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Effects of a Kindergarten and Home Literacy Program. A Project With Children Living in Poverty in Argentina
Congreso; 2013 SCRD Biennial Meeting; 2013
The study evaluates the impact of a program to promote language and cognitive development for children living in poverty in Argentina. The program, developed based on previous programs (Tabors & Snow, 1989; Borzone et al., 2004), takes educational actions in children?s homes and kindergartens. Activities and materials are designed to optimize the usual tasks in the kindergartens and enhance, through work with the families, the impact of the interactions on child development. These specially designed actions recover the children?s knowledge and language and seek, from there, to broaden their vocabulary, knowledge of the world, discourse strategies, the standard linguistic variety learning and the access to the literacy process. While some of the children participate in the program only in kindergartens (KP), others participate in their homes as well (KHP). Activities carried out at home are intended to generate situations of family literacy. They include the realization of 12 workshops that address the promotion of children?s cognitive and language development in the context of reading situations, rhyming games, writing, and unfamiliar vocabulary. Each family is given a children?s book from the series ?En la casa de Oscarcito? [At Oscarcito's House] (Rosemberg et al., 2008), specially designed to be used in families in which the literacy level of the adults is not high. The texts and activities have been adjusted to ?scaffold? the support that the adult must give the child so that the reading situation can be a real opportunity for knowledge and literacy learning. The evaluation of the program?s impact compares the performance of the children that participated in the KP with those that participated in KHP in receptive vocabulary tests (RV) (Peabody,Spanish version, Vocabulary Test. Dunn & Dunn, 1981), category production (CP) (adapted from Lucariello, Kyratzys & Nelson, 1992), and writing. 214 children participants were evaluated from KHP, 69 from KP, and 49 from a control group. The results showed that the participation in KHP involved a greater increase in RV and CP than the participation in KP. Both groups showed a higher increase in these variables than the control group. No effects of the mother's level of schooling or the previous kindergarten attendance were detected. The results showed significant correlations between all of the analyzed variables and the predictive value of the scores in RV at the beginning of the year with respect to the RV and writing scores at the end of the year. These results, in line with Britto, Fulgini, and Brooks-Gunn (2004) and with Snow (2006), point to the importance of collaborating with the families in the creation of reading and writing situations in their homes to develop vocabulary, expand the children?s conceptual base, and to promote the early access to the literacy process (Ninio & Bruner, 1980; Whitehurst & Valdez-Menchaca, 1998; Borzone, 2005).