Education and Arts
Children with weak oral language skills are at risk of experiencing difficulty with early literacy acquisition. Intensive small group intervention during the preprimary year has the potential to improve children’s success in developing emergent literacy skills. Education assistants are a potentially powerful resource for supporting students at educational risk. In this study, education assistants at four schools were trained to provide a daily half-hour emergent literacy program to pre-primary students with low oral language skills. The program focused on developing phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge and vocabulary using both explicit and in-context (embedded) learning activities. The students undertaking the program made significant gains on early language and literacy measures. Case studies are presented that illustrate the strengths and limitations of the intervention for children and schools.