Pre-packaging preschool literacy: What drives early childhood teachers to use commercially produced phonics programs in prior to school settings

Stacey Campbell*, Jane Torr, Kathy Cologon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Language-rich environments are key to overall quality in early childhood settings, including frequent child-staff interactions around picture books and dramatic play. In a language-rich environment, explicit teaching of literacy concepts, such as phonics, is embedded in authentic and meaningful situations where alphabet letters and sounds are taught in a context meaningful to the child. Recent research, however, suggests that the use of commercial pre-packaged phonics programs (such as Letterland and Jolly Phonics) is widespread in prior to school settings in Sydney, Australia. Little is known about why early childhood teachers choose to use such programs with children aged five and under. In the present study, thematic analysis of data from interviews with five early childhood teachers using commercial phonics programs found that their reasons were pragmatic rather than pedagogical. Motivations included the idea that the programs reduced their workload, provided tangible evidence to parents of their child's 'school readiness', and served as a marketing tool to attract parents. Further analysis found that the teachers were unable to articulate what phonics and phonological awareness are and how they are learnt in early childhood.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-53
    Number of pages14
    JournalContemporary Issues in Early Childhood
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Publisher 2014. The original article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/ciec.2014.15.1.40. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author and according to publisher conditions. For further reproduction rights please contact the publisher at http://www.symposium-journals.co.uk/.

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