Developing Early Literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel
National Institute for Literacy and National Center for Family Literacy
This report presents findings from the National Early Literacy Panel, convened in 2002 to synthesize available research on effective teaching methods and methods of parental support for literacy in children under age five. It expands on the work of the 2000 National Reading Panel to address four areas: skills in young children that predict later literacy success; programs and instructional methods that foster literacy skills; children's characteristics that facilitate or inhibit those skills; and the effect of children's environments on those skills. Six "precursor" skills in particular had significant impact on later literacy if mastered between birth and kindergarten: knowledge of the alphabet; phonological awareness (ability to distinguish between sounds); rapid automatic naming (RAN) of random letters or digits (ability to swiftly name a sequence of them); RAN of objects or colors; ability to write isolated letters or own name on command; and phonological memory (ability to remember spoken information for a short period of time). Other areas like oral language (ability to produce or comprehend spoken words) and reading readiness (defined as a combination of alphabet knowledge, concepts of print, vocabulary, memory, and phonological awareness) were not found to have a consistently predictive effect on later literacy. This bulky and technical report is not itself an easy read; but since it is chock full of helpful advice for educators, we hope a user-friendly guide will be available soon. Meanwhile, find it here.
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