This study explored the effects of literacy-rich sociodramatic guided play on kindergarten student literacy performance and behavior. Kindergarten students of varying socioeconomic status attending two elementary schools in the same school district participated in this repeated measures, counterbalanced design study. Students received the mandated grade-level literacy instruction with a supplemental 15 min block of time designated for play-based literacy integration during which the intervention took place. During this short time, students working in small groups were given materials (miniature items, toys, letter tiles) to practice initial letter sounds and consonant–vowel–consonant rhyming word families using either an assigned activity (control condition) or a student-invented game that practiced the same literacy concepts (experimental activity). Students instructed through the experimental condition scored significantly better on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment with a medium effect size. Additional positive academic results included practice in story-composing, sequencing ideas into a complex cause and effect chain of events; application of new vocabulary; repeated practice of phonics and phonemic awareness skills to new examples; self-regulation of emotions; communication and negotiation with peers; and imagination, fantasy, humor, and creativity. Students evidenced preference for the experimental condition, continuing to repeat their games during recess or free time and to record them in their journals. Examples of student-generated literacy games are provided.
SOURCE: Cavanaugh, Dena M.; Clemence, Kimberley J.; Teale, Mikaila M. et al. “Kindergarten Scores, Storytelling, Executive Function, and Motivation Improved through Literacy-Rich Guided Play.” Early Childhood Education Journal (2017) 45: 831. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-016-0832-8
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