Written Language Awareness in Preschool Children from Low-Income Households: A Descriptive Analysis

Justice, Laura M.; Ezell, Helen K.
March 2001
Communication Disorders Quarterly;Spring2001, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p123
Academic Journal
This study examined written language awareness in preschool children from low-income households. A total of 38 preschool children (mean age = 53 months) participated. All children resided in households with incomes that fell at or below federal poverty guidelines; in addition, all children were currently enrolled in a Head Start program. A battery of six measures was individually administered to each child to examine skills in the following areas: print awareness, word awareness, graphic awareness, and metalinguistic awareness. Descriptive analyses of the children's performance on the battery revealed significant gaps in knowledge across all four dimensions of written language awareness. The highest levels of performance were observed with respect to these children's ability to attend to the visual details of letters. The lowest levels of performance were observed with respect to the children's ability to identify contextualized print within illustrations (print recognition) and their understanding of the concept of word as it pertains to written language. This information may be useful for designing early literacy programs to support written language awareness in children from low-income households. Clinical implications are discussed.


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