A study of factors related to the reading ability of beginning kindergarten children

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Hochstetler, Miriam Elaine, 1934-
Cooper, J. David (James David), 1942-
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of this study was to investigate factors related to the reading ability of beginning kindergarten children. The study purported to investigate the following major components: One, the relationship between two specified sets of variables. Set I included: (1) letter naming; (2) visual discrimination; (3) auditory discrimination; (4) oral language; (5) chronological age; and (6) mental age. Two, the relationship between reading as measured by word call and comprehension, and sex and socioeconomic status was investigated. Three, the relationships between reading and the environmental and developmental characteristics of beginning kindergarten children were examined through child and parent interviews.A word call and comprehension test was developed and given to 1,858 beginning kindergarten children of thirty-one public schools of Delaware County, Indiana. A stratified random sampling procedure was employed. The strata were determined by a combination of raw scores on word call and comprehension according to the various ranges in scores and the number of children available representing each range. An attempt was made to provide proportional sampling for each sex.The instruments used in the sample were: (1) a self-constructed letter naming test; (2) Gates-MacGinitie Readiness Skills Test (visual discrimination subtest) ; (3) Wepman Auditory Discrimination Zest ; (4) Slosson Intelligence Test for Children and Adults (SIT); (5) The Minnesota Scale for Paternal Occupation; (6) eight puppets to elicit oral language samples measured by the T-unit; (7) Child Interview Questionnaire; and (8) Parent Interview Questionnaire. All tests and instruments were administered individually.The data obtained from the Child Interview Questionnaire included: (1) experiences; (2) interests; (3) responsibilities and behaviors; (4) language-speaking experiences; (5) reading-writing experiences; and (6) parent attitudes. The data obtained from the Parent Questionnaire included: (1) family background; (2) home environment; (3) physical--motor skills; (4) behavioral characteristics; (5) preschool language-speaking experiences; (6) preschool reading experiences; and (7) parental attitudes and opinions. The analysis was made on the total sample; comparisons between the upper and lower quartile of the sample were made where appropriate.The statistical procedure used to analyze the data of this study was the canonical correlation which measures the relationship between two sets of variables and permits assessment of the interrelationships among them. One canonical correlation was significant which yielded a chi squared of 97.997 with twelve degrees of freedom value of (p <.0001).The correlation between Set I and Set II variables in this study was .8730 with 38.11 percentage of explained variance in Set I accounted for by variables in Set IT.Variables letter naming, visual discrimination, and mental age tended to have the highest correlation or greatest weight with variables word call and comprehension with letter naming as the major contributor. This would tend to confirm the use of letter naming as a predictor of reading achievement. The five most influential factors that encouragedchildren to take an interest in reading in this study were: being read to; seeing others read; having reading. materials available; viewing television; and curiosity.Children in the upper quartile of the sample who manifested greater degrees of reading ability than children in the lower quartile of the sample tended to come from higher socioeconomic classes; more reading materials were available; family members were seen reading; spoke in sentences earlier; and had less difficulty with verbal fluency or expression.Parents of children in the upper quartile of the sample encouraged interest in reading most often through incidental. learning situations rather than deliberate attempts to teach reading skills. Most parents indicated that they did not foresee any special school related problems because of their child's reading ability prior to kindergarten; children would continue reading on their own; would gain self-confidence; would become better students; and would experience success.Most parents in this study generally felt capable of helping their children with reading. Parents generally believed that children should learn to read prior to kindergarten provided they are: interested; reading occurs naturally; there is ability and potential; and no force is used.