The European Conference on Developmental Psychology, ECDP.

Atens, Greece,
29 August- 1 September 2019

Presentation: Early Predictors Of Literacy Skills: An Intervention Program For Italian Preschool Children.
Majorano, M., & Bastianello, T. (2019).

In recent decades the number of studies focused on the assessment of early language skills in preschool children has increased considerably, displaying a variety of tasks and intervention programs for families and teachers aimed at facilitating the transition to primary school. However, the efficacy of the various intervention programs is often unclear. The aim of the present study is to assess language skills and to present an innovative intervention program for teachers and families which will support early literacy.

The study, part of a wider project, involves 114 participants (66 males, 48 females) in two groups: the experimental group (78 children) and the control group (36 children). At the beginning of the project the mean age of all the children was 5.6 years (SD = 0.4). The multi-method approach consisted of:  a) testing all the children twice, at the beginning of pre-school (pre-test) and the end of pre-school (post-test); b) in the meantime the use, with the experimental group only, of an intervention program by teachers in the classroom and at home by parents. The language skills of each child were evaluated using a new multi-dimensional instrument (TALK) and the Italian version of the PPVT (Stella et al., 2000).

The results showed a significant increase in receptive vocabulary for the experimental group only [t(58) = -3.259; p=.002]. Moreover, the analysis of the sub-scales of the TALK assessment showed a significant increase for non-words repetition scores [t(42) = -4.795, p <.001], lexical production, [t(42)= -3.400, p = .001], lexical comprehension [t(42)= -3.577, p <.001] and morphosyntactic comprehension [t(42)= -3.532, p=.001].

These results lead to the development of a useful new instrument for teachers and parents that could evaluate the young child’s language skills, enhance her capacities and prevent long-term learning difficulties.

The project “TALK” with number 2017-1-IT02-KA201-03659, under Erasmus+ Programme, was funded with support from the European Commission.

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