• Electronic Picturebooks: Do they Support the Construction of Print Knowledge in Young Emergent Literacy Learners?

      DuCette, Joseph P.; Schifter, Catherine; Farley, Frank; Carter, Virginia (Temple University. Libraries, 2016)
      This dissertation presents the results of an intervention study examining whether electronic picturebook applications on a tablet computer support the development of print knowledge in preschool age children in low literacy childcare environments. Print knowledge is one of the earliest literacy skills to develop and there is evidence that children who enter kindergarten without this skill are less likely to be reading on grade level two years later (Piasta et al., 2012; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998). Since print knowledge is so critical for later literacy development, it is important to make sure that all children acquire this capacity. The sample for this study consisted of 3 and 4 year old children who attended six low literacy classrooms in four childcare centers located in Delaware and Chester Counties. Classrooms were randomly assigned as either experimental or control. A tablet computer preloaded with interactive electronic picturebooks was added to the experimental classroom for children to interact with during free play. Teachers were told not to use the tablet for individual, small or large group reading and there were no other changes to the literacy environment. Children were allowed to play with the tablet as a free choice activity. There were no changes to the literacy environment of the control classrooms. A pre-test/post-design using the Get Ready To Read Screening tool measured changes in children’s print knowledge learning over the three month period of time in which the study was conducted. The quality of the literacy environment was measured at the beginning and end of the study. Additional data were gathered through teacher and family questionnaires and classroom observation. The frequency and duration of tablet use was also tracked. The results indicate that there were no positive significant differences in print knowledge from pre to post test. This indicates that the teacher is still the most critical component of the emergent literacy environment.