write it, guess what I did? I got it backwards. Melanie's brother explained how he and his sister gradually evolved from modeling their parents to writing on their own. We watched our parents like read letters and we'd watch them write things like letters, because when I was in preschool or kindergarten, we would tell them what we wanted to write and they would write it down and then I started writing and the Mel would ask me or Mom to start writing stuff. She would know what to say. She'd write it out, but when she got to different words, she didn't know how to spell. This was before kindergarten, so me or Mom or Dad had to be at her side to help her out with some of the words.

PAGE 125

116 Hubert (Louise's twin brother and also interviewed as an early learner) explained in a matter-of-fact way how he learned to add details to his drawings by modeling one of his friends. I draw it on another piece of paper and you just copy it [his friend's drawing]. Modeling appeared to be important for learning to write and read. It was also important in helping children learn to draw. Many parents, family, and friends drew where they could be observed. Sixteen of the early learners, every sibling, and 10 of the parents mentioned drawing models. Early learners also had the benefit of observing the process of drawing being accomplished by their parents. Jamie stated. Sometimes my dad draws. When we're watching the TV at night, he had a sheet of paper about that big [about two feet] and he drew the water and he, urn, left a little bank and he made palm trees. He's a real good drawer. He made like the water and the white part of the waves and stuff like that. I know how to make palm trees now. I just looked. I looked while he made it and I tried it and he said it was good. Jason, his brother, and his sister all came to school with sophisticated drawing techniques. When their mother was

PAGE 126

117 asked how she thought they learned those techniques, she replied. When they were young and I was taking them to church and we'd do anything to keep the kids quiet in church, I would sit there and draw for them the entire church service. I would draw on the bulletin and we would draw things. I drew for them a lot, a lot of things. In the Sunday school class one time, we finished the lesson and there was nothing more to do, so I made Ramsey [the oldest brother] a little book with the stuffed animal he'd just gotten. I drew the pictures of this little animal and I guess I would do that, [not be concerned about the entire character being on the page] if I made the bed in the picture and there wasn't enough room, well we'd just put as much of the room, or we'd put half the house because the little guy would be standing in the door and stuff like that. So, I drew with them a lot and I've always had lots of drawing materials available. Modeling other people's drawings was important to these children. During the interviews, the researcher often witnessed children watching what other children were drawing. After the researcher complimented one child on a specific aspect of a drawing, another child would

PAGE 127

118 incorporate the same or very similar item into his or her own picture. Children in this study witnessed drawing, painting, crafts, writing, letters, homework, grocery lists, reading, story, and book writing. Four of the families used their homes as their business offices, thus those children were exposed to and allowed to use typewriters, computers, business books, forms, and letters. Modeling stimulated copying in drawing and writing. While families modeled reading, early learners witnessed useful literacy that helped them create a desire and purpose for reading. The children's interest was evident, and they wanted to participate. Sensitive models responded to the children's interest and encouraged their involvement. Usually modeling encouraged children and helped them to make progress in a positive way. However, in this study, modeling of drawing sometimes influenced children in a negative way. Ne gative I n fluences of .Modeling Four children who months earlier had been drawing wonderful, personal, and creative forms were now drawing stick figures, "M" birds, repetitive schemas for clouds, and depending on tracing for their art work. When asked why she put paper dolls in the window to trace them instead of draw them, Melanie said,

PAGE 128

119 I used to draw it. It was hard for me, but now I put it in the window [to trace it] Before I had this design kit, I used to draw them myself. Jacqueline had observed her sisters making simple stick figures and she now incorporated stick figures into her drawings. "My sister teached me that [stick figures]," said Jacqueline. Although Monica was using a schema for a cloud, when asked by the researcher to draw one realistically, she could. My mom taught me! Like this [she makes a dotted line to follow and trace over] I like to draw them like that. Jamie had settled for drawing a bird that was not as difficult as a realistic one. My dad taught me. Instead of making like the wings and head and stuff like that, because it's more easier to not put the wings and stuff. Fortunately for the early learners in this study, most of the modeling and interactions were positive. In addition to modeling, family and friends had several specific ways of interacting with the early learners to promote literacy development. Social Transactions During Reading Few specific interactions besides modeling, copying, and observing were mentioned by the early learners as

PAGE 129

120 sources for learning to draw and write. For reading, however, they recalled many specific interactions. While the parents and siblings in this study were reading to their children, there were a variety of transactions that occurred in most of the families that promoted literacy. While being read to children experienced repetitive reading; discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories; tracking; acting out parts; and shared reading. According to several authors, the children of parents who discuss the books they are reading and children who talk about the story and ask guestions during the reading process have higher reading and achievement scores and demonstrate an understanding of more reading concepts than children who do not discuss stories with their parents (Hess, Holloway, Price, & Dickson, 1982; Slaughter, 1983; Snow, 1983; Taylor, 1983). Several authors credit repetitive reading with giving a child more opportunities to clarify, fill in gaps, and to make connections (Martinez & Roser, 1985; Schickedanz, 1981; Yaden, 1988). Schickedanz (1978) proposed that children go through a very important memorization process when having stories read over and over to them. They learn first by memory and then by sight as they begin to build letter/ sound correspondences (Wiseman, 1984) Lamme and Packer (1986) reported that, if parents do a lot of pointing while reading to their infants, by the time that infant is 1 year

PAGE 130

121 old, the child will start pointing to the text. Infants begin to take control of the interaction by pointing to objects and parents respond by naming the object. Children benefit from interacting with adults in the process of becoming literate (Hall, 1987) Fifteen children in this study reported various combinations of transactions resulting when someone read to them. Early learners in this study usually were read to, and interacted with, from a variety of sources^ Thomas and Jeramy lived with an extended family. Thomas's mother stated, They'd go get a stack of books, you know and bring them to whoever felt like reading them. I had two other sisters in the house that read to them, and our brother. Everybody that will read, or would read. Johnny's mother remembered involving him with a story by using animal sounds and voice inflections while she read. Additionally, she asked him to participate by making the sounds along with her. I made the sounds like cows moo or I'd say what kind of sounds does he make? Things like that, adding myself into the story. Like in the Bible stories, if it was Goliath, we'd do a big husky Goliath, or if it was David, it was little wee David.

PAGE 131

122 Charles 1 parents discussed the pictures with him and pointed to words. Charles recalled, They talked about the pictures and pointed to the words to see if I knew them. Gavin not only read repetitively, but he shared reading with his parents. I did it over and over. Like every time I would get a new book, I would read it over and over again. After they read one page, I'd have to read the same page that they did. Being read to and then sharing that reading was perceived as something special by Jamie. If I read real, real, real, good, she'd do something special for me, like read me a book, and after she read it, if I was listening, she'd try to make me read it, and I'd try to read it and I'd read it real good. Jeramy's mother responded to whatever the boys (Jeramy and cousin Thomas) wanted to discuss and would sometimes personalize the books for them. We'd stop and discuss whatever they wanted. Jeramy likes to stop and talk about the book. We have one book that my sister got him. He likes He-Man and he likes to stop and talk about the characters and he likes the little critter books

PAGE 132

123 by Mercer Meyer. I told Jeramy, "This little critter is just like you." While the families in this study were reading to the early learners, several kinds of interactions occurred. These methods included (a) tracking (mentioned by 12 children, 1 child said nobody did) ; (b) repetitive reading (mentioned by 8 children) ; (c) discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories (mentioned by 10 children) ; and (d) sharing the reading with the child (mentioned by 6 children). Parents were receptive to their children's reading needs. Parents gave children choices about what they read. They responded to their children's requests to read stories over and over again, answered their questions, and gave them time to look at the pictures. Additionally, they encouraged children's active participation in the stories by reading with animated voices, participating with dramatic experiences, personalizing the books, and taking turns reading. Child Initiation For the families in this study, positive learning experiences were child-initiated and child-oriented. Rasinski (1988) believed the role of self initiated purpose and ownership of learning to read and write has been overlooked. In Lass's (1982) research on her own son's learning to read, she admitted that she knew how to teach reading, but that at no time did she or anyone else

PAGE 133

124 actually instruct her son. Learning took place but it was incidental. She read to him when he was in the mood. Materials, as well as educational television, were available. Questions that he asked about literacy were answered. The children involved in Taylor's (1983) study learned to read and write early, but learning occurred when and how the children wanted. Literacy development becomes more abstract, more distant, and more unreachable if the child's own purpose and ownership is sacrificed in the name of instructional efficiency and simplicity (Rasinski, 1988) Whenever the early learners in this study were asked who initiated an interaction, the response was always, "I did." Of the early learners, 12 specifically mentioned initiating interactions, 9 parents spoke of their children initiating interactions, and every sibling discussed these interactions. When asked if she remembered how often she was read to, Monica recalled, They read whenever it was time to go to bed and whenever I asked, if they weren't too busy. Luke s mother remembered him asking her to read a book over and over. He also showed an interest in road signs. She was there, and read to him whatever, and whenever, he asked. He couldn't read a lick, but you could turn the page and he could tell from the pictures what it

PAGE 134

125 said on the page. We read that one a lot. Every time he brought us books, that one was in it. He won't get rid of that book. Well, if he asked, we'd read it to him. Now, besides books, stop signs and road signs, he asked a lot. Being able to pick out your own book was important to the children in this study. The early learners wanted to read those books. When I asked Melanie if she had a favorite book, her reply was: When I was in this house, I got a book from a garage sale. I got to pick out a book that I wanted. I picked out that special one. That book was a good book. I liked it. That is the one I read about every night. Jason's brother said he started to read when he finally found books he really liked. Because of this, he reacted to books his little brother liked. I started getting these make your own adventure books and he was about going crazy trying to get his hands on them. So, yesterday, I took two out and put them down in front of him and said, "Alright, you can read which ever one you want and make your own adventure Thomas said his mother answered all his questions and provided explanations.

PAGE 135

126 I think of it [an island on his picture] and I just draw it. The first time I ever seen an island, it was in a book my mama got me. I looked at it and I saw a big clump of land right in the middle and I said, "Mama, what is that?" and she said it's a piece of land in the middle of the water called an island, and she told me Hawaii is an island and a whole lot more. Melanie's mother was available to write for her when she requested her assistance. She [Melanie] would staple them [several pages of pictures] all together and bring them to me. "I've got me a book and I need you to write what it is." So, I'd write it. Dennis asked his dad to help him draw pictures. My dad showed me how to draw it with a pencil. I asked him. Occasionally, Jamese had to bargain with his brother for help to draw pictures. I just learned it [drawing] from my brother. He used to draw dinosaurs and then he started drawing girls. Yeah, he likes a girl named Ebony, and I got more girlfriends than him and I just said, "Well if you teach me how to draw, "I'll give you one [a girlfriend].

PAGE 136

127 Most parents were aware of their child's need for initiation. Jason's mother had tried, on occasion, to be the initiator. They don't really create on command. I can't say, "Your grandmother's birthday is coming up. Would you make her a beautiful card?" I don't get very good results when I do that. If they get inspired and they do it, then they come out with wonderful things. But, if you have a specific thing and it's sit them down and do this or do this, I don't think they do so well. Or, if you say, make a Christmas picture or a Christmas card, they don't do so well for me and I don't think they do so at school either. When children were not allowed to initiate interactions, all involved found the situation frustrating. Luke's sister, now in high school, felt she has been pressured to read. My mom made me sit there and said this is a "w" I remember getting slapped on the leg because I wanted to go. I had to write my name. I wrote different words like dog and cat. Then they [kindergarten teachers] yelled at my mom for it. It was something I had to do. Mom made me sit there. This is this. This is that. My mom just sitting me there. I don't like books. I still

PAGE 137

128 don't like books. I don't like reading. It's boring. It just is. I guess it's all school. You're pressured to read. You feel like you have to. It's not something you want to do. You're made to do it. I used to, it's like if you're made to do something, it's like cleaning the house. If you're made to clean the house, it's like when you get older you're going to get a maid. I'm not going to clean this house. I did enough The children in this study actively sought literacy, even at the expense of giving up a girlfriend! The early learners were allowed to pick their own materials, providing a sense of ownership, and parents and siblings were responsive to the early learners' request. Parents and siblings in this study who tried to teach their children in the traditional sense (i.e., having the child sit down and the parent saying, "I will teach you this, and you will learn it before you get up") were unsuccessful in their attempts. Parents and siblings were successful teaching the early learners when they drew, wrote, read, and re-read books for them, stopped and answered their questions, listened to and talked to them, and provided them with needed and wanted materials. The children learned of their own will, when they asked for interaction, and through everyday life and play with their families and

PAGE 138

129 friends. In addition, during this interaction time, there were specific ways of encouraging the children that proved to be beneficial and motivating. Encouragement Systems The well-known illustrator and author, Tommie dePaola (1989) recalled in his autobiography that, as a young child, his drawings were displayed with pride all over his home, at his father's workplace, in his grandparents' grocery store, and in another grandmother's home. He also received verbal encouragement from family and friends. Materials were supplied as he needed them. He recalled with special fondness a box of crayons with 64 colors. His early skills were facilitated by encouragement from many people around him. Anbar (1986) encouraged parents to facilitate their children's literacy skills as long as the distinction is made between "pushing" and "encouraging." Silvern (1985) also made a distinction between pushing and encouraging, and found that children who are expected to learn to read and were rewarded for that achievement with praise and reading-related activities had higher achievement scores and more positive attitudes toward reading. In contrast, children who had received excessive pressure, or were punished for not reading well, had lower achievement scores and less positive attitudes toward reading. Fassler (1987) in a study of drawings of children from China and the Soviet Union, noticed a

PAGE 139

130 superiority in the drawings and handwriting of the Chinese children. Those skills are stressed in Chinese schools from an early age. Children need direction, but "hurrying" harms children (Elkind, 1981) For the children in this study, encouragement was provided in a variety of ways: (a) displays of their work, (b) verbal encouragement, (c) distribution of literacy products to others, (d) adult "dependence" on children, and (e) using literacy as a reward Displays Eighteen early learners in this study discussed displays of their work in their homes. Every parent and three of the siblings mentioned displays. When Gavin was asked, "What do your parents do with the pictures you draw or the stories you write," he said. Sometimes they put it on the wall with my other things. But, usually they put it where I can see it. I see it there, and I make up other things in my head. Gavin was able to enjoy his literacy products and get future ideas from them. Melanie and anyone in her home could see her products too, but she talked about sending her literacy products to extended family, so they could also enjoy them. That's why they put it on the refrigerator, so when people come in sometime, they can go in the

PAGE 140

131 living room and see it or something. Some of the time, they would send them through the mail to grandmas and grandpas and some of the time we would hang them on the refrigerator and when my grandmas and grandpas got them in the mail they would like hang them on the refrigerator and show them to all their friends. Not only did parents display their children's literacy products, but every parent in this study saved most of them. One mother said she had saved everything. Louise and Hubert's mother found extended audiences for their literacy products and saved as much as she could. We try to show them to the people who come to the house and stuff like that and hang up a lot of stuff. Usually we have it hung all over the refrigerator, and we give a lot to the grandparents and send a lot to aunts and uncles, you know so they send it. But they produce quite a bit, so it is becoming a problem. I need a whole wall so I can hang it all up. Up until this past year, I saved all their stuff. I can't do that now, there's just too much stuff, but they could go through the boxes to see what they have done.

PAGE 141

132 Verbal Encouragement Parents and siblings did not provide gold stars for literacy accomplishments. Parents directed their comments toward specific features. Twelve early learners, eight adults, and three siblings talked about verbal encouragement for literacy. Melanie's mother remembered comments she made about her children's drawings. Well you know, "Gee that's nice," or "I like the color," or "Tell me a story about what's happening." We hung it up on the refrigerator. I never would hazard a guess as to what it was. I would just let them kind of tell me. I would always find something, like, "Gee, I like the red over here," or something like that. "I like the way you use bright colors." She's always had a real good sense of color and things like that. You know I would ask her what it's all about. That was when she was drawing shapes and stuff and then she started drawing pictures. I think that was because she was with an older sibling. Siblings in this study also knew how to respond to literacy products. Jason's older brother knew what he should say, even if he did not want to: I had to. I had to not say back then that it looked like a bunch of crayon dust in a tornado. I said, "looks good." In order to keep my skin.

PAGE 142

133 Even though many parents discussed talking with their children about specific items of their literacy products while verbally encouraging them, the early learners did not remember specifics. When asked, "What do your parents say when you show them what you draw, write, or read," children remembered : I think whenever I draw like this, they say, "It is real pretty," and I thank them. If they say it's pretty, then it's pretty. (Jamie) They look at it [drawing] and say it is nice. They hang it up. (Ebony) They say, "That's good, Thomas. That's good. That's good. That's good. That's good, Thomas. That s good ( Thomas ) My mama says she likes them. And, um, once my uncle's friend, he was saying something about someone having pictures all over his walls. I mean with none of the wall showing and when I started trying to do that, I was drawing all kinds of pictures and putting them up on the walls. (Jeramy) Distributing Literacy Products to Others Early learners benefitted from having adults other than their family who valued their products. In this study, seven early learners (six subjects and one sibling) mentioned either mailing, giving, or selling literacy

PAGE 143

134 products. Literacy products were shared, given, mailed, and, in several instances, sold. Johnny reported his pictures were all over the world. Some of them [pictures] are in my hall and some of them are in my room. Some of them I give to someone else, all over the world. They are displayed all over the world [pictures are mailed to his dad who is in the army, and Johnny has already won a couple of art contests] Marcus's mother gets copies of what he writes, before she sends it off, so she can keep a copy for herself. My mama takes it [things he writes] to her work and gets copies and send it to my granddaddy. He thinks it's nice. Three children talked about selling their literacy products. Jamese said his mother sold his drawings at work. They get it [his drawings] laminated with two pieces of things, she gets it laminated. She puts it up on the wall and then she sells it. Jamie participated in the selling of her products at a family garage sale. They think whenever I do good, um, whenever I do real, real, real, good, sometimes people, well I hang them up outside the house. Sometimes people

PAGE 144

135 I know come up, they say they can buy them. So now, I'm starting to sell them for 25 cents. Adult Dependence on Children An additional way adults encouraged children was to exhibit a "need" for a child's product or "help." Three children mentioned this "dependence." My mama has to have a copy of my horse so she could draw one too. (Louise) I just kind of work with her. I enjoy helping my mom. I watch every time she does art and stuff. Whenever she feels real happy, she does art. She doesn't know how to draw an eye and I'll say, "I'll teach you, just like Mr. W's eye" [letter person from Alpha-Time] I always draw that kind of an eye. (Jamese) I'll have to make a copy of this [a picture he is drawing of flowers] at home. My mama likes flowers. She's a flower lover. (Buddy) Uses Literacy as a Reward Literacy was important in the homes in this study. To help establish that importance, seven parents used literacy as a reward. Seven early learners and two siblings referred to literacy being used as a reward. Charles reported his parents wrote him notes about his accomplishments

PAGE 145

136 They write me letters how good I been doing in school. When I'm not home, they just put them next to the door. Jamie reported that being read to was a special treat. She recalled. When I'm doing something I'm not supposed to, she [her mother] doesn't read it. It's like a treat for me. I like it. I like it when she reads. She reads about four stories when I'm good. The children in this study were given a sense of worth through their literacy accomplishments. Children not only took pride in their displays but used them to generate ideas for future projects. Children knew their parents and other adults valued what they produced. In summary, children in this study were encouraged by parents who displayed literacy products for the early learners as well as others to see. They verbally encouraged them and gave, mailed off, and/or, in some cases, sold their children's literacy efforts. In addition, parents encouraged their children by displaying a need for their children's literacy products, and they used literacy events as rewards. Validity The success of any ethnographic study depends for its validity on gaining a true picture from the informants. The researcher is a teacher at the school site selected for study, so that a "getting acquainted period" was not

PAGE 146

137 necessary and an informal atmosphere was easy to introduce and maintain. The main source of validity for this study was the comparison of the responses of early learners with responses of their families. Since validity depends on the extent to which the findings of this study represented reality, it was essential to establish the validity of the early learner's data. After comparison of the data from the 10 early learners with that elicited from their parents and siblings, the researcher felt the early learners' data was well substantiated as a reliable source, and validation by triangulation was confirmed. Even though most comparisons of early learners responses to those of their parents and siblings were congruent, there were some differences noted in the data. Consistently, the best drawers used the natural environment as a major visual resource, while the parents (who were not a part of this process) never mentioned it. One child said she watched Sesame Street, while her mother said they could not get Sesame Street on their television. Two children's interpretations of how often they were read to were not consistent with the frequency reported by their parents. As a group, parents remembered reading to the children from the time they were babies or toddlers, while the children only remembered being read to from when they were "little." One child stated that his mother pointed to the words as she read, while the mother said she did not point. Some

PAGE 147

138 possible explanations for these differences could be the child watched television somewhere other than at home; children's perceptions of time differed from that of adults; inability to remember a particular time (such as when they were a baby) ; different events were remembered from the past; not being present when something occurred; and different interpretations of the guestions asked by the researcher. The researcher felt, however, such differences among data collected within a family were extremely slight and did not affect the validity of this study. The first part of this chapter described and validated some common characteristics within the home environment that facilitated and encouraged early literacy development. However, this information did not provide an explanation as to why these characteristics facilitated the early attainment of literacy. The second part of this chapter uses "cognitive apprenticeship" (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) as a theoretical explanation and frame of reference for the home environment described in this study. Cognitive Apprenticeship Within the last century, and only in industrialized nations, formal schooling has emerged as a widespread method of educating the young. Perhaps as a by-product, skills and knowledge have become isolated and abstracted from their actual sources and uses within life. Conceptual and problem-solving knowledge obtained in school through

PAGE 148

139 formal teaching strategies has become abstract, therefore remaining unintegrated or inert for the learner (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) Unfortunately, the fact that important skills (e.g., language development, literacy, and social interaction) are learned informally in an apprenticeship-like setting has been largely overlooked. An apprenticeship-like setting involves not didactic teaching but instead involves learners in a variety of tasks and activities while observing skilled practitioners, and being coached with successive approximation to target skills (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1987) Cognitive apprenticeship, a term coined by Collins, Brown, and Newman (1987), is different from traditional apprenticeship in two important ways. Traditional apprenticeship emphasizes the teaching of specific skills in the context of their use, usually the workplace. Additionally, in the workplace the skills to be learned are decided by the demands made by a needed item or job. Cognitive apprenticeship, on the other hand, focus on two different, but similar, issues. The first focuses on "learning through guided experience," on cognitive and metacognitive skills and processes. Tasks are sequenced to reflect the changing demands of learning, not the demands of the job. Second, conceptual and factual knowledge is learned within the context of its use, such as the way in which experts in a particular area would handle a complex

PAGE 149

140 task. Knowledge is decontextualized and verbalized so that it can be used in a variety of settings. Even though the early learners in this study were at home, instead of at school or work, they were constantly learning from their home environment. They were involved with a type of discovery learning which is supported by Bruner (1957) and Ausubel (1981) or inquiry learning (Collins & Stevens, 1983) except the children in this study had the added benefit of interactions with family. The early learners in this study initiated these interactions and perhaps that initiation speeded up their discovery learning. As in the traditional and the cognitive apprenticeship theories, these children were learning literacy skills in the context of their use. Unlike the traditional apprenticeship model, demands were not made of them. Direct teaching was seldom used. Instead, learning occurred by observation and being coached, with a gradual increase of independence. Learning for children in this study was guided by experts (parents and older siblings) so that children were "learning-through-guided-experience" (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 457). Bandura's (1989) "social cognitive theory" referred to the importance of influential social factors: Those who figure prominently in children's lives serve as indispensible sources of knowledge that contribute to what and how children think about different matters. Indeed children's intellectual selfdevelopment would be stunted if they could not draw on this heritage of knowledge in each realm of

PAGE 150

141 functioning and, instead, had to rediscover it bit by bit, through their own trial-and-error activity. Guided instruction and modeling that effectively conveys abstract rules of reasoning promote cognitive development in children, (p. 9) Children in this study were interacting and learning with their family and friends and were being guided through life by those experts. More specifically, for the purpose of this research, they were being guided in the development of literacy skills. In describing the cognitive apprenticeship theory and methods, Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) provided a useful and unified theoretical framework for an ideal learning environment. Even though Collins, Brown, and Newman do not refer to drawing in their discussion of their theory, this research shows drawing developing basically the same as writing and reading and therefore this researcher believes the inclusion of drawing within their framework a valid one. If the categories of the home environment described in this study can be explained by the cognitive apprenticeship theory, there should be examples in this study from each of the dimensions included within the framework of that theory. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) listed the following dimensions as essential to an ideal learning environment. They were (a) the content taught, (b) the pedagogical methods employed, (c) the sequencing of learning activities, and (d) the sociology of learning. The learning environment described herein contains examples

PAGE 151

142 of each of these dimensions as well as the characteristics within each. The Content Taught Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) divided the content taught into four characteristics of expert knowledge: (a) domain knowledge, (b) heuristic strategies, (c) control strategies, and (d) learning strategies. According to the authors, each characteristic needs to be represented in an ideal learning environment. Because this study used a retrospective interview approach rather than actually observing the learning environment, heuristic, control, and learning strategy data were not in abundance. There was evidence, however, that children in this study had the benefit of all four characteristics of expert knowledge. Domain Knowledge Unfortunately, domain knowledge is usually the only one represented in schools. Domain knowledge includes factual and conceptual knowledge and any procedures specifically identified with the subject matter. Examples of domain knowledge in reading are vocabulary, syntax, and phonics rules; the standard procedure for reading is scanning text, either silently or aloud, and constructing an interpretation. For writing, domain knowledge includes much of the same vocabulary and syntactic knowledge and, in addition, knowledge about rhetorical forms and genres and about writing drafts and revising. (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, pp. 477-478)

PAGE 152

143 While encouraging teachers of art to review and study publications on art and artists, Wachowiak (1977) discussed basic domain knowledge for art. He stated, As they read and assimilate contemporary writings on painting, sculpture, printmaking and architecture, they will discover recurring references to basic elements or components of art: point, line, shape, color, value, pattern, texture, form, and space. They will also find repeated references to art's fundamental principles or laws: balance, rhythm-repetition, variety, emphasis, dominance, subordination, radiation, and unity. Art, they will gradually discover, is a continuously challenging venture, a constantly changing odyssey with relatively few shortcuts to successful composition or good design, and although they may borrow ideas and inspiration from the past, they must reinterpret their findings in the context of the present, (p. 13) For drawing, children used an assortment of visual references from their past for inspiration and they "borrowed” knowledge. Several children discussed looking at examples and changing them slightly to meet their own needs. Melanie remembered, Sometimes, my mom helps me. My mom and me make paper dolls sometime. That way I get ideas and that way I can draw good people all the time because I look at my mom s because she draws paper dolls for me. Whenever I want to make a picture some of the time I just dream it in my head, or I open up the box and I look at the people inside and I spread them out and I look at them.

PAGE 153

144 Workbooks provided an easy resource for domain knowledge from which children could learn and practice writing their alphabet and numbers. Jeramy's mother also worked with initial word sounds. She remembered. We would practice writing the ABCs and we would draw a picture of something that started with an "a" and then we would try to think of all the "a" words we would know. Flashcards provided a way for siblings or parents to teach the reading and writing domain knowledge of letter recognition. Richard learned letter recognition in this way. My sister, she showed me the letters and after she got finished showing me the big letters, then she showed me the little letters and she said, "Watch this." And, I learned these two [capital and lower case] went together and I got different flash cards which had both the letters on them. And, she said, "What's this?" and it was a picture of an apple and I said, "apple" and she said, "What does this start with?" and I said, "a" and she turned it over and it was an "a". Television provided a source for a variety of domain knowledge. Buddy remembered.

PAGE 154

145 I watched Sesame Street six times a day. I learned my letters, my numbers, and I learned how to read. They've got these big words. When Gavin asked his mother to help him with the domain knowledge of how to form the letters in his name and learn how to write his name, he recalled. She took a pen and she went this [writing the letter "G" on his paper] This is how you make Gavin. She was making it like you guys, too [writing the traditional capital with little letters], and then she'd write it this way too [all capitals]. Heuristic Strategies The second category within the content taught is heuristic strategies or "tricks of the trade." Even though "tricks" might not always work, when they do, they are very helpful (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) Landa (1983) defined a heuristic process as "elementary operations that are not performed in a regular or uniform way under the same conditions" (p. 175) Examples of heuristic strategies (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) for writing include planning to rewrite a section so that momentum and the flow of ideas do not get bogged down. Additionally, syntax, spelling, and other presentational ideas are not important while getting one's ideas written down. In reading, a general strategy for comprehension and critical

PAGE 155

146 reading is to develop an overview and set of questions and expectations about a text before reading it line by line. Heuristic strategies serve as guides to discovery. Heuristic strategies served as guides to acceptable organization and discovery in this study. For drawing, children learned several schemas for objects. They were shown simple schemas for clouds, birds, people, and the organization of land and sky on their paper. Other figures they wanted to draw were broken down into basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle) they already knew such as houses (square and triangle) and, in Louise's case, a horse. By the time Louise was 2 years old, she was learning to look at figures in terms of what shapes they were. She remembered, When I was 2 years old, I write [drew] a horse all by myself and I was 2 years old. I just made a stomach like a rectangle and I made a head like a square and I just made the ears. I made them on top of the head. Parents suggested using pictures in books to help children determine what the story or that page was about. Stories were read repetitively to aide in memorization of stories. Children gradually learned to associate that memorization with reading actual words. The memorization provided them with an advanced organizer of what the text should be. Additionally, parents sorted groceries in

PAGE 156

147 cupboards and vegetable cans so that the placement of groceries and the pictures on them provided clues to help children learn words and letters. Alphabet letters were learned with the aide of pictures from an alphabet book and having been taught the alphabet song, which helped them remember what letter should be bext. The writing process was encouraged by taking dictation exactly as the child stated, with the child copying or re-reading what was written and the encouragement by parents and siblings of phonics and inventive spelling. Using the domain knowledge of phonics, children in this study developed their own level of writing with invented spelling. Invented spelling is a heuristic strategy for reading and writing that was mentioned by some of the children. Jamie remembered learning phonics which she used when she wrote. When she [his mother] wrote them out, when I was 3, she used to put the short mark and the long mark over it. Like in Sam. I didn't know that. She used to put like Sam and cover the "S" and go like "am" and then "S-S-S-S-Sam. She used to draw the short mark and like that. Singing a song, being coached by his mother, and looking at a picture gave Thomas auditory and visual cues that helped him remember his alphabet. Seeing the shapes of letters as circles and monkey tails helped him recognize and form his letters. He remembered,

PAGE 157

148 First of all, I said ABC [the song] and then someday my mom taught me the whole song. She taught me that and then I just got a picture and I sat there and said ABC [the whole song again] I got a picture of big capital "A" and at the bottom, lower case "a" and my mama told me how to make a little "a” and I kept on practicing and making circles and when I got good at making circles, then I started making monkey tails on the circles and it spelled little "a". Control Strategies The third category within the content taught is control strategies, which require thinking about how to proceed through a problem-solving activity (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) As children acquired more domain knowledge and heuristic strategies for solving problems, they needed to know how to manage those strategies. They needed to know when to use which strategy, under what circumstance, and when to change strategies in order to control the process of carrying out a particular task. Control strategies clarified difficulties and helped solve those difficulties. Children in this study showed evidence of knowing which of a variety of sources to use for their own individual ideas and literacy attainment. Children had to evaluate which source or sources would help them get closer

PAGE 158

149 to their own solution to a problem. Their fluctuations from using an assortment of environment and family models as sources for inspiration and "help" were abundant. In drawing a picture, Jason got ideas from his surroundings, posters, works of art, figures, family member's drawings, and anywhere else he could find them. Even though he used a wide variety of sources for ideas, he wanted his picture to be unique. He had to think about how to accomplish this and make judgements as to how to proceed. When I used to draw something, like one of my own ideas, but someone else's idea, like, if I was going to draw Indiana Jones, I would draw him leaping across a canyon or something like that. I sort of try to find out what's going on in the picture [his resource] and get it going through my head and trying to see if it would be better if this, if the idea wasn't this, but it was this, and uh, I've changed the picture here and there and I sort of make up my own design from one design. It is sort of like a role model. For words that Jamie did not know how to spell, she had developed several strategies to help produce an acceptable outcome. She either tried to sound them out, asked her mother for help, or just wrote down a simpler version.

PAGE 159

150 I helped her write it [grocery list] Like when she buyed potatoes, I had to sound it out, like try to spell it and, urn, when if I didn't know it, like it was potato chips and I asked my mom how to spell potato and I know how to spell chips because chips was easy. If she was too busy, I'd just put chips down. If a sibling or adult was not available to model letter formation for him, Johnny knew he could copy from books. In his first efforts to copy letters, he remembered Mostly I'd look at the book letters. When I first tried to write it was hard. Real hard. As Johnny progressed, he then learned to memorize and look at the letters when someone read to him. He realized he needed to practice writing some more and he learned to read at the same time he was learning to write. When my mom read to me, I was about 2 years old, and she kept reading to me and she pointed at the words and I learned the words and memorized them. And then sometimes, I'd sit down and try to write the words, and I wrote them and memorized them and as I did that, I had to know how to write the letters too. That's how I learned.

PAGE 160

151 Learning Strategies The last category within the content taught is learning strategies. These are strategies for learning any of the other three categories described above (domain knowledge, heuristic strategies, or control strategies) (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) There is a need to learn how to learn. Children in this study showed evidence of being active initiators for their literacy attainment. If family were not available for modeling and help, the children looked towards the environment or used materials and resources in their homes. In learning how to overlap in his art work, Johnny learned to be a good observer of models. Johnny observed television and a friend drawing, and he had to really think about what was happening and find help from experts in order to correct what was originally a mistake. I just watched it on television. When I did that, when I drew my man over here, I didn't have enough space to draw the arm. So, I did it this way. When I first saw it, I didn't know what it was, but then I started drawing it, well my cousin drawed it. I just watched him. In addition to his mother's encouragement, sorting cans by the pictures and putting them in stacks helped Buddy remember words and letters. He compared his solution

PAGE 161

152 to reading the words to the image of the pictures. Buddy's mother recalled, It more or less started out as a joke. The child wasn't more than 18 months old and we'd go buy groceries and when we were putting the canned goods up it would be CORN — C — 0 — R — N. Show mama the "c". Show mommy the "o". Show mommy the "r". Show mommy the "n”. YEAHHHH, ok, now go put it up. And he'd put it up and we had stacks. All the corns went in one spot and the beans in another. I really didn't think he had caught on until about 6-months later. I went to take a shower. He was supposed to be taking a nap and I came out and I saw canned goods all over the kitchen and he's sitting on the floor saying, "C-0 — R — N-" and was stacking all the corn up together To learn to read and write words from television, Jamie knew she needed writing supplies with her and that she need to write repetitively. I had paper and pencil by me. And how I learned to write cow and cat, I'd write it down and about like seven times. Yeah, I wrote it over and over. It was like millions of pages. Repetitive reading was a common way children tried to learn to read. They also knew they could gain knowledge by

PAGE 162

153 asking a lot of questions to clarify or strengthen their interpretations. Thomas's mother recalled many transactions that took place during reading. A lot of times, he would talk about a story or look at it. More than likely, if he could get you to read it again, that's what he would try to get you to do. He'll look through them over and over and memorize it. A lot of times, he would just ask questions about the story. Why did somebody do something in the story? Or usually, it was about the plot, he'd ask. The Pedagogical Methods Employed The home environment described in this study exemplified many facets of the second dimension of cognitive apprenticeship. The six teaching methods described within this dimension fall into three groups. The first three (modeling, coaching, and scaffolding) are essential to cognitive apprenticeship and are considered its core. Children observe and are supported and guided through practice. Peterson and Eeds (1990) stated, "Children learn to make meaning from texts by practicing this action alongside makers of meaning who are more experienced than they are. Children benefit from demonstrations by teachers and classmates who show the way. Practice accompanied by feedback is essential" (p. 18) The next two teaching methods, articulation and reflection.

PAGE 163

154 are designed for children to differentiate particular "expert" skills and to gain conscious control over these skills. The final method, exploration, is aimed at encouraging children to seek and solve their own expert problem-solving processes. Modeling. Coaching, and Scaffolding Modeling, coaching, and scaffolding are at the core of cognitive apprenticeship. Bandura (1989) noted, "modeling can serve as instructors, motivators, inhibitors, disinhibitors, social facilitators, and emotional earousers" (p. 17) In modeling, an expert actually carries out a task so that the child can observe and build a conceptual model of what is necessary to carry out that task (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) For children to value modeling as a resource, there needs to be an intrinsic motivation to do so. Observational learning is based on a social learning theory by Bandura and Walters and Bandura (Lefrancois, 1982) Additionally, according to LeFrancois, observational learning is based on operant conditioning (B. F. Skinner) and is concerned with imitation and reinforcement. Lefrancois described three types of reinforcement. The first type is direct reinforcement of the learner by the model. The second type is inherent in the consequence of the behavior and the third type is termed "vicarious reinforcement." This type of reinforcement also leads the learner to assume that if

PAGE 164

155 the model does something, then some pleasure or reinforcement must be derived from that activity so that it is worth modeling and the learner doing. This type of reinforcement leads to intrinsic motivation as opposed to extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation appeared to be the leading form of motivation in this study. Coaching consists of observing a child attempt a task and offering to help bring the child closer to expert performance. Scaffolding provides a varying amount of support, guided by the teacher, and requires the teacher to carry out the parts of the task that the child cannot yet perform. Fading support during scaffolding helps the child to gradually become independent. Interplay between observation and scaffolding which involves increasingly independent practice aids apprentices in developing self-monitoring and correction skills and in integrating the skills and conceptual knowledge needed to advance toward expertise (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) Observation plays a surprisingly key role in that it aides a learner in developing a conceptual model of the target task or process prior to attempting to execute it. Ausubel refers to this as an advanced organizer (Lefrancois, 1982) A provision of a conceptual model is an important factor in an apprentice's success in learning complex skills without resorting to lengthy practice of isolated subskills for four reasons (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) :

PAGE 165

156 1. A conceptual model provides an advanced organizer. 2. A conceptual model provides an interpretive structure for making sense of feedback, hints, and corrections during coaching. 3. A conceptual model provides internalized guides for periods of relatively independent practice by successive approximation. 4. A conceptual model that can be continually updated through observation and feedback encourages autonomy in reflection. Sometimes, modeling, coaching, and scaffolding were mentioned together to explain how a child learned a particular skill. Charles and his parents made use of repetitive reading and the first three methods (modeling, coaching, scaffolding/fading) They used to read one five times [modeling] until I got it and they used to read another one till it was an easy one that I already knew how to read [coaching and modeling] and then they would just read it to me in case I just forgot a word [scaffolding] Parents and siblings in this study were constantly carrying out tasks that the early learners could not yet perform, and seemed to know when and how to gradually remove their support by fading. Older siblings reported drawing on the

PAGE 166

157 early learner's paper when they were very young, but refusing to when they got older. Instead, they modeled drawing on their own paper with the early learners watching. Gradually the early learners became independent through the fading of support. Families shared reading with the children while the parents were picking out the easier words or passages for the children to read. The early learners were gradually given more and more to read. Gavin's dad seemed to know what Gavin could and could not read. Well, I really encouraged him to start reading books. I would take him and sit down next to him and I would get a book and a real easy book like Dr. Seuss or one of those Berenstein Bear books that say that on the back would say, "Look, Ma, I can read" one of those books. And, I'd get them to him and I'd tell him a word and have him repeat after me, and then after a few times of doing that I d have him read the page that I helped him read [fading]. In an effort to keep Gavin's attention during reading, his father remembered. Whenever we read, we would point to the words. Sometimes he would get tired, and wouldn't want to read anymore. I could see where there was an easy little section coming up and I would say.

PAGE 167

158 "Ok, you read this part and I'll read the next part" [scaffolding]. So to him we were just trading off, but I knew I was reading the hard parts and giving him the easy little parts. Articulation and Reflection The fourth and fifth teaching methods, articulation and reflection, aim at children talking about and gaining conscious access and control over problem-solving strategies. Articulation includes any method used to get children to verbalize the process they are going through as they try to accomplish a particular skill (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) (The current research depended on the accuracy of the children's ability to articulate and reflect on how they became literate.) Reflection enables a child to compare his or her work to others, his or her own work, and eventually the work of an expert (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) As in the first group of teaching methods (modeling, coaching, scaffolding) the second group (articulation and reflection) also sometimes was discussed together. Jamese compared his artwork to his mother's artwork (reflection). He remembered how he started incorporating a blue sky touching the horizon line and was able to verbalize this (articulation) Thomas wanted to know how or if artists remembered the subjects they were going to draw or if they always had to

PAGE 168

159 actually see it while they drew it. Television helped him compare his work to experts (reflection) See, I watch television and one day, it was telling about, it was Reading Rainbow, the first time I saw it and it was telling about crafts like pictures and shaping, pictures that people painted and then it showed people and it mentioned their names. Their art names and then they showed us how to paint and I was right, they do put it in their head and keep it in their head and do it [articulation and reflection] When Jason was asked what help he received at home that assisted him in learning to read, he remembered help from his brother and sister. He recalled using his sister as a reading model (reflection) and indicated he wanted to read like her (articulation) Now, zoo and boo are alike because boo has a "b" at the beginning and an "oo" and zoo has a "z" at the beginning and an "oo." So then I memorized zoo and boo and I named two of my parakeets Zoo and Boo, and Ramsey read me a book. And, then I like, uh, when I was done with the book, I went, "I did it. I did it." Yes, because I had faith in myself, I guess. Because I said to myself, "Look at my sister, she's two grades higher than

PAGE 169

160 me and if she can read why can't I try to read." And, I did that [articulation and reflection]. Reflection involves comparing your work to others. Articulation involves children with formulating and discussing their problem-solving and control processes (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) This study was based on children being able to articulate their problem-solving and experiences involving obtaining literacy for drawing, writing, and reading. When asked what type of things her parents did while they were reading to her, Monica remembered They read to me, and they stopped, and they pointed at the words. And, they talked about the pictures, but sometimes she doesn't point to the words [articulation]. Christopher acguired domain knowledge about reading and writing at the same time while he used his mother as the expert for reflection. He remembered, I tried to make letters and mix up letters and finally I tried "tee" or something like that. "Does tee spell anything?" and she [his mother] said, "No" and one time I said, "does "a" spell anything?" and she said, "What do you think?" Whenever I thought no, she would say, "Yes, that's a word," and that's how I learned to read [articulation and reflection].

PAGE 170

161 Exploration Exploration is the natural culmination of scaffolding and fading. Exploration involves the child setting goals for himself or herself and problem-solving to find the solutions. Jeramy had become a keen observer and explorer of his natural environment. Beginning with sensory sensations and culminating with detailed drawings, Jeramy followed the three steps of Lefrancois (1987) Lefrancois, while describing the best seguence for cognitive learning discussed by Bruner, related the best instructional sequence as, first, experiencing; second, reacting to a concrete presentation of it; and, finally, symbolizing it. In this study, children had become keen observers of people and their natural and man-made environments and were able to symbolize that understanding in their language and drawing. They were curious and initiated interactions with people around them to help solve problems. Jeramy related. See, we have a tree at my house and it looks kind of like this one, cept it has like a big old thing, a big old branch and uh, me and Thomas [his cousin] climb a lot and we look at all the stuff. But we have trouble climbing it sometimes, you know why? There's a whole pile of ants up there. Whoooooooaaaa I hate ants! I just looked at the tree and then I saw a, like a big old root over on this side and I was i

PAGE 171

162 wondering what tree it came from and I looked back. That was the only tree that was nearest to it. And then I thought, well, it's its root. I just thought I'd come back and draw something like it. Cause this isn't just like it. If I was going to draw this tree, really, I'd have to have like the piece of paper turned this tall way and have the tree go whooo [holds his hand all the way up in the air] and it would take half of over here [holds his hand several inches beyond the paper] It would be that big. Melanie, like Jeramy, sought to define her visual environment in her drawings. Lefrancois (1982) supported use of visuals as promoting concept formation with direct or vicarious experiences. Melanie questioned whoever was near her to help clarify her observations. When she was asked how she learned to put individual shingles on the roof she was drawing, her answer was: My dad worked on my house. My dad always puts Christmas lights up there. It was Christmas time. My dad would let me go up there when I was big. When I was little, he told me to stay in the house. When I was big, I looked at the thing that was on there and there was light and sguare shapes. I saw little, urn, things up there. Like when I went up there, there was black sguares

PAGE 172

163 with gray lines between it, like a pattern. I was going down and down and each side. I got this thing from the chimney because it was over there when I went over there. And it wasn't like squares over there. It was over by the back porch. It was gray rocks over there, and I put my face down in it. I wanted to check it out when I was little. Because it was something new and I was learning something. I was like, "What is this thing. Dad?" Jason actively sought difficult books. While reading these books, he became a better reader. He stated that, in his home, The junior books are on the bottom shelf, and the average books are on the middle shelf, and then the senior books are on the senior shelf. The complicated books, I have to climb up the bookshelf like it's the Empire States Building and I have to grab it and climb down. That's a good game, because we can climb up there, grab a book, get down there. Sequencing of Learning Activities There is a need to not only recognize needed skills contained within knowledge, but to also be aware of and guide the constantly changing level of skills for knowledge acquisition. According to Collins, Brown, and Newman

PAGE 173

164 (1989), we need to "support both the phases of integration and of generalization of knowledge and complex skills (p. 484) The authors identified three dimensions that help in sequencing learning activities. The first one involves increasing complexity. With time and experience, more expert skills are reguired to complete each task. The second dimension gradually introduces a wider diversity of skills that are required to complete a task, rather than increased complexity as in the first dimension. The last dimension of sequencing refers to experiencing global before local skills. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) recognized that a consistent, direct sequence of skills is unlikely. Instead, leaps in skill acquisition are more likely while children are learning, integrating, managing, and directing interesting tasks. To help children manage increased complexity, the authors suggested that the teacher, or helper, control the task-complexity. While interacting with children scaffolding should be used to manage the more complex skill levels involved in carrying out the task. Early learners and their families in this study indicated that they sequenced skills by gradually increasing complexity while their children obtained literacy skills. Increasing Complexity Throughout the interviews, early learners, siblings, and parents made comments suggesting awareness of and

PAGE 174

165 attending to issues of sequencing and task complexity. Increasing task complexity refers to the sequencing of tasks and task environments where, gradually, more and more of the concepts and skills required for expert performance are being used (Collins, Brown, & newman, 1989). Melanie's brother realized that, when his sister was young, it was appropriate to draw for her, but as she got older, she should draw herself, using his picture as a model. He stated, I drew on her paper when she was little, but as she got older, I drew on a separate piece to teach her how to draw. Gavin indicated that he remembered his own increasingly complex sequencing of writing skills. Well, sometimes, my mom would just write things. I'd just try to see it but I'd say, "Would you put it in real words?" and she'd do it but first she would do it in cursive. Sometimes I'd ask my mom to do cursive. Cursive, like little words and things and colors and little words like ABCs and then she'd make the letter and then I'd try to do that and I started writing and then I started knowing two words together, like red and orange, and orange-red and you know those colors and then I started. Then I tried to draw pictures and I drew them and I started to learn

PAGE 175

166 to write my real words when I was a 3-year-old, but then I was a 4 -year-old I learned to do lots of things that were hard. Sequencing of skills came naturally to the families in this study. Increasing task diversity was also in evidence. Increasing task diversity refers to a wider and wider variety of strategies or skills being used during the sequencing of tasks. The families in this study sought a variety of sources for the use of literacy. Increasing Diversity Louise's mother specifically mentioned the diverse materials that her family drew upon in helping Louise and Hubert become readers. Their family used a wide range of reading sources to learn to read and write. In addition to books, she mentioned road signs, cereal and cookie boxes, and watching parents write and read while conducting their business at home. Not only were a variety of sources accessed to help learn to read, the children were also witnessing the diversity of uses for reading and writing. Usually Jason and his brother and sister were allowed to choose the books being read to them. Sometimes their mother chose reading materials that the children would not have picked by choosing a much longer or more difficult book or topic for them to hear. They picked very repetitively. In fact, I would have to encourage them to change. Then every

PAGE 176

167 once in a while, I would pick out a long book to read to them. I read The Hobbit to them and I read Rudyard Kipling's stories out of the Jungle Book In fact, I think I read the whole Jungle Book to them. I read the Rikki Tikki Tavi one too. Occasionally I would pick out a longer one, but every night we would read. But, mostly they would get to pick what they wanted, and they would pick out the same thing, over and over. Within the home environments of this study, literacy was obtained or absorbed through everyday life, using as many sources as possible. Usually, literacy was not isolated from context but was used in a variety of contexts and purposes. Literacy was meaningful and useful. Global Before Local Skills Having a chance to apply a set of skills to a problem and its solution before actually being required to generate or master those skills reflected using global before local skills. To provide a conceptual model before and during literacy attainment, the sequencing dimension of global before local skills was necessary. Learning global before local skills allowed the student to make sense of the isolated skills he was learning and provided a clear goal for integration of the skills (advanced organizer) that were to be learned. Since this dimension involved experiencing a conceptual model of how all skills or

PAGE 177

168 strategies will eventually fit together and work (also provided by expert modeling) before actually knowing how to perform all those skills independently, scaffolding, or coaching, becomes necessary. This dimension also allowed the students a model for reflection of their own skills and progress (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) Observation of completed drawings is one way family members focused children on global skills. For example, Marcus witnessed his cousin drawing and completing figures while Marcus was still too young to draw. His cousin's drawings served as models for reflection and provided a goal that made his practicing worthwhile. He remembered. He [his cousin who lived next door] had a lot of GI Joe's and he had ideas from GI Joe's when they come on TV and the commercials and when they go through, he'd draw them and then give them to me and I'd want to trace over them, but I couldn't trace over them yet, because I couldn't draw. I kept practicing and I learned how to draw and then I'd try other stuff and it was easy. Melanie and her brother observed purposeful literacy from their parents. Their parents regularly wrote letters to other people. Eventually, the children were coached by having their parents write what they wanted to say and then copying it. Gradually, they began to write and read independently. Melanie's brother stated.

PAGE 178

169 when I was in preschool or kindergarten we would tell them [parents] what we wanted to write and then we would write it down and then I started writing and then Mel would ask me or mom to start writing and like a year before kindergarten she would start writing stuff. All of the children in this study were surrounded by people who would read to them. They were able to witness and enjoy reading long before they could actually read themselves. Because of this advanced global modeling, these children had a clear goal to strive for as they began to understand and come closer to expert practice. Additionally, they were able to reflect on those expert skills modeled by their family, were able to monitor their own progress, and obtain self-correcting skills. Repetitive reading helped children memorize, reflect, and gradually gain control over reading. Jamie's mother recalled: We had this one ABC book and she was two and we went to my girlfriend's and she (Jamie) was saying, "A is for apple, read and bright," and I knew she wasn't reading it. It's just we had read it so much. She had the whole thing memorized. And, it was like, "B is for bed, where I sleep. It had each letter with a little rhyme for it. My friend went, "ooooooh," and I

PAGE 179

170 said, "Oh no, she's got it memorized," and I started saying it with her. The Sociology of Learning The final dimension of cognitive apprenticeship concerns the sociology of the learning environment. The authors of this theory stated that structuring the learning environment is essential to provide the correct atmosphere for cooperative learning. "These characteristics — the ready availability of models of expertise-in-use, the presence of clear expectations and learning goals, and the integration of skill improvement and social reward — help motivate and ground learning" (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 486). Within this dimension, the authors abstracted five critical characteristics which they postulated affect the sociology of learning. The first characteristic is "situated learning." This involves students using their skills in an environment that reflects the purposes and uses of those skills as they will actually be used in the future. The second characteristic is called the "culture of expert practice." This involves active communication about and actual use of skills with experts who are involved in solving problems and carrying out tasks. The need for "intrinsic motivation" for learning is reflected in characteristic three. Characteristic four, "exploiting cooperation," provides students with additional

PAGE 180

171 scaffolding sources for learning, and characteristic five involves "exploiting competition" for comparison. Within the scope of current research into early learners' literacy environment, the sociology of their environment was a key element. The early learners in this study responded to the sociology of their environment and its needs with enthusiasm. Situated Learning According to Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) situated learning (the first of the five characteristics) serves three main purposes: (a) students come to understand the actual uses and purposes of the skills and knowledge they would acquire; (b) students actively use knowledge within its appropriate context; and (c) students experience the variable conditions under which their skills and knowledge can be applied. Comments of family members in this study indicated that children were habitually involved with situated learning. Respondents comments indicated that a focus on use and purpose was an integral part of literacy learning. That is, early learners acquired literacy skills by actually using them. Johnny's mother helped her child create and then share his art work. We always made his dad cards for holidays. Instead of buying them, we made them. We would

PAGE 181

172 draw things on the cards and I like to make flowers — just doodling, and he saw me do that. Buddy indicated that one way he learned to write, read, and spell was by writing letters to his family with assistance from his sister Misty. Misty recalled. Whenever I was in kindergarten and he was just 3years-old, almost 4, so I said, "Well, well, well what should we do now?" and Buddy said, "I want to write another letter and keep practicing." So, I said, "Ok, we'll write a letter and put it in the mail tomorrow to Grandma Dean," and he said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." "Well," I said, "Do you want to send one to Grandpa too?" and he said, "Ok, let's go write a letter," but he said, "Misty, how do you spell Grandpa," and I said, "It is just like Grandma, but you put a 'p' instead of a 'm'." An additional way of learning to read was the opportunity presented by signs. Jamie remembered, When I had to take my dad to the airport, we had to wait and we saw a jet because my dad had to go real far away from here because his sister was dying. We had to look for signs to drop him off. We were looking all over the road. Literacy through life created situated learning. Everyone around the early learners was responsive to the

PAGE 182

173 children and willing to take the time to model literacy and verbally communicate with them. Children had eager experts helping them. Culture of Expert Practice •'Culture of expert practice refers to the creation of a learning environment in which the participants actively communicated about and engaged in the skills involved in expertise, where expertise is understood as the practice of solving problems and carrying out tasks in a domain” (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 488). Parents and siblings consistently provided models of expert practice for their children. Additionally, the parents and siblings were able to identify, through modeling and discussion, the various processes they were going through as they solved a problem. Peterson and Eeds (1990) distinguished dialogue from lecture as an effective pedagogy: "Dialogue is a process of co-producing meaning. The lecture model places knowledge outside the students for them to passively receive; dialogue recognizes that knowledge is something students actively construct" (p. 21). Jamese's mother drew and painted at home. By modeling and verbalizing what she was doing, she was one of Jamese's expert inspirations. Jamese recalled, I started looking at it and I started drawing this stuff here. I always like to draw the sun over here. Sometimes I draw the sun over here

PAGE 183

174 with clouds surrounding it, like my mom draws. She draws the ocean with little reflections over it. With the reflection in the water and like a real, a real light, light, light, light blue. She uses . her blue is so light, it looks lighter than this. Buddy's older sister. Misty, was the main expert for Buddy. Their mother was the expert for Misty. When Misty was learning to write, their mother recalled Misty demanding explanations. Well, she was always fascinated. She demanded to know. I would be writing. At the time I was taking care of my husband's books and doing a lot of firing and hiring and just a lot of paper work and I did it at the house, and I'd just strew it all over the desk and work on it with her sitting next to me. And she'd say, "What are you writing? What are you doing now?" and if I'd write something, or print it and then go into cursive, she was infuriated. "You're doing this, so I can't read it. I want to know what this is." So that's what got her into the cursive writing too, she was just amazed that it meant the same thing. It was just all stuck together. It was like, I can do that!

PAGE 184

175 Sometimes there was a combination of mechanical and human experts in a child's life. Gavin watched educational television programs. Often, his mother watched with him and was able to discuss the program with him. Gavin's mother remembered, I guess he did watch Sesame Street. That's primarily what he watched. We would watch together. You know, we'd get off on it together. We'd be both down on the floor. Children appeared uninhibited about interacting with a variety of sources for expert guidance. People around them were responsive to their need for assistance. Additionally, families were responsive to the need of the children for motivation. The early learners in this study appeared to be highly encouraged and motivated by the experts around them. Intrinsic Motivation "What moves man? Why does he behave the way he does? This guestion is related to learning theory because explaining how a man learns necessitates answering the question of why he learns" (Lefrancois, 1982, p. 48). "Motivation refers to the choices people make as to what experiences or goals they will approach or avoid, and the degree or effort they will exert in that respect" (Keller, 1983, p. 389)

PAGE 185

176 Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) discussed the importance of promoting intrinsic motivation for learning. Keller believed that if a person is already motivated or interested in a subject and is actively responding, then appropriate feedback and reinforcement (normally considered extrinsic motivation) will help maintain and sometimes increase that behavior. According to Keller (1983) people respond intrinsically to their environment on a basis of actual and perceived opportunities and reinforcements from the external environment. While parents and siblings in this study exhibited a variety of ways of valuing literacy products early learners received reinforcement for their own motivation and efforts. Parents provided materials, used literacy as rewards, encouraged verbally, exhibited a need or dependence for their children's literacy products, displayed and saved products, and distributed their children's literacy products to other caring individuals. Children indicated that they and their literacy products had great worth. Every parent in this study displayed and saved most of their children's literacy products. Luke's mother implied that she saved everything. I have the first picture he ever drawed. I have his very first, the very first thing and he couldn't draw. I think he was 3 years old, and he scribbled around and around and it turned out

PAGE 186

looking like a real rose and he drew a line down from it and he did it with a pink colored pencil, not a crayon, and he made the stem pink too. I hung it up and took it down last year because it was getting so faded [3 years later]. I took it down and put it in his file. It's the first thing he ever done. He kept coming to me and saying, "Mom, when are you going to take that off the wall," and I said, "I'm not." It was disappearing. It was there, but it was disappearing, so I took it down. I didn't want it to fade away. I put it in his file. I have one on each of the kids. It's stuff they do and awards and stuff they get in school, I hang them up. I have all their report cards. I have all the plagues that he's won and she's won up there. I have a picture file of the kids, too, as they grow up. They can look back on those and see how they've changed. Now they like those files. They both pull them out and look at them a lot. They look at those all the time. They can get them all the time. They are in my room. Saved products were made with an abundance of materials. All of the early learners in this study had variety of supplies that were accessible whenever they

PAGE 187

178 wanted. Gavin's father stated that he knew the supplies motivated his son. So he always loved to draw and drawing was something he always wanted to do, so he would get his crayons out and we made sure he had all different kinds of stuff to work with — anything he wanted. I guess the yuppy parent [he is calling himself] who gives their child anything they want for education. Anything there is to stimulate him. I can't think of anything else we did except give him as much interesting stuff we could for him to work with. In addition to drawing and writing supplies, Gavin's mother made sure that he had an abundance of books, buying them and making frequent trips to the library. An important aspect of the trips to the library was that Gavin got to pick out the books he wanted, not what his mother thought he should have. This opportunity for choice was a source for intrinsic motivation mentioned by many parents and children. Gavin's mother stated, We went to the library every week, consistently, and they have a story hour and we d go every week and pick 10 to 12 books and then go home and read every one of them. We'd return and get more and he just had a knack for picking out great stories. He'd pick them out and he was just real

PAGE 188

179 intuitive and they were always neat and I never had to pick them out for him. Literacy itself was often provided as a motivator of intrinsic motivation. Literacy products or events were something wonderful to receive and achieve. Jamie remembered If I read real, real, real good, she'd [Jamie's mother] do something special for me, like read me a book and after she read it, if I was listening, she'd try to make me read it, and I'd try to read it, and I'd read it real good. Gavin's father purposefully sought ways to reinforce his son's motivation with literacy products. The fact is we used to try to make it as positive as possible so that it was always a reward to be able to read. And, by getting something in the mail, I remember what a special thing it was for me to get something in the mail, so I thought, ahh, what a perfect thing to get in the mail, a book because that makes books real special and real fun and real exciting. My whole thing or game plan was to make it as rewarding as possible and even make it a reward. As much as possible, a positive event in his life. And then he had all those books and he'd just sit and read them.

PAGE 189

180 Literacy did not seem to be perceived as work or a job that had to be done. It was play. Jeramy's mother and other members of his family took time and playing using literacy activities with him and his cousin, Thomas. All our sisters were there. I think everybody has played with them with writing and drawing. Early learners were intrinsically motivated in a variety of ways in this study. External rewards were used to reinforce and encourage their children's interest in literacy. Children did not receive artificial praise or gold stars for their literacy activities. Children felt good about their literacy and themselves. Additionally, they were not inhibited about seeking help or cooperation from others. Exploiting Cooperation Cooperative problem solving can be a powerful resource for extending learning. In this study, adults and children provided different models and interactions with early learners. Both sources appeared to be valuable. Many of the children and parents stressed the role of cooperative or collaborative work as the children developed literacy skills. Melanie sought help from her brother, and he in turn actively set out to help her obtain a variety of literacy skills. She was not afraid of criticism and she knew he would help her. Her enthusiasm and need for help appeared to motivate him to draw, write, and read more,

PAGE 190

181 thus refining his own skills while helping her. Ryan, while drawing, remembered. Some of the times she was drawing next to me and sometimes she was drawing the same thing I was and you know some of the time, we'd go around the house and find something we'd like to draw and just draw pictures of it. Ryan's reading skills were also being practiced. He remembered Well, when like I was in kindergarten, I'd like read to mom and Mel would be coming over and listening and then when I got a little older, I would read to Mel occasionally and for a little while, like a few months, I would like read to her every night. Louise has a twin brother. There were many opportunities for she and her brother to cooperate in order to accomplish a task. When asked what kind of things the children read together from their kitchen, their mother remembered, I would send them to the pantry for a particular kind of brand, and could tell how long it was taking them to read them by how long it was taking them in the pantry. There was always stuff they like to eat the most on the bottom shelves of the pantry for a particular brand of cereal or cookies. I like to send them to get

PAGE 191

182 the syrup or something else so they will learn how to identify stuff, and so it will get to where they aren't so dependent on me to do everything for them. Siblings are perhaps better able to address problems they see their brother or sister experiencing because the older siblings have recently experienced the same problem themselves (Holt, 1983) Communication with siblings during cooperative learning helped children gain conscious control over the process they had gone through. While cooperative learning involves going through the process together and communicating that process, exploiting competition involves comparing the separate processes involved in solving a problem. Exploiting Competition Keller (1983) described two types of competition. One type serves power needs. The other type, and the one referred to by Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) serves to inspire the participants to greater degrees of accomplishment. Exploiting competition involves giving students an identical task and then comparing the process they went through to solve the problem. It is important to compare the process and not the product to be effective. Additionally, children need to have comparison skills, so that they do not feel that making an error in a process makes them "dumb." In a few instances, competition as well

PAGE 192

183 as cooperation was part of the environment for the early learners of this study. Jason has a brother and a sister, all of whom are bright and artistic. There was a large hallway in the home that everyone entering had to go through. The three children had a positive attitude and talked about enjoying the hall. Displays were arranged according to originality, creativity, award quality, effort, and child-choice, as well as the product. Their mother described this display area as follows: Well, we have the Hall of Three, where when they merit display we put them up where everybody can see it and you saw Ramsey's one thing he had done this year, it was hanging up in the front room, just as a picture. So, and then we have them all over the refrigerator. If they're not quite Hall of Three quality, but still they're pretty neat, they remain on the refrigerator for a few months until they are kind of forgotten about and then those I usually file and I keep those and they know I keep them. They do, because they go through all my stuff. Louise and her twin brother, Bert, were in competition with each other and with their mother. Their mother recalled two ways they learned to spell.

PAGE 193

184 They [the twins] were constantly asking me how to spell words. A game that we would play in the car was, they were supposed to think of a word that I couldn't spell. It was called "Stump Mommy." Things we would pass by and they would see, like a fence or a horse or a cow. And it got to where, "Ok, ask us!" and I knew which words they knew. So I would ask them the words they knew, while we were in the car. It worked out real good. I guess it is because of their age, but they don't sit real good in cars. When they were 3, maybe 3^, Bert wanted to train [horses] and I thought he was to young for what he wanted to do, so I told him as soon as he could spell trainer, he could. He wanted to real bad and he worked hard. I would write the word trainer for him and he would have to hide that word and write trainer himself, but anyway, she [Louise] was listening to me do this and she said, "I could spell pony" and she spelled it and so Bert [their dad] and I said, "We're in trouble," but she knew how to spell that and we weren't even aware that she could. So, for a while we went through, "If I can spell it, can I have it?"

PAGE 194

185 Nicole who is a year younger than her sister, Jamie, also benefitted from competition. Their mother recalled, It was like when Nicole was 3 she could spell like eight words and she knew her name and was good at spelling. I thought she just said fish, f-i-s-h, and had that memorized but when I'd spell dog, she knew what that was. She knew what she was doing. She learned it from me working with Jamie [her older sister]. She'd feel left out, you know, like Jamie was getting the attention. When they finished the books [Jamie's kindergarten books] and got to bring them home, then I would take them with her [Nicole] and do them. And, the first grade stuff like, I can see Sam [first grade reading sheets], stuff. When she would bring those home, Nicole could read them. "Apprenticeship is the way we learn most naturally. It characterized learning before there were schools, from learning one's language to learning how to run an empire" (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 481) The learning environment described in this study fits into the theoretical framework of cognitive apprenticeship. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) perceived that framework as describing an ideal learning environment and as a "critical lens for evaluating the strengths and weaknesses

PAGE 195

186 of different learning environments and teaching methods" (P491). Summary In this chapter, elements of the home environment that influenced literacy development of early learners in drawing, writing, and reading were described. The means by which literacy in drawing, writing, and reading was acquired shared many commonalities. The major elements or factors that influenced literacy development in this study were (a) kinds of time provided, (b) availability of materials and resources, (c) observations of the environment, (d) influence of modeling, (e) kinds of social transactions during reading, (f) initiation of interaction by early learners, and (g) types of encouragement systems. The study was conducted during the summer of 1990 and spring of 1991 over a 1-year period and resulted in a total of 15 hours and 50 minutes of taped interviews. Interviews were conducted with 20 early learners, and 12 parents and 5 older siblings from 10 families. Interviews were taperecorded for exact translation and typed onto protocols each evening. The interviews generated 247 pages of protocols. Researcher observation during the interviews was also included as data. The data elicited the children's, parents', and siblings' perceptions of particular elements within the home environments that

PAGE 196

187 influenced literacy development in drawing, writing, and reading. Collectively, these data described the early learners' literacy development in the home environment. The theory of cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989, p. 476) provided a theoretical construct and framework for the research. This framework provided four dimensions and a set of characteristics related to each one. Collins, Brown, and Newman's framework for designing learning environments includes I Content a. Domain knowledge b. Heuristic strategies c. Control strategies d. Learning strategies II. Methods a. Modeling b. Coaching c. Scaffolding and fading d. Articulation e. Reflection f. Exploration III. Seguence a. Increasing complexity b. Increasing diversity c. Global before local skills IV. Sociology a. Situated learning b. Culture of expert practice c. Intrinsic motivation d. Exploiting cooperation e. Exploiting competition (p. 476) The Spradley (1979) Developmental Research Sequence Method (DRS) was selected to guide data collection and analysis in this study. Each protocol contained responses of one or two subjects interviewed. Data were organized into domains or categories from these protocols. Additionally, data were divided among responses having to

PAGE 197

188 do with drawing, writing, and reading. These internal structures were analyzed, and relationships across the domains were studied. The formulated domains contained specific and similar information across each area of literacy studied. From these domains, taxonomies were constructed which indicated specific elements in the home environment which promoted literacy development for these early learners. From these taxonomies, the following 17 specific elements were identified: Time Provided 1. Home-care before school 2. Being read to on a regular basis from an early age 3. Time provided other than story time: Time in which parents and siblings colored, drew, wrote, answered questions, talked, told stories, played games, involved with work, and took to library and other interesting places. Materials and Resources 4. Provision of a quantity of commercially made literacy supplies such as paper, crayons, glue, scissors, markers, pencils, pens, books, coloring books, and workbooks 5. Television shows, such as "Sesame Street," "321 Contact," "Reading Rainbow," "National Geographic," and "Mr Rogers Observations

PAGE 198

189 6. Natural environment, such as people, animals, buildings, plants, sunsets, and clouds. 7. Commercial materials, such as grocery labels and road signs. Modeling 8. Positive influences of modeling. 9. Negative influences of modeling. Social Transactions During Reading 10. While reading, children experienced repetitive reading; discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories; tracking; acting out parts; and shared reading. Child-Initiated Learning 11. Responses to children's choices for time, type of transaction, and type of material. Encouragement Systems 12. Provision of materials. 13. Literacy as rewards. 14. Verbal encouragement. 15. Adult dependence on children. 16. Displays that are saved. 17. Distributing products to others. Early learners perceptions of these 17 elements were compared to those of their parents and siblings in order to triangulate data. Socioeconomic status seemed to make no difference in these homes. Four families were classified as upper

PAGE 199

190 economic status, two were from middle economic status, and four were from lower economic status. All the children in this study experienced the pleasure of interested parents, older siblings, and other caring people in their environment who spent time interacting with them. Almost all of the children had been cared for at home rather than in day-care centers when they were preschoolers. Parents and older siblings read to these children from a young age and continued to read aloud after the early learners began attending school. Story time usually occurred in the evenings, before bed, but also occurred throughout the day, depending on the interest from the early learners. People in the lives of the early learners colored and drew for and with them. They answered questions, talked to them in an honest and informative way without using baby talk, told stories, took them to the library, wrote for them, played games, and, in many cases, involved them in their own work. Reading to the children proved to be the most effective when the children chose the time, the book, and decided what type of interaction was to be done. These families also made sure the children had a variety of materials to work and play with. Parents and relatives supplied materials for literacy development that were readily accessible to these children, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Children were provided with supplies such as paper of all kinds, paste,

PAGE 200

191 glue, scissors, crayons, markers, and paint. Books, both purchased and borrowed from a library, were read and left where the children had easy access to them. Selected television programs were also used as a resource and, in many cases, parents and siblings watched television with the subjects of this study. In addition to traditional literacy materials, these parents also used man-made surrounding environments to help their children gain literacy. Parents capitalized upon literacy in the environment using food labels, road signs, and home business supplies to involve children in meaningful literacy experiences. Man-made print within the environment inspired writing and reading, while the natural environment served as a model and inspiration for drawing. Children frequently mentioned observations of their surroundings as a source for modeling, reference, and inspiration, especially for forming specific elements within their drawings. Children sought out and were provided a variety of resources from which to learn. The family itself was used as a resource. Another element of a learning literacy environment was provided by siblings and adults who modeled literacy as it was actually used in life and who coached the early learners on how to draw, write, and/or read. The children used and depended on models, both human and environmental, to learn. While the parents and siblings in this study

PAGE 201

192 were reading to their children, there were different combinations of social transactions that occurred through all of the families. These transactions included repetitive reading; discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories; tracking; acting out stories; and sharing the reading with the child. During this interaction time, there were specific ways of encouraging the children that proved beneficial and motivating for them. Encouragement was a prominent element of literacy development in the homes in this study. Parents encouraged, bragged, displayed, mailed off, and, in some cases, sold their children's literacy efforts. In all cases, parents and siblings provided verbal encouragement, giving honest, specific, and positive feedback. Children were allowed to store supplies, play, work, and display their work in offices, kitchens, living rooms, hallways, parents bedrooms, and their own rooms. Not only did displays encourage the children, displays were used as an inspiration and resource for future projects. The favorite place for displaying children's literacy products was the refrigerator, but several homes had entire rooms decorated with drawings and/or artistic creations and writings. After the displays were changed, many parents saved everything the children made so they could all review it in the future. Products were not just displayed in the homes,

PAGE 202

193 they were also mailed to relatives, given away, or, sometimes, sold. Literacy itself, in the form of books, supplies, or being read to was provided as a reward. Parents taught through encouragement without realizing it. Parents also gave their children a sense of worth through praising and displaying products. Children drew, wrote, and read for their parents. The early learners in this study knew their parents wanted and placed value on what they produced. All the methods used by the families described so far were used as an every day part of life, which was childcentered and child-initiated. Efforts to provide direct instruction for the children typically met with unsuccessful and stressful results. The children learned of their own will, when they wanted, and through every day life and play with their families. The home environments observed in this study encouraged and facilitated emerging literacy and literacy development. The children in this study responded well to this continuing, repetitive, evolving, and involving approach to literacy development. The alphabet was taught, but only for recognition and as part of the writing process, rather than as a reading technique. Letter sounds, in isolation, were never taught in the cases studied. Letter sounds were taught through words, in context. Parents and siblings were constantly modeling

PAGE 203

194 literacy for the early learners. They were seen drawing, writing, and reading in meaningful and purposeful ways, as a natural and expected part of their families' lives. Parents in each home provided space for working and plenty of materials that were easily accessible. When asked, parents and siblings gave their time in a fun, game-like fashion. Through the use of several interactive techniques, children learned without really knowing they were learning. Parents taught without deliberately teaching, while siblings played at being teachers. Both interactions benefitted the younger children and solidified their own skills. Children were encouraged to draw, write, and read, and they knew their efforts were appreciated and had value. There was no doubt in the minds of the children in this study that their drawing, writing, and reading were important The findings of this study gave specific and clear implications for parents and teachers and for future research conducted with early learners. In the following chapter, these recommendations and implications, as well as the relationship of this study to other research, are discussed.

PAGE 204

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Conclusions The purpose of this study was to describe elements in the home environments of early learners that influenced their literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. The results of this study added a needed dimension to the published research on how a young child learns to draw, write, and read. Perceptions from the child, parents, and older siblings revealed what occurred within the home environment during the early years of the 20 target children. The following guestions were used as a guide for the study. Conclusions are provided for each of those questions. 1. What are the perceptions of children about the multiple factors that contributed to their emergent literacy in drawing, writing, and/or reading? Children in this study appeared to perceive parents and siblings to be instrumental to their literacy development in many ways. These children reported they were surrounded by family and witnessed their families involved in and modeling purposeful literacy activities. Early learners said they initiated a variety of literacy 195

PAGE 205

196 activities and interactions and their families responded, encouraged, and spent time with them. Materials were provided by parents and extended family members that the early learners could use whenever they chose. Early learners in this study remembered a variety of ways time was spent with them. The children remembered being read to from an early age and on a regular basis. Their families read books, newspapers, notes, lists, letters, directional road signs, and commercial advertisements such as "McDonald's" and "Pizza for 99 cents." During story time, children recalled several social transactions while stories were being read repetitively; discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories; tracking of print; and shared reading. In addition to reading, they remembered people around them who colored, drew, wrote, answered questions, watched educational television with them, and took them to the library. Early learners also recalled many types of encouragement and support. Early learners made, shared, and sold their literacy products while receiving an abundance of encouragement. In several instances, children seemed to feel their parents "needed" their help to draw and "needed" to be provided with literacy products. Literacy itself, in the form of being read to, was perceived as a reward. The children heard verbal

PAGE 206

197 encouragement. They saw their parents display their literacy products in a variety of places and then save them long afterwards. Additionally, they shared their literacy products by mailing them to extended family members who also displayed and shared them. Children in this study appeared to know, without a doubt, that literacy was important to everyone around them. 2. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of different children? Do their perceptions/ experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development? Four families ran their businesses from their homes. The children in these homes were exposed to and had access to office supplies and the business use of literacy. These children witnessed their mother and father extensively reading and writing. Literacy was a necessary function of living for them. When they entered kindergarten, they were slightly advanced readers and writers but were even better at drawing. Perhaps these children drew (which is generally practiced and acquired earlier than writing or reading) while the parents did necessary writing and reading for their businesses. It seemed that drawing did not require as much adult interaction and was used in several instances in this study to keep the children "busy.

PAGE 207

198 Seven target families provided care for their children at home as opposed to day-care, before they started kindergarten. Those families appeared to have more literacy activities that were separated from the necessary activities of everyday life. Those families had more time to sit down and enjoy literacy solely for enjoyment of the activity and of each other. The three families that did have their children in day-care seemed to involve their children constantly in literacy activities associated with their daily activities. For instance, parents counted and sang ABC's while they were walking up and down stairs. While their mother was standing close by cooking, children were drawing, writing, and reading and interacting with them. Even though these three families appeared to be pressed for time, they reported that they consciously made time for their children. The three children who received day-care could read and write when they entered school; however, they were better drawers than writers or readers. This could have had a developmental explanation, been a coincidence, or it could have been a result of having more independent activities. It is easier to have children draw rather than read to them while cooking dinner or washing clothes. The seven children in this study who could verbalize detailed observations of the environment stood out as exceptional drawers. These children seemed to be able to

PAGE 208

199 articulate their thoughts as they scrutinized details of their environment. Not only could they verbalize these details, they were also able to include them in drawings with accuracy typical of children several years ahead of their age group. Only one early learner was an only child. Two years before he started school his father was home full time with him while his mother attended college. His father, a college professor on sabbatical, reported he was determined for his son to have a head start in school. His emphasis was on reading and math. This early learner entered kindergarten reading on a second grade level. His drawing and writing skills had not been developed before kindergarten 3. What do parents and siblings see as important contributing factors for drawing, writing, and/or reading? Jointly, parents and siblings in this study appeared to perceive many contributing factors to literacy development for the early learners. Parents read to early learners on a regular basis. As the older siblings began school, both parents and siblings read to them. Families reported reading books, notes, lists, letters, road signs, and commercial advertisements such as "McDonald s During story time parents and siblings recalled a variety of interactions including repetitive reading; discussions about pictures, letters, words, and stories; tracking of

PAGE 209

200 print; and shared reading. Their families spent time interacting, involving, and responding to children's choices for time, the type of interaction, and the type of material they wanted. Families reported responding to early learners by reading to them, answering questions, and talking to them. Families colored, drew, wrote, and watched educational television with the early learners. While receiving an abundance of encouragement, early learners made, shared, and sold their literacy products. The children were given specific verbal encouragement and saw their parents displayed their literacy products in a variety of places and saved them for extended periods of time. Additionally, they mailed the early learners' literacy products to extended family members who also displayed and shared them. The early learners were surrounded by interested family members and were able to become participants in families enmeshed in numerous purposeful literacy activities. 4. What are the similarities and differences between the perceptions of parents and siblings? Do their perceptions/experiences focus on different aspects of literacy development and are these reflected in different processes of literacy development? The similarities between parents' and siblings' perceptions of important contributing factors for literacy

PAGE 210

201 development were addressed in answering question 3 Besides the many similarities, there were differences. Parents mentioned several contributing factors that were not mentioned by the siblings or early learners. The parents reported (a) most of the early learners had homecare before entering school; (b) several of the early learners were involved in a family business; (c) while reading, parents acted out parts with voice changes; (d) parents made up games involving literacy; and (e) parents took their children to the library where they were allowed to choose their own books. Generally, parents seemed to allow their children to choose the literacy activity. Siblings were more directive, but drawing, writing, and reading appeared to occur fairly equally between parents and children and siblings and children in most of these homes. Literacy development was processed differently for the early learners by parents and older siblings. Parents provided the materials and typically were more responsive to the early learners, teaching without intention, while the older siblings played school, deliberately taught, and were more directive. Four of the 10 interviewed families had older siblings. One early learner had two older siblings. Of these five older siblings, three were within 3 years of their younger brother or sister. It appeared that all parents interviewed, except one, spent a great deal of time

PAGE 211

202 in responsive interaction with their children, especially their first child. As the older child became school age, the early learners in this study gained an additional source for literacy attainment. The older siblings tended to undertake responsibility in the "teaching" of their younger siblings. The older siblings were more directive than the parents and "played school" on a regular basis with the older sibling being the "teacher" who was in charge of what and when something was taught. Two of the four families with older siblings agreed that the older sibling was the primary source for the early learners' literacy attainment. Those two older siblings reported drawing, writing, and reading with the early learner. When those two early learners entered kindergarten, they could draw better than they could read and write. One family shared responsibility for literacy development of the early learner between the parents and siblings. The mother would draw, write, and read while the two older siblings mainly read to their younger brother. The older children served as models for drawing, but did not try to teach him to draw. That early learner could read, but had an advanced skill for drawing. The fourth and last family with a much older (high school aged) sister claimed no family member helped the early learner. They reported he must have learned by "osmosis." He had many books, was read to when he asked, received encouragement, and watched Sesame Street

PAGE 212

203 every day. This early learner had poorly developed fine motor control, so that he could not draw or write advanced for his age, but could read several words when he entered kindergarten 5. What are the similarities and differences among the perceptions of children and the perceptions of parents and siblings? Of what significance are these similarities and differences? Dat^i across families were very similar with the exception of one family. Luke claimed his sister helped him; his sister said she did nothing. His mother perceived no one in the family helped Luke. One possible explanation for this would be that no one deliberately set out to teach this early learner in the manner that they had years earlier with his older sister. The family had been responsive rather than directive, but believed they should have been directive for him to learn from them. No other family seemed to believe they had to be directive to be effective even though they tried on occasion. He did appear to learn by osmosis, as his sister had suggested, with encouragement from his family. All three of the people interviewed in that family were almost nonverbal and were difficult to interview with any depth. Generally, parents seemed to recognize directive teaching as unsuccessful and stressful after witnessing their children squirm and become nonattentive. Siblings,

PAGE 213

204 even though responsive at times, were generally using different teaching methods than the parents and would usually deliberately use the direct teaching method. None of the early learners verbalized, or appeared to remember any of the directive teaching, as stressful. Additionally, even though the researcher noticed a regression in some of the drawings by the use of easy ''schemas” as opposed to realistic representations, the early learners appeared to be quite proud of their efforts. The early learners did not seem to recognize whether a learning situation was positive or negative. Either they were not able to verbalize a problem, or perhaps it was just not mentioned during the interviews. A possible viable explanation is simply that children trusted their models and aspired to be like them. Parents reported purposefully playing games and using inflection in their voices while reading to their children, yet none of the siblings or early learners mentioned those behaviors. Perhaps parents performed with such ease, integrating these "extras” into normal situations that the children did not recognize them as an extra part of the activity. Only early learners mentioned the importance of observation. As older siblings and parents were not part of this process, logically they would not mention it. However, it is important that children be made aware of the

PAGE 214

205 power of observation. Children in this study recognized the value of observing their environments as an aide to drawing and of observing print in their environments as a key to early successes in reading. Summary The three areas of literacy examined in this study developed in basically the same way. Drawing, writing, and reading required time; materials; interaction with an adult, sibling, or peer; and encouragement. A specific element used only for drawing was observation of the natural environment, but man-made literacy environments such as road and store signs or package labeling were used as a resource for writing and reading. Reading acquisition required specific elements such as being read to from an early age and on a regular basis with specific interaction techniques. Children's writing benefitted from seeing the letters and words in use, and their drawing skills benefitted from seeing pictures that accompanied stories. It appeared each area of literacy was enriched by exposure to other areas of literacy. The home environment alone, however, does not seem to be the entire explanation for advanced literacy development. The nature of the child also seemed to be an important factor. Children in this study took the initiative for their own learning. They wanted to draw. write, read, and interact with family members. Their

PAGE 215

206 families responded to the early learners and then the early learners responded to them in an unending cycle. \ In other words, family members encouraged and responded but the early learners were equally responsible by initiating and responding to the family and the environment. It is that special dependency and cycle that seems to provide the critical element. In social cognitive theory, according to Bandura (1989), "people are neither driven by inner forces nor automatically shaped and controlled by the environment. As we have already seen, they function as contributors to their own motivation, behavior, and development within a network of reciprocally interacting influences" (p. 6) "People are both products and producers of their environment" (p. 3) Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies The categories and elements for the acquisition of writing and reading skills are well substantiated in the literature. [ However, little literature on how children learn to draw exists.^ The present study added a needed dimension to the published research on how a young child acquires drawing skills, as well as writing and reading ability as part of a total development. Furthermore, in addition to the perceptions of parents and siblings, the early learners' perceptions also were studied. These two considerations had been neglected in previous research.

PAGE 216

207 Time Provided "One precious gift parents can give their children is time. Moreover, time is most effectively used when it is provided regularly" (Rasinski & Fredericks, 1988, p. 508). Most of the elements of an effective emergent literacy environment that were unveiled in this study were found in isolated forms throughout the reviewed literature. The results of this study reinforced documenting the importance of spending quality time with children. Previous researchers have examined the amount of time actually spent reading to children and results revealed time to be important in literacy achievement. Parents of gifted children read to their children an average of 21 minutes a day whereas children of average intelligence were read to approximately 8 minutes a day (Karenes, Shwedel, & Steinberg, 1982) Children of parents who were specifically asked to read to their children for 3to 6months prior to kindergarten scored significantly higher on reading readiness tests than children who had not been read to (McCormick & Mason, 1986) Every child in this study was read to on a regular basis. The smallest amount of time reported was 1 hour per week. The largest amount of time reported was 1 hour per day. Several authors (Butler, 1980; Hearne, 1981; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lamme & Packer, 1986; Larrick, 1982; Resnick et al., 1987; Taylor, 1983) added the question, "How soon do

PAGE 217

208 we read?" to "How often should we read?" The parents of the children in Taylor's (1983) study reported reading to their children "as soon as their eyes could focus" (p. 11) Lamme and Packer (1986) suggested reading to a child from birth and Daniel (1991) reported that some studies suggest unborn babies can learn the voices of their parents from the womb. One mother in this study held one baby in her arms while pregnant with the next and said she was reading to both. Every parent read to the early learners in this study from an early age. Moon and Wells (1979) related reading achievement with the quality of parental verbal interaction. The Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986b) postulated that a positive home environment included responsive parents who answered questions about literacy events including language, books, reading, and writing. Lass (1982) indicated that virtually all homes of early readers have an interested available adult or older sibling to answer questions about literacy events and, more generally, about anything in the child's world. Hubbard (1988), in discussing ways to help children with their language and writing development, encouraged frequent opportunities for children to draw, write, do, and discuss things they found interesting. Children of literate homes were allowed to handle and read books (Shapiro & Doiron, 1987) The children in the current study had interested

PAGE 218

209 parents, older siblings, and other caring people who spent time interacting with them. People around the early learners colored and drew for them and with them. They answered questions, talked to them in an honest and informative way without using babytalk, took them to the library, exposed them to a variety of interesting places, wrote for them, played games, and in many cases involved them in their work. Availability of Materials and Resources Many authors (Bissex, 1980; Greaney, 1986; Hess & Holloway, 1984; King & Friesen, 1972; Lamme, 1984, 1985; Lasosa, 1982; Lass, 1982; Manning & Manning, 1984; Slaughter, 1983; Walberg & Tsai, 1984; Wiseman, 1984) stated the importance of having a wide variety of reading and writing materials available to children.^ The need for available art materials was also discussed in the literature (Holt, 1983; Ross, 1982; Schickedanz, York, Stewart, & White, 1983). Every child in this study, regardless of socioeconomic status, was provided with an abundant supply of materials. Extended families helped parents provide some of these materials by giving them as gifts for special occasions. Furthermore, children in many instances were allowed to use adult supplies such as books, colored pencils, pads of paper, computers, and computer paper.

PAGE 219

210 Early learners in this study remembered having many books and obtaining them from a variety of sources. One child claimed he had at least 100 books and they were all over the floor and in his cubby. Another early learner remembered obtaining her favorite book at a yard sale. Children also went to the library, even though one was not located in the vicinity, and they were allowed to choose their own books. Researchers have reported that parents of early readers took their children to the library on a regular basis and sometimes used those trips as a special reward (Hess & Holloway, 1984; Manning & Manning, 1984). Greaney (1986) reported. Exposure of preschool children to reading materials at home is related to proficiency in reading and that parents of early readers tend to purchase reading materials and to take their children to the library frequently. Among 3year-olds, number of books in the home was related to performance on a general achievement test. (p. 816) Observations of the Environment In addition to traditional literacy material, the commercial, man-made surrounding environment was also actively used to gain literacy. Print, within our environment, is practically unavoidable. Television, according to Torrey (1968) provided 40 printed words an hour, shown and pronounced simultaneously. Every child in this study remembered watching television. They reported learning letters, "big" words, simple phrases, numbers, how

PAGE 220

211 to draw and paint, and how to get along with other people while watching educational television programs. Hall (1987), Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984), Isom and Casteel (1986), and Manning and Manning (1984) stated that exposure to signs and logos within the environment, coupled with frequent experiences with writing and reading, significantly cultivate awareness of print. The Early Childhood and Literacy Committee (1986a) noted that, long before children entered school, not only did they see product labels and print on television but they were also exposed to print on buildings and along highways. Potter (1986) saw environmental print as providing a model for children to use in their manipulation and experimentation with letters and words. Weiss and Hagan (1988) supported the importance and influence of environmental print on children by connecting the continual exposure of print to the realization that print had many different uses within meaningful situations. Schickedanz, Hansen, & Forsyth (1990) credited environmental print with helping many 4and 5-year-olds learn most of their capital letters. Children in this study sought out and were provided a variety of resources from which to learn. Half of the children remembered others pointing to road signs and/or grocery labels and then trying to read these words. Parents and siblings interacted with the early learners in this study and spent time with the children.

PAGE 221

212 An additional source for drawing attainment and inspiration was to closely observe the natural environment. Although "learning to see" was discussed by several authors (Lowenfeld & Brittain, 1982; Schickedanz, York, Stewart, & White, 1983; Wachowiak, 1977), there was little documentation of young children actually observing their environment and using those observations to draw. Wachowiak (1977) stated, We learn about the natural and the created environment through observation. But as soon as we give the things in our environment names and make verbal descriptions of them (without drawing them) we lose much of the information we learned through observation. We have reduced them to abstractions. A detailed drawing is much closer to the reality of our visual experience than even the most detailed written description. If we make drawings in order to learn about things, we have to go back to look at the thing itself over and over to see all the details. . Children who grow up solving problems with words rather than dealing with the things miss much of the problem. They tend to be undeveloped in the ability to do visual thinking. Thinking with abstract words is quicker because words are easier to manipulate than complex visual images. Children who grow up not only learning many words but also having many looking, seeing, analyzing, and drawing experiences will have greater understanding and awareness as a basis for solving problems about objects, (pp. 20-21) This research added a dimension not mentioned in previous studies, that is, the natural environment as an inspiration and model for drawing. A possible explanation for this phenomenon might be that data in previous studies were not obtained through interviews with the children, specifically children from a rural environment. Children

PAGE 222

213 in this study used observation to help them develop accuracy in their drawings and could recall in detail their visual discoveries and experiences. Modeling The IRA Position Statement by the Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee (1986a) described a positive literacy environment for early readers and writers as one where parents and other family members engage in reading and writing activities. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) listed modeling as one of the six teaching methods of cognitive apprenticeship. These authors defined modeling as "an expert's carrying out a task so that students can observe and build a conceptual model of the processes that are required to accomplish the task" (p. 481) Morrow (1985) supported the importance of modeling. Similar to the current study, parents of early readers were readers themselves. Harste, Woodward, and Burke (1984) noticed children wanting to engage in writing activities after observing their parents in writing activities. In this study, while one parent was writing for business purposes, her daughter was sitting beside her demanding to know what she was writing. The daughter tried to emulate her mother's writing and her mother believes that helped the child to learn to write and read. Wiseman (1984) stated the best way for a child to learn directionality was through experimentation with writing and observing adults

PAGE 223

214 producing written language. One child in this study talked about watching his mother write his name. He said he tried to "keep it in his head" until one day he tried it but the first time he got it backwards. An example of modeling drawing between peers was observed by Holt (1983). He described two instances where children learned by observing someone a little bit better than themselves and how they strived to achieve what they could see a peer producing. Children were motivated by others who were more advanced, even to the point of trying to add something to their drawing that was not yet in their model's drawing. During the interview process in this study, this researcher repeatedly witnessed children modeling the peer who was being interviewed at the same time. In this study, every child reported observing people of all ages around them whose drawing, writing, and/or reading they modeled. Fields (1988) offered advice concerning children learning to read and write. Teachers can help parents realize they are teaching reading and writing when they read and write for their own purposes, when they read to their children, when they encourage children's free exploration of print, when they write to children, and when they write children's words for them. These informed parents will be able to teach their children to read as well as they taught them to talk. (p. 902) Holdaway (1979) brought attention to children imitating models when he noted how children, while reading aloud, shift the inflection of their voice to resemble that of the

PAGE 224

215 one who usually reads to them. Several parents in this study reported using voice inflections while reading to their children. Daniel (1991) encouraged parents to "do try different voices for different characters to add drama and humor. Vary pitch to add emphasis. Snarl for a villain. Whisper for the heroine trapped in a darkened room" (p. IF) In this study, in addition to parents, most of the early learners used an older sibling, cousin, or neighbor as a model for literacy attainment. The older siblings and the one only-child used adults as their main source for models. All but one of the families interviewed admitted that the primary source for their child's literacy acquisition was that of the older sibling. Gotfried (1984), Greaney (1986), and Taylor (1983) found that parents provided a more stimulating and interactive environment with first-born children than with subsequent children. The older siblings in Taylor's study influenced and helped shape experiences of the younger children. In the current study, both parents and siblings influenced literacy attainment. First-born children received more adult time and interaction while the younger children had a closer to age model. The younger children in this study grew up surrounded by children already in school and doing school-related activities. The younger children were exposed to reading.

PAGE 225

216 writing, and drawing in ways unavailable to the oldest child in a household. Holt (1983) described the closeness in ages of siblings as more conducive to learning than the distance between an adult and child. He noted that children might believe they could never be as good as an adult, so there was no point in trying. While observing children model their drawing after that of a talented classmate. Holt concluded She drew as she did because she liked to look at things and draw them the way she saw them. Art was her way of expressing much of what she was learning about life. It sharpened her eye as well, and gave her an idea of what next to look for. And not only her eye but the eyes of many of her classmates. A number of them, without thinking of it this way, made themselves into a kind of school under her leadership. (pp. 196197) Children who are a little bit older provided examples that were much closer to a young child's reach, that were seemingly obtainable and were worth striving to achieve. Older children understood the language of the young child and could speak in terms the young child understood. Parents sometimes forgot what or how a child learned. Holt continued with an explanation of how guality examples provided by parents were an occasional excellent inspiration, but on a day-by-day basis examples that were close to the level of the child were best. children in the current study seemed to benefit from both child and adult models

PAGE 226

217 Although modeling is well-known for reading and writing acquisition, this researcher found this to also be an exciting and beneficial element to aid in the acquisition of drawing skills. Even though copying is more common in European countries, here in America, unfortunately, adults rarely allow children to copy a picture. Tomie dePaola (1989), in an autobiography, remembered thinking it was "terrible" to be asked to copy. He had been taught from his cousins, who were artists, not to copy. "Real" artists, the young dePaola believed, never copied. This researcher believes this study shows the value of children modeling or copying from other children not only for writing and reading, but also for drawing. Social Transactions During Reading Shapiro and Doiron (1987) indicated, "Children must see models of the skills, as well as have opportunities to participate in literacy events" (p. 265) Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) indicated. Teaching methods should be designed to give students the opportunity to observe, engage in, and invent or discover expert strategies in context. Such an approach will enable students to see how these strategies fit together with their factual and conceptual knowledge and how they cue off and make use of a variety of resources in the social and physical environment. (p. 481) Early learners in this study reported their family pointing to the words, letters, pictures, and "anything they wanted them to" while family members were reading to

PAGE 227

218 them. Lamme and Packer (1986) reported that, if parents did a lot of pointing while reading to their infants, by the time that infant was a year old, the child would start pointing to the text. Infants could begin to take control of the interaction as parents responded by naming objects and words as the child pointed. Most children in Comb's (1987) study began tracking, as they had seen it done, while they pretended to read. One mother in the current study reported seeing her young (non-reading) son sitting on the floor, retelling a story to a younger brother, and following along the lines with his finger. Not only were children read to and interacted with during their story time, the children in this study wanted their "favorites" read over and over. Several authors (Martinez & Roser, 1985; Schickedanz, 1978; Yaden, 1988) credited repetitive reading with giving a child more opportunities to clarify, fill in gaps, and make connections. They indicated the range of a child's responses increased as he or she gained control over a story through repetition. Schickedanz (1978) proposed that children go through a very important memorization process when having stories read over and over to them. They learned first by memory and then by sight as they begin to connect letter/sound correspondence (Wiseman, 1984) Several parents in this study reported their children "appearing" to be reading, although they believed they had

PAGE 228

219 memorized it from being read repeatedly that same story. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) defined coaching as consisting "of observing students while they carry out a task and offering hints, scaffolding, feedback, modeling, reminders, and new tasks aimed at bringing their performance closer to expert performance" (p. 481) They further defined scaffolding as supports the teacher provides the student to help carry out a task. Fading requires the gradual removal of adult support until the student is eventually on his own. Parents in this study seemed to intuitively reduce their support system during literary events. They began as models and gradually involved their child, with support, and eventually the children were reading to them. Parents in this study appeared to be experts at modeling, coaching, and scaffolding. Child Initiated Interactions Regardless of the type of help or the examples around them, children still appeared to learn best when they wanted to learn or when they initiated the interactions. Knowledge is not something that is given to children as though they were empty vessels to be filled. Children acquire knowledge about the physical and social worlds in which they live through playful interaction with objects and people. Children do not need to be forced to learn; they are motivated by their own desire to make sense of their world. (National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1986, p. 20)

PAGE 229

220 Many researchers agreed that literacy develops within the home in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere without actual teaching taking place (Anbar, 1986; Durkin, 1966; Fields, 1988; Hall, 1987; Lass, 1982; Nurss & Hough, 1986; Potter, 1986; Silvern, 1985; Taylor, 1983; Werner & Strother, 1987; Willert & Kamii, 1985; Zirkelbach, 1984). Lass (1982) pointed out that it is not pushy parents but pushy children that initiate reading interactions. "Indeed, while many people believe that early reading is thrust upon children by pushy parents, the converse seems to be true: Interested toddlers and preschoolers insist on help in reading the print in their environment" (p. 21) In Lass's research on her own son's learning to read, she admitted she knew how to teach reading, but that at no time did she or anyone else actually instruct him. Learning took place, but it was incidental. He was read to when he was in the mood. Materials, as well as educational television were available. Questions that he asked about literacy were answered. Taylor (1983) reported parents' frustration when trying to actually teach their children to read or learn the alphabet. Several parents in this study expressed the same frustration. The children involved in Taylor's study did learn to read and write early, but learning occurred when and how the child wanted. Children in this study initiated learning interactions with their families. Every time this researcher asked a child who

PAGE 230

221 initiated any literacy activity, the answer was always "I did.” Families in this study, particularly the parents, were responsive to the early learners. Taylor stated it is not uncommon for school-related activities to be resisted by children if they are not personal and meaningful to the child. The role of interest, purpose, and choice in early literacy was stated by Rasinski (1988), The role of self-initiated purpose and ownership of learning to read and write has been glossed over for much too long. They are casualties in the fight to, ostensibly, make learning to read and write easier for children. Yet, ironically, by sacrificing the child's own purpose and ownership in the name of instructional efficiency and simplicity we have truly made the task more abstract, more distant, and more unreachable. (p. 400) Reading and providing interaction time, providing literacy models, and providing the necessary materials while a child became involved on his or her own terms, helped create an atmosphere for literacy for the children in this study. Parents attitudes and ways of encouraging literacy attempts of the children also affected how the children became literate. Encouragement Systems Silvern (1985) made a distinction between pushing and encouraging. Silvern proposed that children who are expected to learn to read and are rewarded for that achievement with praise and reading-related activities have higher achievement scores and more positive attitudes toward reading. Reading-related activities could include

PAGE 231

222 taking trips to the library, buying a new book, or having a special story time. Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) postulated that children should be intrinsically motivated. The importance of creating learning environments in which students perform tasks because they are intrinsically related to an interesting or at least coherent goal, rather than for some extrinsic reason, like getting a good grade or pleasing the teacher. There is some evidence that when an extrinsic reward is provided for performing a task like reading, students are less likely to perform the task on their own. (p. 489) Early learners in this study did not receive gold stars for their literacy efforts. They initiated their own activities and received encouragement to do so from their families. Every parent in this study gave verbal encouragement to their children. Specific positive elements that they noticed in their writing or drawing were emphasized and discussed. Special reading times, books, drawing and writing supplies, and trips to the library were given as rewards. Literacy products were shared through displays at home, in the neighborhood, and through the mail; in many cases saved for a long time, if not forever. In contrast children who receive excessive pressure or are punished for not reading well have lower achievement scores and less positive attitudes toward reading (Silvern, 1985) Elkind (1981) issued a warning to parents and teachers about pushing children too hard. He stated that a large percentage of children seen by psychologists today are children that have been pushed too much to succeed.

PAGE 232

223 The children in this study were not pushed. In most cases, the children were the ones who initiated interactions. They knew that they, literacy, and their literacy products were important and appreciated. Drawing It is accepted that reading and writing can be helped and encouraged through the use of the categories and elements within this study. It is the researcher's belief, based on experience and this study that the quality of drawing and acceleration of the developmental growth process can also be achieved and encouraged using basically the same techniques. Because there is so little known about art from young children, parents and teachers have, in the past, not been sure how they should interact with children and their art (Schirrmacher 1986) The literature has mixed messages, with a variety of theories. Virtually any degree of questioning, intervention, or coaxing, from none to a great deal, can be found and supported on a theoretical base. Chapter 2 of this dissertation provided an in-depth report of those theories. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of unity in the theoretical literature and there is very little research reported on why or how children actually learn to draw. In addition to the theoretical framework of cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) the dimension of art development in this research was

PAGE 233

224 support by other theoretical literature and added valuable data and insight as to the elements in the home environments of early learners that influenced art development. Within the literature, and in many ways similar to this study, Ross (1982) divided interacting with the child into three categories — motivating, keeping the child going, and evaluating and providing feedback. To help motivate a child, Ross postulated three things are necessary: 1. A child needs an experience that will actually stimulate him or her to express an idea in art. Wachowiak (1977) stated that nothing replaces direct contact or the actual object for an intense experience. One of the main categories within this study, that relates to this motivation element, was children's observations of the environment 2. A child needs to recall an event. Adults can discuss an event with the child using open-ended questions, to help children recall the event. Wachowiak (1977) agreed with Ross and suggested asking how, who, what, why, where, and/or when concerning the event or experience. Within this study, time provided and interaction methods were very important. Parents did not tell the child what to do. Either the parents and/or siblings asked, or the child said what they wanted to do. The parents and siblings then took the time to listen, interact, and/or encourage.

PAGE 234

225 3 Children need to have help in extending their visual awareness. Lowenfeld and Brittain (1982) McFee and Degge (1977), Schickedanz, York, Stewart, and White (1983), and Wachowiak (1977) also discussed "learning to see," within the literature. By bringing a child's attention to specific features of the environment, that child will learn to look selectively at specific features. The best drawers in this study had learned to keenly observe their environment. They seemed to be able to incorporate these observations into their drawings and could verbalize their experiences. Some of these children recalled observing on their own, with no help, while other children had particular features of the environment, such as fall leaves, pointed out to them. Wachowiak (1977) added a fourth requirement for motivating a child which Ross (1982) separated into a different category of interaction because it occurs while the child is involved with the process and not before. 4. Children need visual stimulation. Actual artifacts, pictures, posters, and/or color reproductions of art work are all good references for children to look at and help their memory. To keep a child going while working on a project, Ross (1982) suggested asking questions and presenting visuals, to provide the child with necessary material to enable him or her to continue. With the exception of the adult

PAGE 235

226 providing a drawing model, close to the child's level, Ross incorporated all of the necessary categories of this study within her theory and process. Not only did children in this study at some time or another want and need interaction with adults, they also depended on modeling from adults, siblings, and peers. Implications Implications for the Research Community This study represented a combination of the retrospective-interview technigue (Anbar, 1986; Bloom, 1985) and Spradley's (1979) ethnographic interview research model. Because very few studies have included a young child's retrospective view, more studies similar to the present study are necessary for validation of the use of this method. Validation can be obtained by first observing early learners and their families and later interviewing in retrospect to determine if the findings are the same. This type of study could determine if the retrospective technique is valid and should be continued. Some questions generated by this research and linked specifically to the combination of elements and categories in this study include the following: 1. Will these categories and/or elements within them unveiled in this study recur in other studies of literacy development using the perceptions of young children?

PAGE 236

227 2 Are there more categories and elements that emerge as being essential to young children's literacy deve 1 opment ? A structural question about the organizing of the categories and elements within them persisted during the analysis of the data: Were there more important elements, or should they have been different, and are the categories and elements formed within this study consistent with other studies involving drawing, writing, and/or reading? 3. Can these specific categories and elements be linked to other areas of literacy or areas of knowledge? In this study, drawing, writing, and reading developed basically the same way. One of the important questions raised by this study was to see if these categories and elements could be linked to other domains of knowledge attainment. Would music or the other performing arts or science, as well as other domains, be absorbed by young children if people around them were involved with those activities and involving them, offering them materials, and providing them encouragement? 4. More specifically, what are the differences between parent and sibling roles and is one more conducive to literary attainment than the other? In this study, major elements for literacy development were divided into seven categories. Categories were (a) kinds of time provided, (b) availability of materials and

PAGE 237

228 resources, (c) observations of the environment, (d) influence of modeling, (e) kinds of social transactions during reading, (f) initiation of interaction by early learners, and (g) types of encouragement systems. Further research is necessary in order to (a) further define and validate links between art development and writing and reading, (b) further define and validate these categories and elements within them, (c) determine whether these categories are transferable to other areas of knowledge acquisition, and (d) discover if these elements could be incorporated into the classroom curriculum. As a result of this study, many other questions for future research involving young children and their literacy development were raised and there is a need for them to be addressed. In addition to questions pertaining to the combination of elements and categories found within this study, other questions pertaining to individual elements arose and deserve further investigation. Some of these questions include: 1. How does time with teacher/parent/sibling on a one-to-one basis promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading? 2 How does providing more materials and having them readily accessible for children promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading?

PAGE 238

229 3. How does child observation increase refinement of drawing, writing, and reading skills, and how can teacher/parent/sibling promote observation? 4. How does adult modeling and invitational participation of children promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading? 5. How does peer/sibling modeling and invitational participation of children promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading? 6. How does lap reading promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading? 7. Should adults be drawing, writing, and reading with children and how does that promote literacy development? 8. Should peers/ siblings be drawing, writing, and reading with children and how does that promote literacy development? 9. How does a responsive environment (less directing and more encouraging of child initiation) promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading? 10. What are the interaction patterns of early learners with their family and environment and are they critical to literacy development? 11. How does positive encouragement promote children's acquisition of drawing, writing, and reading?

PAGE 239

230 12. How do family members encourage children in literacy acquisition and how do they adjust to the needs of the children for that encouragement? Researchers interested in the literacy development of young children may use the findings of this study in the following ways. They may (a) use similar or the same methodologies for future literacy research with young children, (b) verify elements unveiled in this study or include new elements or variables that give a clearer picture of early literacy development, and (c) answer new questions raised from this study. For years, researchers have looked at children who were slower and less developed. The question of "what went wrong?" was the emphasis. This study sought the answer to what went right in the formative years of certain early learners. The next logical step is to inform unknowing parents and teachers how to put what went right into the lives of all children and not just a few. Examples of possible application for practitioners and parents are suggested in the following section. Implications for Parents Early learners learned from interacting with and observing parents, other family members around them, and their environment. Literacy for the children in this study seemed to be a natural part of their life and the lives of people they cared about. Parents might benefit from

PAGE 240

231 1. Looking at art experiences as worthy literacy events 2. Allowing children to model from adults, siblings, peers, and commercial and natural environments for drawing, writing, and reading. 3. Encouraging literacy events among siblings and older family members. 4. Being observant of children. Parents can learn to pick up on what children are asking and be responsive to their curiosity about drawing, writing, and reading. 5. Including beneficial interactions during story time, based on children's initiations. 6. Incorporating not only domain knowledge into family interactions but also including heuristic control of learning strategies. Creating curriculums that include not only domain knowledge but also including heuristic control of learning strategies, using global before local skills, and increasingly adding complexity and diversity (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) 7. Encouraging the use of literacy (situated learning) with expert modeling and articulating technigues, coaching, and scaffolding/fading as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) rather than isolating literacy events. 8. Encouraging articulation, reflection, and exploration while modeling, coaching, and

PAGE 241

232 scaffolding/fading as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) 9. Encouraging situated learning with cooperation, competition, and intrinsic motivation (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) Implications for Teachers An important implication from this study would be to see if schools can match these home experiences unveiled through this study. If a classroom can reflect the categories and elements of this study within the curriculum, then can the schools fill in the gaps of knowledge, with that curriculum, that most children have because of the lack of these specific experiences before entering school? The children in this study appeared to acquire literacy from observing, interacting with, and using literacy. Simply providing the domains and elements described in this study is not enough to produce an environment with a high level of literacy acquisition. The teaching methods and guidelines provided by Collins, Brown, and Newman (1989) can be used to efficiently guide the introduction and inclusion of these elements within the curriculum. Literacy skills did not develop in isolation of use, but within that use. Based on this study, teachers might consider having their classrooms reflect this type of environment. Implications for classrooms include

PAGE 242

233 1. Looking at art experiences as worthy literacy events. 2 Creating curriculums that include not only domain knowledge but also including heuristic control of learning strategies, using global before local skills, and increasingly adding complexity and diversity as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) 3. Encouraging the use of literacy (situated learning) with expert modeling and articulating techniques, coaching, and scaffolding/fading as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) rather than isolating literacy events. 4. Encouraging articulation, reflection, and exploration while modeling, coaching, and scaffolding/fading as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) 5. Organizing a curriculum based on situated learning with cooperation, competition, and intrinsic motivation as in cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) 6. Encouraging multi-age grouping (similar to sibling interactions at home) in the promotion of literacy development. 7 Creating relationships in the classroom that are more family-like.

PAGE 243

234 8. Trying some responsive teaching (similar to parental teaching) that might be beneficial to the promotion of literacy development. 9 Encouraging social interactions where copying and discussions are allowed as in the home environment. Although this study was limited to drawing, writing, and reading, this researcher believes the findings and implications might extend into most if not all aspects of education, development, and life. Summary Several teachers and parents have intuitively tried different interaction and motivating techniques with children and drawing. Few have been successful and even fewer have written about those successes. This research provides these and future authors a base for drawing acquisition theory. In addition to the other accepted important elements of a literacy environment (time provided, available materials and resources, children initiating learning, and encouragement) it appears that parents and teachers should encourage children to observe their environment. Additionally, children should be encouraged to observe models of drawing and allowed to use those observations in their own drawing. When children were questioned in this study, they were able to identify many elements from their home environments that facilitated their acquisition of drawing, writing, and

PAGE 244

235 reading. It appears to be important for families to be available to help on a regular basis and from an early age. Children apparently benefitted from parents and other family members spending time with them. Families in this study talked, read, wrote, drew, told stories, played games, involved children with what they were doing, and brought attention to and provided explanations of events and their surroundings. Children not only needed people around them spending time interacting with them, they also needed materials to interact with and they had easy access to those materials. Children used a variety of materials and drew from watching other children and adults in every day life, television, and observing their environment. Children sought models not only in reading and writing, but in all areas of literacy. Modeling needs to be both sophisticated from adults and the surrounding environment and a lot of "just a little bit over their level" from peers. Adult and peer modeling should be encouraged. Visual references are a must. Whether at home or in the classroom children need to know all their literacy efforts have worth. Many children almost quit drawing in the classroom or at home when they get the message that drawing is just to fill in time until the "real" work begins. All aspects of literacy need to

PAGE 245

236 ) have equal value, allowing for the different interests and talents within a group of children. This study described the various elements in the home environments of early learners that influenced literacy development with respect to drawing, writing, and reading. It suggested that the three areas of literacy examined in this study developed basically the same way. The responsive home environment alone, however, did not seem to be the entire answer for advanced literacy development. The nature of the child who takes the initiative for his or her own learning also seems to be a determining factor. Additionally, how these interactions occur between a motivated child and the elements within the environment seemed to be critical. Simply providing the elements described in this study to a motivated child did not seem to be sufficient. A transactional teaching method was intuitively used by the families in this study. Cognitive apprenticeship (Collins, Brown, & Newman, 1989) provided theoretical framework for an apprenticeship-like approach to teaching the skills necessary for expert practice in cognitive domains. The transactional teaching methods employed by the families in this study appear to be analogous to the theory of cognitive apprenticeship. It is that special dependency and cycle between child, family, and transactional teaching methods that appears to be critical. The children's perceptions were shown to be

PAGE 246

237 valid by corresponding to those of their parents and siblings and, if experiences stand out vividly over time, there is reason to believe they are important. Where several questions were answered with this study, many more now need to be answered. Future research involving children's perceptions of their developmental and/or literacy environment can bring about a better understanding for the deliberate construction of environments where learning and literacy can flourish.

PAGE 247

REFERENCES Altwerger, B., Edelsky, C. & Flores, B. M. (1987). Whole language: What's new? The Reading Teacher 41(2), 144-154. Anbar, A. (1986) Reading acguisition of preschool children without systematic instruction. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 1, 69-83. Anderson, R. C. (1985). Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading Washington, DC: National Institute of Education. Ausubel, D. P. (1981) Learning by discovery: Rationale and mystigue. Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary-School Principals 45 18-58. Bandura, A. (1989) Social cognitive theory. In R. Vasta, Six theories of child development: Revised formulations and current issues (Vol. 4, pp. 1-60) Greenwich, CT: Jai Press. Beardsley, L. V., & Mareck-Zeman, M. (1987). Making connections: Facilitating literacy in young children. Childhood Education 63.(269) 159-166. Becher, R. M. (1982) Parent education. In H. E. Mitzel, J. H. Best, & W. Rabinowitz (Eds.), Encyclopedia of educational research (5th ed. pp. 1379-1382). New York: Free Press. Beers, J. (1980) Developmental strategies of spelling competence in primary school children. In E. Henderson & J. Beers (Eds.), Developmental and cognitive aspects of learning to spell Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Bissex, G. (1980) GNYS AT WRK: A child learns to write and read Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bissex, G. (1984) The child as teacher. In H. Goelman, A. Oberg, & F. Smith (Eds.), Awakening to literacy Portsmouth NH : He inemann 238

PAGE 248

239 Blank, M., & Sheldon, F. (1971). Story recall in kindergarten: Effect of method of presentation on psycholinguistic performance. Child Development 42, 299-312. Bloom, B. S. (1982) All our children learning New York: McGraw-Hill Bloom, B. S. (1985) Developing talent in young people New York: Ballantine Books. Bogdan, R. C. & Biklen, S. K. (1982). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theory and methods Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Bower, G. (1976) Experiments on story understanding and recall. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 28 511-34. Briggs, C. & Elkind, D. (1977). Characteristics of early readers. Perceptual and Motor Skills 44 1231-1237. Brown, A. (1975) Recognition, reconstruction and recall of narrative sequences of preoperational children. Child Development 46 155-166. Bruner, J. S., Goodnow, J. J. & Austin, G. A. (1957). A study of thinking New York: John Wiley & Sons. Buren, B. von. (1986, January). Improving reading skills through elementary art experiences. Art Education 5661. Butler, D. (1980) Babies need books New York: Atheneum. Carbo, M. (1987) Reading styles research: "What works" isn't always phonics. Phi Delta Kappan 68 431-435. Chomsky, C. (1971) Write now, read later. Childhood Education 47 296-299. Chomsky, C. (1972) Stages in language development and reading exposure. Harvard Educational Review 42 1-33. Clark, M. (1976) Young fluent readers: What can they teach us? London: Heinemann. Clay, M. M. (1972) Reading: The patterning of complex behaviour Aukland, New Zealand: Heinemann.

PAGE 249

240 Clay, M. M. (1975) What did I write ? Aukland, New Zealand: Heinemann. Clay, M. M. (1977) Exploring with a pencil. Theory into Practice 16, 334-341. Cliatt, M. J. & Shaw, J. M. (1988). The storytime exchange: Ways to enhance it. Childhood Education 64 193-213, 217. Cohen, D. (1968). The effect of literature on vocabulary and reading achievement. Elementary English 45 209213, 217. Collins, A., Brown, J. S., & Newman, S. E. (1987). Cognitive apprenticeship; Teaching the craft of reading, writing, and mathematics Champaign, IL: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Collins, A., Brown, J. S. & Newman, S. E. (1989). Cognitive apprenticeship: Teaching the crafts of reading, writing, and mathematics. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), Knowing, learning, and instruction (pp. 453494) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Collins, A., & Stevens, B. (1983). A cognitive theory of inquiry teaching. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design Theories and Models: An overview of their current status (pp. 247-278). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Combs, M. (1987) Modeling the reading process with enlarged texts. The Reading Teacher 40, 422-426. Cryan, J. R. (1984) Artistic and aesthetic development: Considerations for early childhood educators. Childhood education 61(1), 55-63. Cullinan, B. E. Jagar, A., & Strickland, D. (1974). Language expansions for black children in the primary grades: A research report. Young Children 29(2) 98-112. D'Amico, V. (1954) Art for the family New York: Simon and Schuster. Daniel, C. (1991, December 1) Joys of reading aloud. Ocala Star-Banner pp. 1F-2F. DeFord, D. (1980). Young children and their writing. Theory Into Practice 19, 157-62.

PAGE 250

dePaola, T. (1989). Putnam s Sons The art lesson. New York: G. P. 241 Douglass, M. (1978) On reading: The great American fetish. In E. Eisner (Ed.), Reading, the arts and the creation of meaning (pp. 89-109) Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Durkin, D. (1966) Children who read early New York: Teachers College Press. Durkin, D. (1972) Teaching young children to read Boston: Allun and Bacon. Durkin, D. (1974-75). A six year study of children who learned to read in school at age four. Reading Research Quarterly 10 9-61. Dyson, A. H. (1984). Fostering early thinking about print. Reading Teacher 38, 262-271. Dyson, A. H. (1986) Transactions and tensions: Interrelationships between the drawing, talking and dictating of young children. Research in the Teaching of English 20, 379-409. Dyson, A. H. (1988). Appreciate the drawing and dictating of young children. Young Children 43.(4), 5-32. Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee of the International Reading Association. (1986a). IRA position statement on reading and writing in early childhood. The Reading Teacher 39 822-824. Early Childhood and Literacy Development Committee of the International Reading Association. (1986b) Joint statement on literacy development and pre-first grade. The Reading Teacher 39, 819-821. Ehri, L. & Wilce, W. (1985). Movement into reading: Is the first stage of printed word learning visual or phonetic? Reading Research Quarterly 20, 163-179. Eisner, E. W. (1979) The educational imagination New York: Macmillan. Eisner, E. W. (1982). Cognition and curriculum: A basis for deciding what to teach New York: Longman. Elkind, D. (1981). The hurried child: Growing up too fast too soon Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley

PAGE 251

242 Farr, M. (Ed.)(1985). Advances in writing research: Vol. 1. Children's early writing development Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Feldman, E. B. (1982). A sermon on work, language and values. Art Education 35(4), 6-9. Ferreiro, E. (1990). Literacy development: Psychogenesis. In Y. M. Goodman (Ed.), How children construct literacy (pp. 12-25) Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Ferreiro, E. & Teberosky, A. (1983). Literacy before schooling Exeter, NH: Heinemann. \j Fields, M. V. (1988). Talking and writing: Explaining the whole language approach to parents. The Reading Teacher 41, 898-903. Fisher, B. (1991) Joyful learning: A whole language kindergarten Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Flood, J. E. (1977) Parental styles in reading episodes with young children. The Reading Teacher 30, 864-867. Francks, 0. R. (1979). Scribbles? Yes, they are art! Young Children 34.(5), 15-22. Gardner, K. (1970). Artful scribbles New York: Basic Books Gemake, J. (1984) Interactive reading: How to make children active readers. The Reading Teacher 37 462-466. Goetz, E. M. (1979). Early reading: A developmental approach. Young Children 34.(5) 4-11. Goodall, M. (1984) Can four year olds "read" words in the environment? The Reading Teacher 37, 478-482. Goodman, K. S. (1986). What's whole in whole language ? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Goodman, K. S., & Goodman, Y. M. (1979). Learning to read is natural. In L. B. Resnick & P. Weaver (Eds.), Theory and practice of early reading (Vol. 1, pp. 137154) Exeter, NH: Heinemann. Goodman, Y. M. (1984) The development of initial literacy. In H. Goelman, A. Olberg, & F. Smith (Eds.), Awakening to literacy (pp. 102-109) Exeter, NH: Heinemann.

PAGE 252

243 Goodman, Y. M. (1986). Children coming to know literacy. In W. H. Teale & E. Sulzby, Emergent literacy; Writing and reading (pp. 1-13). Norwood, NJ : Ablex. Goodman, Y. M. (1990a). Children's knowledge about literacy development: An afterword. In Y. M. Goodman (Ed.), How children construct literacy (pp. 115-123) Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Goodman, Y. M. (1990b). Discovering children's inventions of written language. In Y. M. Goodman (Ed.), How children construct literacy (pp. 1-11) Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Gotfried, A. W. (Ed.). (1984). Environment and early cognitive development New York: Academic Press. Graves, D. H. (1973). Children's writing: Research reactions and hypotheses based upon an examination of the writing process of seven year old children. Dissertation Abstracts International 34(10) 6255A. (University Microfilms No. 74-8375) Graves, D. H. (1980). Research update: A new look at writing research. Language Arts 57., 913-919. Greaney, V. (1986) Parental influences on reading. The Reading Teacher 39., 813-818. Hall, N. (1987) The emergence of literacy Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Harste, J., Woodward, V., & Burke, C. (1984). Language stories and literacy lessons Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hatch, A. (1990) Young children as informants in classroom studies. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 5, 251264. Hearne, B. G. (1981) Choosing books for children: A common sense guide New York: Delacorte. Henderson, E. H. (1981). Learning to read and spell Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Henderson, E. H., & Beers, J. (Eds.). (1980). Developmental and cognitive aspects of learning to spell N ewar k DE: International Reading Association.

PAGE 253

244 Henry, B. (1974) Father to son reading: Its effect on boys' reading achievement. Dissertation Abstracts International 36 (1975), 41A-45A. (University Microfilms No. 75-13, 990) Hess, R. D., & Holloway, S. D. (1984). Family and school as educational institutions. In R. D. Parke (Ed.), The family Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Hess, R. D., Holloway, S. Price, G. G. & Dickson, W. P. (1982) Family environments and the acquisition of reading skills: Toward a more precise analysis. In L. M. Laosa & I. E. Sigel (Eds.), Families as learning environments for children (pp. 87-113) New York: Plenum Press. Hiebert, E. (1981). Developmental patterns and interrelationships of preschool children's print awareness. Reading Research Quarterly 16.(2), 123-34. Hildreth, G. (1936) Developmental sequences in name writing. Child Development 7, 291-301. Holdaway, D. (1979). Foundations of literacy Sydney, Australia: Ashton Scholastic. Holt, J. (1983) How children learn New York: Dell. Hough, R. A., Nurss, J. R. & Wood, D. (1987). Tell me a story: Making opportunities for elaborated language in early childhood classrooms. Young Children 43(1) 6 12 Hubbard, R. (1988). Allow children's individuality to emerge in their writing: Let their voices through. Young children 43.(3), 33-38. Isom, B. A., & Casteel, C. P. (1986). Prereaders' understanding of function of print characteristic trends in the process. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly 7, 261-266. Jensen, M. A. (1985) Story awareness: A critical skill for early reading. Young Children 41(1), 20-24. Kane, F. (1982). Thinking, drawing, writing, reading. Childhood Education 58, 292-297. Karnes, M. B. Shwedel, A. M. & Steinberg, D. (1982). Styles of parenting among parents of young gifted children Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, Institute for Child Behavior and Development.

PAGE 254

245 Keller, J. M. (1983) Motivational design of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: An overview of their current status (pp. 383-434) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Kellogg, R. (1967). Analyzing children's art Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield. King, E. M. & Friesen, D. T. (1972). Children who read in kindergarten. Alberta Journal of Educational Research 18(3), 147-16. Koeller, S. (1981). 25 years advocating children's literature in the reading program. The Reading Teacher 34 552-556. Koskinen, P. S., Gambrell, L. B., Kapinus, B. A., & Heathington, B. S. (1988) Retelling: A strategy for enhancing students' reading comprehension. The Reading Teacher 41, 892-896. Krippner, S. (1963). The boy who read at 18 months. Exceptional Children 30, 105-109. Lamme, L. (1984) Take time to let children write (Part 1) Children Our Concern 9(1), 9, 23-24. Lamme, L. (1985) Growing up writing Washington, DC: Acropolis Books. Lamme, L. & Packer, A. (1986). Bookreading behaviors of infants. The Reading Teacher 39, 504-509. Lamoreaux, L. A., & Lee, D. M. (1943). Learning to read through experience New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts Landa, J. (1983) The algo-heuristic theory of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional design theories and models: An overview of their current status (pp. 163-211) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Larrick, N. (1982) A parent's guide to children's reading (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Westminster. Lass, B. (1982) Portrait of my son as an early reader. The Reading Teacher 36, 20-28. Lefrancois, G. R. (1982) Psychology for teaching: A bear rarely faces the front (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

PAGE 255

246 Loban, W. (1976) Language development: Kindergarten through grade 12 (Report No. 18) Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 128 818) Lowenfeld, V. & Brittain, W. L. (1982). Creative and mental growth New York: Macmillan. Manning, M. M. & Manning, G. L. (1984). Early readers and nonreaders from low socioeconomic environments: What their parents report. The Reading Teacher 38., 32-34. Marjoribanks, K. (1979). Families and their learning environments: An empirical analysis London : Routledge and Kegan Paul. Martinez, M. & Roser, N. (1985). Read it again: The value of repeated readings during storytime. The Reading Teacher 38., 782-786. Mason, J. (1980). When do children begin to read: An exploration of four year old children's letter and word-reading competencies. Reading Research Quarterly 15(2) 203-277. McCormick, C. E. & Mason, J. M. (1986). Intervention procedures for increasing interest and knowledge. In W. H. Teale & E. Sulzby (Eds.), Emergent literacy: Reading and writing (pp. 90-115) Norwood, NJ: Ablex. McFee, J. K. & Degge, R. M. (1977). Art culture and environment: A catalyst for teaching Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. McGuire, G. N. (1984). How arts instruction affects reading and language: Theory and research. Reading Teacher 37, 835-839. McMullan, K. H. (1984). How to choose good books for kids Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Moon, B. C. & Wells, C. G. (1979). The influence of home on learning to read. Journal of Research in Reading 2, 53-62. Morphett, M. V., & Washburne, C. (1931). When should children begin to read? Elementary School Journal 31, 496-508. Morrow, L. M. (1985) Reading and retelling stories: Strategies for emergent readers. The Reading Teacher 38, 870-875.

PAGE 256

247 National Association for the Education of Young Children. (1986, September). Position statement on developmentally appropriate practice in programs for 4and 5-year-olds. Young Children 41.(6), 20-24. National Committee on Reading. (1925). Yearbook of the United States National Society for the Study of Education Washington, DC: Author. National Council of Teachers of English, The Commission on Reading. (1989, December). Basal readers and the state of American reading instruction: A call for action. Language Arts 896-898. Nelsen, M. R. & Nelsen, J. (1991). Peak with books Longwood, FL: Partners in Learning. Nurss, J. R. (1987) Some indicators of literacy development in prekindergarten: A research report Urbana, IL: Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, University of Illinois. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 287 601) Nurss, J. R. & Hough, R. A. (1986, January). Reading aloud in early childhood classrooms. Dimensions 7-9. Olmstead, P. P., & Rubin, R. I. (1983). Linking parent behaviors to child achievement: Four evaluation studies from the parent education follow-through program. Studies in Educational Evaluation 8, 317-325. Pappas, C. C., & Brown, E. (1987). Learning to read by reading: Learning how to extend the functional potential of language. Research in the Teaching of English 21 160-176. Peterson, R. & Eeds, M. (1990). Grand conversations Toronto: Scholastic Educational Paperbacks. Potter, G. (1986). Commentary: Early literacy development — it's time to align the curriculum with children's developmental stages. The Reading Teacher 39, 628631. Rasinski, T. V. (1988). The role of interest, purpose, and choice in early literacy. The Reading Teacher 41, 396-400. Rasinski, T. V., & Fredericks, A. D. (1988). Sharing literacy: Guiding principles and practices for parent involvement. Reading Teacher 41(6), 508-512.

PAGE 257

248 Read, C. (1971). Preschool children: Knowledge of English phonology. Harvard Educational Review 41(1), 1-34. Resnick, M. B., Roth, J. Aaron, P. M. Scott, J. Wolking, W. D., Larsen, J. J. & Packer, A. B. (1987). Mothers reading to infants: A new observational tool. The Reading Teacher 40, 888-894. Richardson, A. S. (1982, September) Art means language. Art Education 10-12. Romatowski, J. A. & Trepanier, M. L. (1977). Examining and influencing the home reading behaviors of young children Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 195 938) Roney, R. C. (1984) Background experience is the foundation of success in learning to read. The Reading Teacher 38, 196-199. Ross, D. D. (1982) Art for creative communication: A basic in elementary curriculum. Childhood Education 59 22-27. Ross, D. D., & Bondy, E. (1986). Communicating with parents about beginning reading instruction. Childhood Education 63, 270-274. Rowe, G. (1989) Guiding young artists Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Schickedanz, J. A. (1978). Please read that story again. Young Children 33 45-55. Schickedanz, J. A., Hansen, K. & Forsyth, P. D. (1990). Understanding children Mount a inview, CA: Mayfield. Schickedanz, J. A., York, M. E. Stewart, I. S., & White, D. A. (1983) Strategies for teaching young children Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Schirrmacher, R. (1986) Talking with young children about their art. Young Children 41(5), 3-7. Shapiro, J. & Doiron, R. (1987). Literacy environments: Bridging the gap between home and school. Childhood Education 63 263-269. Silverman, S. (1983) Qualitative research in the evaluation of developmental education. Journal of Developmental and Remedial Education 6(3), 16-19.

PAGE 258

249 Silvern, S. (1985). Parent involvement and reading achievement: A review of research and implications for practice. Childhood Education 62, 44-49. Slaughter, J. P. (1983) Big books for little kids: Another fad or a new approach for teaching beginning reading? The Reading Teacher 36, 758-762. Smith, C. B. (1971) The effect of environment on learning to read. In C. B. Smith (Ed.), Parents and Reading (pp. 10-22) Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Snow, C. E. (1983) Language and literacy: Relationships during the preschool years. Harvard Educational Review 53, 165-189. Spradley, J. P. (1979). The ethnographic interview New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Springate, K. W. (1983). Developmental trends and interrelationships among preprimarv children's knowledge of writing and reading readiness skills Louisville: University of Kentucky. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 258 178) Strickland, L. & Morrow, M. (Eds.). (1989). Emerging literacy: Young children learn to read and write Newark, DE: International Reading Association. Sulzby, E. (1985). Children's emergent reading of favorite storybooks: A developmental study. Reading Research Quarterly 20, 458-481. Szekely, G. (1990, Spring) An introduction to art: Children's books. Childhood Education 132-138. Taylor, D. (1983) Family literacy: Young children learning to read and write Exeter, NH: Heinemann. Teale, W. H. (1978) Positive environments for learning to read: What studies of early readers tell us. Language Arts 55 922-932. Teale, W. H. (1984) Reading to young children: Its significance for literacy development. In H. Goelman, A. Oberg, & F. Smith (Eds.), Awakening to literacy (pp. 110-121) Exeter, NH: Heinemann.

PAGE 259

250 Teale, W. H. (1986). Home background and young children's literacy development. In W. H. Teale & E. Sulzby, Emergent literacy: Writing and reading (pp. 173-204) Norwood, NJ : Ablex. Teale, W. H. & Sulzby, E. (Eds.). (1986). Emergent literacy; Writing and reading Norwood, NJ ; Ablex. Teberosky, A. (1990). The language young children write: Reflections on a learning situation. In Y. M. Goodman (Ed.), How children construct literacy (pp. 45-58). Newark, DE: International Reading Assocation. Templeton, S. (1986). Literacy, readiness, and basals. The Reading Teacher 39, 403-409. Torrey, J. (1969) Learning to read without a teacher. Elementary English 46 550-556, 558. Trelease, J. (1982) The read-aloud handbook New York; Penguin. Trelease, J. (1991). Introduction. In M. R. Nelsen & J. Nelsen, Peak with books (p. 1-11) Longwood, FL: Partners in Learning. Tway, E. (1983) When will my child write? Childhood Education 59, 332-35. Wachowiak, F. (1977) Emphasis art: A Qualitative art program for the elementary school New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. Walberg, H. J. & Tsai, S. (1984). Reading achievement and diminishing returns to time. Journal of Educational Psychology 76, 442-451. Webster's seventh new collegiate dictionary (1963) Springfield, MA: G & C Merriam. Weiss, M. J., & Hagen, R. (1988). A key to literacy: Kindergartners awareness of the functions of print. The Reading Teacher 41 574-578. Wells, G. (1985). Preschool literacy related activities and success in school. In D. Olson, N. Torrance, & A. Hildyard (Eds.), Literacy language and learning (pp. 229-255) New York: Cambridge University Press. Werner, P. H. & Strother J. (1987). Early readers: Important emotional considerations. The Reading Teacher 40, 538-543.

PAGE 260

251 Willert, M. K., & Kamii, C. (1985). Reading in kindergarten: Direct vs. indirect teaching. Young Children 40(4), 3-9. Williams, R. (1990) Integrated learning workshops: The balanced writing programs (K-l) teacher training manual Bothell, WA: The Wright Group. Wiseman, D. L. (1984). Helping children take early steps toward reading and writing. The Reading Teacher 37, 340-344. Yaden, D. (1988) Understanding stories through repeated read-alouds. How many does it take? Reading Teacher 41(6), 556-561. Ylisto, I. (1967). An empirical investigation of early reading responses of young children (Doctoral dissertation. University of Michigan, 1967) Dissertation Abstracts International 28/06A, 2153. Zirkelbach, T. (1984) A personal view of early reading. The Reading Teacher 37, 468-471.

PAGE 261

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Sharon Thompson was born in Brunswick, Georgia, and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. In 1971 she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education from the University of Florida, with a minor in music. After teaching art and music in a middle school in Alachua County for 1 year, she moved to Marion County and taught art in kindergarten through fifth until 1983. She served as vice president and then president of the Marion County Art Teachers Association in 1982 and 1983. One year after the attainment of her master's degree in early childhood in 1981, Ms Thompson taught Head Start and one year later began teaching kindergarten. During her first year of teaching kindergarten, she was president of the Marion County Early Childhood Association and organized the conference for that year. Within the following 10 years, Ms Thompson presented numerous workshops describing art as the base for whole language environment at both art and early childhood conferences on district, state, and regional levels. While teaching kindergarten full-time in Marion County Ms Thompson completed her specialist degree in curriculum 252

PAGE 262

253 and instruction with a major in art education (completed in 1985) She has taught the art methods course for elementary majors and the crafts course for occupational therapists at the University of Florida. In 1991, she was recognized by her peers as Reddick-Collier Elementary's "Teacher of the Year." Ms Thompson received her doctorate from the University of Florida in the spring of 1992.

PAGE 263

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education. Linda L. Lamme, Chair Professor of Instruction and Curriculum I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education. Dorene D. Ross Professor of Instruction and Curriculum I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education. Raymond C Fergusoi Associate Professor Emeritus of Art I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education. Arthur P. Associate Professor Emeritus of Instruction and Curriculum

PAGE 264

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Education. This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education. May, 1992 Lynn C. Hartle Assistant Professor of Instruction and Curriculum Dean, College of Edhead: ion Dean, Graduate School