Pre-packaging preschool literacy: What drives early childhood teachers to use commercially produced phonics programs in prior to school settings

Campbell, Stacey, Torr, Jane, & Cologan, Kathy (2014) Pre-packaging preschool literacy: What drives early childhood teachers to use commercially produced phonics programs in prior to school settings. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(1), pp. 40-53.

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Abstract

Language-rich environments are key to overall quality in early childhood settings, including frequent child–staff interactions around picture books and dramatic play. In a language-rich environment, explicit teaching of literacy concepts, such as phonics, is embedded in authentic and meaningful situations where alphabet letters and sounds are taught in a context meaningful to the child. Recent research, however, suggests that the use of commercial pre-packaged phonics programs (such as Letterland and Jolly Phonics) is widespread in prior to school settings in Sydney, Australia. Little is known about why early childhood teachers choose to use such programs with children aged five and under. In the present study, thematic analysis of data from interviews with five early childhood teachers using commercial phonics programs found that their reasons were pragmatic rather than pedagogical. Motivations included the idea that the programs reduced their workload, provided tangible evidence to parents of their child’s ‘school readiness’, and served as a marketing tool to attract parents. Further analysis found that the teachers were unable to articulate what phonics and phonological awareness are and how they are learnt in early childhood.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 84075
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: early childhood, literacy, phonics, commercial phonics programs
DOI: 10.2304/ciec.2014.15.1.40
ISSN: 1463-9491
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
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Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 SAGE Publications
Deposited On: 12 May 2015 23:06
Last Modified: 13 May 2015 22:27

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