Learning about letters is an important component of emergent literacy. We explored the possibility that parent speech provides information about letters, and also that children’s speech reflects their own letter knowledge. By studying conversations transcribed in CHILDES (MacWhinney, 2000) between parents and children aged one to five, we found that alphabetic order influenced use of individual letters and letter sequences. The frequency of letters in children’s books influenced parent utterances throughout the age range studied, but children’s utterances only after age two. Conversations emphasized some literacy-relevant features of letters, such as their shapes and association with words, but not letters’ sounds. Describing these patterns and how they change over the preschool years offers important insight into the home literacy environment.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: May 10, 2013
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