Computer use and letter knowledge in pre-school children: a population-based study

Anne Castles*, Gregor M T McLean, Edith Bavin, Lesley Bretherton, John Carlin, Margot Prior, Obioha Ukoumunne, Melissa Wake, Sheena Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To explore the link between pre-school children's general home computer use and their letter knowledge. Methods As part of the Early Language in Victoria Study, a community cohort of 1539 four-year-old children was tested on letter knowledge as well as on non-verbal intelligence, oral language, articulation and phonological awareness. Performance on these measures was examined in relation to parent-questionnaire responses exploring home literacy environment and the amount of time children spent using the computer. Results A positive correlation between computer use and letter knowledge was found, and this association was still evident after controlling for other cognitive and environmental factors known to predict the development of letter knowledge in young children. Conclusions Greater computer use in pre-school children appears to have a positive association with emerging literacy development. Future research needs to examine the nature of that association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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