Developing UAE Preschoolers’ Emergent Reading Skills through Balanced Literacy Approach

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Khawla Abdalla Alshamsi
Robin Erric Ogdol

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Abstract

Balanced Literacy framework is designed to increase positive outcomes of teaching and enable the teachers to initiate a modeled instruction. This research attempted to create a balanced literacy classroom in UAE kindergarten to test its effects on students’ early reading skills. The objective was to investigate the effects of the balanced literacy approach on the emergent reading skills of kindergarten students, ages 4-6, in the United Arab Emirates through a comparative study between students (Group-A), who received the balanced literacy intervention, and students (Group-B), who were taught using the traditional method of teaching literacy. Mixed methods research design was followed to analyze the effects of the balanced literacy approach. The concepts of print checklist, letter-sound identification checklist, reading log and artifacts were utilized and collected to measure students’ vocabulary growth, ability to recognize names and sound of uppercase and lowercase letters, record and track students’ reading activities, and monitor growing linguistic abilities. Results show that the learners in Group-A outperformed learners who received literacy instruction in the traditional methods. The findings from the concepts of print checklist showed dramatic growth in print awareness skills of students in Group-A. Vocabulary checklists showed steady growth in students' vocabulary after the balanced literacy approach intervention. Results from the letter-sound identification assessment exhibited a substantial increase in their ability to identify names and sounds of letters. Implications from this study indicate the positive effects of the balanced literacy approach on mixed-ability students. Therefore, this study could serve as an impetus for further exploration of balanced literacy to support the reading achievement of students with dyslexia.

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Abstract 61