Children in kindergarten are reading letters, not their parents, a new study finds.
Photo: Andrew Meares, AAPThe study was conducted by the School Education Research Institute (SERI) and has implications for schools, parents and teachers.
The research found that children in kindergarten, like their peers, have an emotional investment in learning, a need to understand what they’re reading, and a need for guidance.
But the researchers say that as children progress in kindergarten they also need to be encouraged to explore their own ideas.
“They are doing things they don’t understand, and so we need to get them to understand their own thinking,” SERI research director Dr Peter Tapp told AAP.
Children who read letters from their parents are less likely to use their own language in class and have more difficulty understanding words and concepts.
“They’re less likely than other children to actually use their vocabulary and they don,t have that confidence in their own thought process,” Dr Tapp said.
“So we need them to use those words and their own words to actually get into a classroom and get to know what’s going on.”
This could be a key advantage to schools, as children with more access to the internet are less inhibited by their parents.
Dr Tapp’s research has also shown that the more a child has a strong interest in a subject, the more likely they are to use it in their everyday lives.
“It’s really the kids that we’re looking at that we want to see more in the classroom,” he said.
While this study focused on the first year of kindergarten, Dr Toff said that children were reading letters for the first time in their lives before they had any formal schooling.
“[Children] are reading more letters at this age than in kindergarten but it’s still early,” he explained.
“We need to have a lot more conversations about how they’re being taught to use language in the first place and what’s being said.”
The study found that reading letters to a child is a positive step towards understanding the child.
If a child was not being taught about their own reading habits, they would struggle with reading letters and would struggle to understand why they were being asked to do something they didn’t know.
“That was really interesting because there was a lot of anxiety about what the child was going to do,” Dr Taylor said.
“They may be a bit scared or they may be struggling with their own learning and their language.
They were just a bit overwhelmed by what was going on and we needed to make sure that they were having a good time.”
The research was published in the Journal of School Health and Child Development.
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