The purpose of this research study is to identify the impact of interventions and effectiveness in improving student letter recognition and letter sounds. The interventions that were used included: name recognition, name puzzle, identifying names and naming letters in student names using puzzles and sound cards of the whole alphabet: say “L” sound /L/ and beginning sound with the picture (lion).The interventions were conducted in a general education pre-school classroom over the course of six weeks with six inner city students. To begin, learners were subject to a pre-test to determine students’ capabilities without any added strategies. Next, the students partook in various interventions and were their performance was observed on based on the strategy used. The researcher collected data, recorded observations, and used various statistical tools to assess the outcomes of the experiment. Data from the research indicated that the interventions used positively affected students’ ability to recognize letters and letter sounds.
Children at the age of five years are mostly transitioning from informal to formal literacy. This age is critical as it is filled with positive childhood experiences that require nurturing to ensure the kids are ready for school. The kindergarten age is also crucial because the children have different abilities and explore their surroundings to find what they love doing. At this point of transition, some children already have alphabet knowledge and can read and write some words, though others are not well-versed with the letters and their sounds. This age is for identifying sounds and naming the letters and an age where the kids are supposed to master the letters and their sounds. According to Roberts et al. (2018), preschoolers who can name and say the alphabet may not experience challenges acquiring essential reading and spelling of words. Contrarily, if the learners fail to meet the standards set for them, learning at the same pace as others becomes challenging.
Foundational skills are critical in the learning process, especially in the early years of a child. According to Roberts et al. (2018), kindergarten and primary level, learners develop learning challenges if they do not have a proper introduction to letter recognition and sounding of letters. Consequently, they require intensive instruction on foundational competencies and narration to help them improve their reading skills. Roberts et al. (2018) state that each year, the reading proficiency among children shows a declining trend among non-readers as they approach the end of their grade three. This creates a dilemma because most teachers do not consider the importance of letter sound and recognition among pre- kindergarteners. This affects the future learning of the children due to underdeveloped literacy skills. Clemens et al. (2020) have shown the significance of fluency in letter sounds and recognition in early learning years. As a result of such studies, curriculum developers have made many literacy practices for teachers to enhance students’ letters and sound recognition. However, despite the strategies developed to assist in literacy among early learners, there has been little progress.
Recognizing letters and sounding them fluently should be emphasized among pre-kindergarten students to help them attain their needed literacy in their early learning years. However, the consistent problem among learners who fail to acquire the needed skills has become rampant. This is attributed to the fact that most teachers do not have the necessary experiences to help the learners acquire the needed literary skills. At the same time, there are insufficient interventions geared towards increasing such outcomes among young learners. There is a deep link between a young learner’s letter sound and sound recognition knowledge at the start of kindergarten years, which plays a critical role in the learner’s future literacy in reading and writing. Providing tested and proven interventions are critical to finding the best ways to help students through a dedicated approach in which both parties play a role in the language and reading skills. As a result, teachers need to understand and master various interventions to help their young learners acquire literacy skills in their pre-school years. The research will help develop a collaborative intervention that helps teachers acquire the necessary skills to help students with their literacy and at the same time, thus improving letter and sound recognition.
Project Scope and Setting
The research was conducted among pre- kindergartens aged three to five years in a low-income inner-city school. This group’s choice is because most of the children in this age group have an almost similar range of learning abilities and experiences. There are learners aged three who are as sharp as those at age five are, while there are those at age five that have not mastered some skills required of them at age three. This mix matrix provided a way of creating a wholesome understanding of learners’ literacy requirements. In addition, it provided a bottom-up approach intervention that was crucial in helping kids acquire skills as they move from the lower ages and transition to primary school. This setting is crucial as many education systems worldwide start their learning from pre- kindergarten with children aged between three and five years. Pre-primary learning was meant to prepare the kids for formal learning while teaching them foundational literacy skills. Moreover, the interventions that the current research give are easy and flexible, making them applicable to all the demographics of school learning, such as schools with different learners with special needs.
The current proposal is aimed to provide the necessary interventions for sound and letter recognition among young learners by identifying the relationship between intervention strategies and students’ letter and sound recognition. The main research objective is to understand intervention strategies to assist early learners recognize letters and their sounds. The research’s objective is divided into the following specific objectives:
- To identify early learners’ letter and sound recognition skills
- To identify effective intervention strategies that help students recognize letters and their sounds
- To assess if the addition of a letter review of students’ names help students gain letter and sound identification
- To assess if the addition of a daily letter review of alphabet names and sounds, in a small group, help students gain letter and sound recognition
- To recommend intervention strategies that improve students’ letter and sound recognition
Based on the research objectives above, the current research proposal’s main questions:
- What are the exiting early learners’ letter and sound recognition skills?
- What are the effective intervention strategies that help students recognize letters and their sounds?
- Will the addition of a letter review of students’ names help students gain letter and sound identification?
- Will the addition of a daily letter review of alphabet names and sounds, in a small group, help students gain letter and sound recognition?
- What are the recommended intervention strategies to improve students’ letter and sound recognition?
Significance of the Study
The current research assumes that the letter sound and recognition should be emphasized as early as possible to pre- kindergarteners to ensure they acquire early literacy skills. The innovative interventions proposed in the research will assist teachers in effectively delivering curriculum requirements on fluency and letter recognition. In addition, the research will provide valuable information on how teachers can implement the proposed strategies to help kids struggling with recognizing letters and sounding them. Moreover, this research will spread awareness regarding the correlation between learners’ skills in letter identification and pronunciation. This will provide teachers with the needed interventions to help such kids understand how to identify letters and pronounce them, using simple words such as letters in their names. Furthermore, this study will help the current thinking and future direction among educators, thus will be a prerequisite to best practices and interventions that aid early childhood education, mainly in children’s acquisition of literacy skills. The researcher also gain valuable information from the practical aspect of the research and the feedback from peer scholars and educators.
The current research wishes to assess the relationship between intervention strategies, students’ letter, sound recognition, and interventions that can help improve young learners’ literacy skills. Pre-school age is considered a crucial point of learning because the children are becoming more explorative and can learn more new concepts, hence the need for instilling the content that can further enhance their future learning. Therefore, it is crucial to enhance their letter recognition letters and fluency of their sounds. The current research was conducted among pre-kindergartens aged three to five years in a low-income inner-city school to assess how various interventions can help them become successful pre-school learners. The researchers main question was: What intervention strategies can assist early learners recognize letters and their sounds? The outcomes of the research will be crucial in helping various stakeholders to understand the best strategies to adopt to help their learners acquire necessary literary skills that can help them become better readers and writers in advanced classes.
Recognizing letters and their sounds is an issue that affects pre-school students between three and five years old. Stakeholders in the education sector and parents have examined the problem to try to understand how to consider the challenge that has continued to become rampant despite the development of the curriculum from time to time. Scholars and government experts have developed various strategies that have improved how kindergarten learners achieve their literacy skills from time to time. A strong relationship has gradually developed between strategic interventions, pre-school students’ letter, and sound recognition. The evolving relationship has shown how positive approaches have helped many students to overcome the issue and develop fluent letter and sound recognition in reading and writing. In further understanding, the interventions that worked in the past and consequently improved the outcomes, the literature review in the present research will focus on the theoretical framework of early literacy and the conceptual model of the issue. Experts in early childhood learning have associated strategic interventions, pre-kindergarten students’ letter, and sound recognition. These relationships include students’ ability to hear, isolate, and manipulate sound in words, automatic and fluent use of alphabetic principles, and the role of mother tongue in fluency phonemic awareness, among others.
Theoretical Background of the Research
This proposal is for research rooted in some of the major theories on literacy development among kids. Some of the models used in this review include Emergent Literacy Theory and the Bottom-Up model learning theory. These two theories of learning are crucial as they provide the basis for understanding existing learning strategies among kids and the best interventions they require to become fluent and fast readers.
Emergent literacy refers to the development stages a young learner takes before developing the ability to read a text, interact with books, respond to a text, and sometimes pretend to read or write, yet is unable. A child who has attained emergent literacy often shows evidence of oral language skills and is aware of letters, phonology, and print. Terrell and Watson (2018) define emergent literacy as a process that begins from a child’s birth and develops as the child participates in various activities with adults. The child learns to do various activities such as walking, running, jogging, saying words or imitating how to say some. According to Septiani and Syaodih (2021), early learning skills in emergent literacy comprise knowing the alphabet, phonology, communication, and symbolic representation. Septiani and Syaodih (2021) reveal that children may acquire such skills between three and five years, depending on several factors affecting the kids’ learning processes. This accounts for why some learners are less capable of accomplishing basic reading prior to starting their primary-level classes.
While emergent literacy has effectively understood how young children learn, some scholars have found it lacks other key strategies needed in literacy skills acquisition. According to Neumann (2022), the existing frameworks of emergent literacy have only emphasized discrete skills at the peril of the surrounding environment, which plays a crucial role in the learning process. Early literacy skills and their relationships with each other are vital in helping young learners acquire the preliminary skills and awareness they need to be successful writers and readers (Vernon-Feagans et al.,2018). Therefore, the understanding of the emergent literacy model should be one of the fundamental strategies of helping kids identify letters and their sounds.
The Bottom-Up Reading Model
The Bottom-Up reading model forms the basis for the current research because it focuses on letter identification and sounding. While a significant part of the model focuses on words and sentences, its initial focus is on individual letter identification. It emphasizes foundational skills in letter and phonics teaching and letter and word recognition. It thus shows how a child learns to say letters and read a word. The Bottom-up reading model was made on the assumption that reading is a process that involves a child learning letters and understanding meaning. The framework reveals that learners must first understand how letters sound alone and when combined, this makes the whole meaning of a word. The initial emphasis is on the sound of a letter, which prerequisites letter identification.
Tutors who use the Bottom-Up model of reading reveal that young learners become readers when they are first taught to name letters and their sounds, then progress to pronouncing the whole word. It is not a straightforward task to different alphabet naming and sound, though some try to confuse learners. The author states that the initial strategy adopted by teachers using the model often involves reciting and pointing the letters. In this case, it is often considered a two-in-one teaching pattern. Rowe (2018) reveals that most learners can easily say the name of a letter by pointing at it. On the other hand, Kover (2018) reveals that kids’ learning process involves seeing first, then learning to say. Kover (2018) says that kids often listen to what adults say and then try to imitate both action and words. While these two learning approaches tend to differ, they magnify the extent to which it is difficult to differentiate letter identification and sounding.
Learning sounds and letter recognition can be achieved as separate and independent learning outcomes. According to Schwartz (2018), the essence of starting to teach literacy to children aged three years is to understand listening and identifying patterns. Identifying letters such as “O” can be further enhanced by shapes (Ramaraju et al. 2020). This approach makes it easier for young children to learn as they touch while at the same time learning to listen to instruction. Ramaraju et al. (2020) reveal that instruction precedes other learning activities, which is why it should be taught in the earliest years possible. Therefore, the model provides finer details mainly meant to help children learn basic skills and advance as they become older or proceed to higher learning levels, giving the idea of graduated learning outcomes.
The bottom-up reading model has a sequential model that ensures the outcomes of each learning process. While the current study focuses only on sound and letter recognition, the model provides reading fluency. Therefore, for the basis of a full understanding of the sequence, there is the need to discuss the entire process. Firstly, the model starts with print awareness, a prerequisite to reading a word among young learners. According to Ramaraju et al. (2020), young learners without the reading knowledge and skills must understand patterns, shapes, and lines written on a page. The learners must also differentiate regular lines and shapes from actual letters and symbols. According to Erickson and Wharton‐McDonald (2019), the print awareness of the bottom-up reading model is meant to help kindergartens to recognize printed letters and how they give information. Secondly, the model defines letter and phonetics, which teach pre-readers to translate letters into sounds. By identifying letters and their sounds, the learners can become more efficient in joining letters to form words.
When learners become aware of letters and sounds, they can form simple words such as “papa”, man, and “no”. These simple words form the basis for recognizing words printed on paper or any other surface. As young readers begin to recognize phonemes, the preschoolers recognize individual words. When a young learner can recognize a word and say the sound, it shows that the readers have attained the basic letter recognition and sounding and thus can proceed to higher levels of formal learning.
Student’s Ability to Hear, Isolate, and Manipulate Sound in Words
The student’s ability to hear, distinguish, and manipulate sounds in a word is one of the complex yet rewarding approaches to teaching a child literacy skills. Different interventions between pre-school students’ letter and sound recognition have developed a positive relationship as observed by teachers and parents. The relationship, however, differs according to the knowledge and experiences of various scholars. According to Tamis-LeMonda (2019), diverse interventions bring different levels of appraisal depending on the expected outcome from students. Implementing strategic interventions amongst pre-kindergarten students’ letter and sound recognition has birthed positive outcomes. According to Tamis-LeMonda (2019), evaluating different interventions has established a positive outlook in students’ hearing, isolation, and manipulation recognition of letters and sounds. There is an increased level of students’ ability to hear, isolate, and manipulate sound in words (Hill, 2016). Teachers and parents have appraised the implementation of interventions for various observed improvements in their children’s improved letter and sound recognition.
Students who have undergone letter and good reading and writing interventions have improved their abilities to differentiate between letters and sounds manipulated in different words. According to Christodoulou et al. (2017), schools registered the most significant number of students who had the capability of understanding differentiating between letters and sounds in words during summer pre-school intervention programs. However, Christodoulou et al. (2017) differ with Hill (2016) that hearing, isolation, and manipulation in letter and sound recognition is not instant at the first administration of intervention among students. It is undeniable that interventions during students’ early learning promote hearing and automatic letter isolation and recognition. Hill (2016) and Christodoulou et al. (2017) agree on the effectiveness of implementing intervention strategies to increase isolation and recognition among pre-school students. They, however, disagree on the duration of the proposed intervention for change to occur in students. Despite the variation in the outcome of the purported intervention, both authors are linked to the argument that intervention strategies have a strong relationship in promoting students’ capabilities in hearing, isolating, and manipulating sounds in words.
Automatic and Fluent use of Alphabetic Principles
The learning ability of students differs widely depending on several underlying factors. This diversity in the student population makes it critical to help them use diverse interventions meant to achieve the specific and individual purpose. Besides, the expected outcome varies between each student’s letter and sound recognition weakness. Some students have problems maintaining a fluent flow in sound recognition while reading, writing, and pronouncing. Fortunately, this problem is noticeable by teachers and parents, and appropriate intervention strategies establish a helping relationship with students. According to Galuschka et al. (2020), there is a higher expectation in the outcome of students’ recognition of letters and sounds after interventions. Teachers’ and parents’ feedback has helped deduce positive appraisal of various deployed interventions among students. Intervention strategies have created a fluent and automatic mastering of alphabetic principles among early pre-kindergarten students in letter and sound recognition (Verhoeven et al., 2020). These principles allow students to focus and understand texts in different reading as the primary goal of reading.
Early learners face a challenging moment in recognizing different letters and sounds in their pronunciation, reading, and writing activities during their school life. Fluency in constructing and manipulating words in texts becomes complex in their learning. Employment of intervention strategies has liberated the situation by promoting learning alphabetic principles that have facilitated automatic and fluent manipulation of letters and sounds. Spaull and Hoadley (2018) state that the relationship between interventions and students’ letter and sound recognition is the improved fluency in adherence to alphabetical principles. In contrast (Verhoeven et al., 2020), Spaull and Hoadley (2018) state that different students have mastery of alphabetic principles, but fluency is the major problem in recognizing letters and sounds. For this reason, different students have their areas of weakness in the same area of perfection that led to difficulties in recognizing letters and sounds. Verhoeven et al. (2020) support the argument that intervention strategies promote fluency and automatic recognition of letters and sounds in pre-school students. Spaull and Hoadley (2018) agree with the positive relationship between intervention strategies and students’ automatic and fluent recognition of letters and sounds.
Intervention strategies have a strong relationship with students’ improved recognition of letters and sounds. Spaull and Hoadley (2018) and Verhoeven et al. (2020) agree that using intervention strategies increases students’ recognition of sounds and letters in their early pre-school studies. On the other hand, they disagree on the different levels of needs by different students for perfection in recognizing sounds. Although there are variations in the resultant degree of relationship, Spaull and Hoadley’s (2018) and Verhoeven et al.’s (2020) arguments are linked to the fact that intervention strategies strongly correlate in automatic and fluent use of alphabetic principles in pre-school students.
Intervention Strategies that Promote Phonemic Awareness in Pre-School Students, Parents, and Teachers
There is a profound relationship between intervention strategies and students’ recognition of letters and sounds in early pre-school education. Intervention strategies have significantly promoted phonemic awareness in teachers, students, and parents (Catts et al., 2016). Lack of awareness of phonemic problems creates higher potentials for student failure in learning to read and manipulate words. Teachers in early pre-schools are speculative in promoting readiness in reading, listening comprehension, and students’ general intelligence. Parents also get interested in their early children’s intellectual development of speech. In this case, Catts et al. (2016) state that phonemic awareness is more significant to students in their early stages of learning. According to Burns et al. (2017), pre-school students who have undergone appropriate intervention strategies gain high phonemic awareness. They barely make flawed phonemic mistakes in their reading and writing courses.
On the other hand, Burns et al. (2017) disagree with Catts et al. (2016) in that phonemic awareness in students is further propagated by constant practice. Repeated practices increase the efficacy in interventions that lead to awareness prompts to phonemic principles. Parents and teachers who handle students with challenges in recognizing letters and sounds agree that intervention strategies greatly help children get phonemic awareness in differentiating different letters and sounds in words and texts. Catts et al. (2016) and Burns et al. (2017) arguments support the existence of increased phonemic awareness in students who are subjected to appropriate interventions in the urge of a letter and sound recognition.
Literacy Intervention Strategies
Scholars have proposed several interventions to help pre-school learners gain literacy skills. This section discusses the role played by the mother tongue in asserting literacy concepts to children. It also discusses other strategies such as specialized literacy intervention strategies, letter-sound fluency, phonics instruction, and alphabetic knowledge. These interventions are crucial in helping pre-school learners acquire literacy skills that help them become quick readers and writers because they help the children become efficient in identifying and sounding various letters.
Using Mother Tongue to Instruct a Child
Some students worldwide are marginalized and may not be enrolled in traditional schools. While there have been significant efforts from international organizations and local governments to ensure as many students as possible are enrolled in schools, some have remained to depend mainly on traditional education. These children mainly learn their primary language and may find it challenging to become part of the regular school program. According to Sah and Li (2018), kids whose first language is not used for instruction are more likely to fail in their early education than those whose primary language is used in school instruction. However, whether the first language is used in academic instruction or not, it is the optimal language for young learners and those in primary school. Zand-Moghadam and Adeh (2020) reveal several advantages resulting from the use of bilingual education strategies in schools, including social, pedagogical, and psychological outcomes. It helps society to understand and support education, thus minimizing cultural shock for the young learners starting their learning and making the children appreciate their self-worth and identity. Moreover, using bilinguals makes the young learners appreciate their academic success and use their first language fluency to communicate their reading and writing needs effectively.
The mastery of one’s first language is crucial in making the child understand how to say certain familiar words. This is crucial because, in most cases, young learners have control over their language, which helps them learn the concepts used in a second language used in the school setting. Teachers can use familiar words to mimic sounds and letters making such sounds. Names can also be used to give the young learners the idea of letter sounding. According to Ngaka (2021), a child equipped with mother-tongue literacy easily transitions to reading and writing of the first language, followed by the second one. International organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have, since 1953, encouraged educationists to use their mother tongue to instruct learners in primary school (Ngaka, 2021). According to UNESCO, as cited in Ngaka (2021), mother tongue is critical in training children from their birth as this helps to increase their school enrollment and success in their academics. This approach also makes it easier for teachers and parents to communicate regarding learning progress the child makes, thus improving participatory intervention.
Interventions Offering Specialized Literacy
Ordinary class teaching is insufficient to address students’ needs in class. According to Adlof and Hogan (2019), children require specialized interventions to help them learn more literacy skills. Some of the most valuable interventions include using structured approaches to help readers who fail in achieving their tasks. However, the structured approach should also focus on providing balanced approaches that ensure coverage of all curriculum elements developed for a given academic system. However, more emphasis should be put on targeting teaching outcomes through an explicit and systematic system. Adlof and Hogan (2019) reveal that such an approach can involve purposefully using a wide range of strategies that help to meet an individual learner’s needs. The symmetric approach of instructing students has been found effective in teaching phonology. Systematic teaching is sequential, structured, and results in cumulative experience. Moreover, there is a need for expressly focused intervention among students starting their kindergarten studies. Such students require synthetic approaches instead of phonetic ones to find value in what they learn. However, phonetics is also crucial for those students with learning difficulties.
As children become more acquainted with identifying letters and sounds, they also need to start learning analytical skills. According to House (2020), synthetic and analytic phonics are equally critical in the learning process of junior readers. It greatly depends on the teachers to understand their class and find the best ways to address the needs of the students at an individual level. This can help the whole class move as a single unit from one learning level to the next, thus making it easier to achieve the set goals. Children who cannot identify the letter and sounds may face several challenges in the future, especially when the learning activities start to become complex, such as adding two or more letters to make words. The more the students are exposed to certain letters and their sounds, the more they learn these skills and become prepared for advanced literacy tasks. Therefore, the structured approach developed should be one that leads from one level of difficulty to next while at the same time ensuring retention of concepts and use in more complicated activities.
Fluency of Letter Sounds
The fluency of letter sounds is another critical aspect of learning among pre-schoolers. According to Rokhman et al. (2020), the awareness of phonemes and the sounds made by each letter are crucial skills that result in a wide range of students with reading and spelling skills. These result in more student variation than their intelligence, maturity, and listening skills. Vazeux et al. (2020) reveal that early learners with poor phonemic awareness become poor readers when they enter primary school. Students can be assisted to poor reading by using explicit instructions regarding identifying sounds and blending them, together with sound association (Vazeux et al., 2020). These collective interventions, when used strategically and structurally, can accelerate the reading and writing skills acquisition among pre-school kids.
Various scholars have associated phonemic awareness with the decoding and recognition of words. However, there has been no significant relationship between phonemic awareness and letter sounding fluency. Vazeux et al. (2020) reveal that children with poor phonemic awareness in grade 2 became slower readers in higher grades. The spelling difficulties were associated with their poor letter sounding and word reading fluency in their early years. This reveals the need for structured learning in early years and other interventions that can help learners become more sensitive to sounds and letter recognition.
Phonics instruction refers to teaching reading skills that stress students’ letter-sound acquisition. It focuses on phonics to help young learners understand letters’ concepts and how to connect them to form phonemes, eventually. This strategy is crucial in teaching pre-school students to master how the letters they identify are used to make actual words that they say or part of their names. According to Buckingham (2020), this intervention can help kids learn faster because of the fun associated with phonic instructions after they learn to say the sound of a letter. Buckingham (2020) further reveals that students need lessons on phonic instructions to help them understand sounds, syllables, and rhymes for students to become successful readers. The teaching of letter identification and sound should be enhanced by combining familiar words used by the children (Selvarajan, 2022). Early reading instructions should help learners know how to segment and blend sounds and identify some words that start or end with specific sounds that they can pronounce individually as letters. The young learners can also be asked to say some words they know, which have certain sounds that they have learned to help them further understand how letters and their sounds become essential in speech. A systematic approach in the learning of phonics can become crucial in improving the learners’ ability to read simple words before joining the kindergarten.
The Knowledge of the Alphabet
Young learners with a firm foundation in the alphabet become successful readers when they join primary school. According to Roberts et al. (2018), identifying the name of a letter and its sound is a critical gateway for pre-schoolers. These skills can help them acquire advanced knowledge that can become essential in the rest of the curriculum. Roberts et al. (2018) reveal that teachers should have sufficient data on their learners’ mastery of the alphabet and develop a differentiated classroom and instruction to help move the students towards attaining recommended literacy skills. Letter-naming and letter-sounding are related, though sounding a letter becomes challenging at the start, revealing that students need more teaching to help graph the letter-sounding skills. Findings by Piasta et al. (2022) revealed that the intervention needed to help students increase their mastery of letter-sound include increasing session length, minimizing student group size, and focusing more on reciting the alphabet. Therefore, more focus should be put on making the learners more familiar with the sounds of the letters even as the teachers stress their identification.
The Addition of Letter Review of Students Name Help Students Gain Letter and Sound Identification
The addition of a letter review in a students’ name effectively establishes a beneficial relationship between students’ letters and sound recognition. The addition of daily letter review is an intervention that aims to improve and help students gain letter and sound recognition. Thus, the addition of letter review of students’ names plays a significant role in creating students’ gain in letter and sound identification in varied ways and approaches (Burns et al., 2017). Reviewing letter names helps create easiness in the working of alphabetic codes. By reviewing letters in a student’s name, a student learns many possible sounds that a single letter contains and many sounds that emanate from various letters (Hill, 2016). For this reason, students will be able to reference independent letters with the sound it makes.
Letter review is an approach that teaches improved letter sounding than teaching sounds differently. The combination creates a practical value in learning sounds and letters at a glance. Pre-school students who have been trained through reviewing letters tend to understand concepts in sounds and letters, unlike those who learn sound alone at a go (Spaull & Hoadley, 2018). Hill (2016) and Spaull and Hoadley (2018) agree that students who review letters in their names have the highest probability of gaining greater identification of sounds and letters. Therefore, teachers and parents can use such a critical intervention to enable children and students to overcome difficulties realized during letter and sound recognition.
The Addition of a Daily Letter Review of Alphabet Names and Sound, in a Small Group, Help Students Gain Letter and Sound Recognition
The addition of daily letter review of alphabetic names and sounds in a small group plays a significant role in pre-school students’ intervention. It facilitates students’ gain in letter and sound recognition (Christodoulou et al., 2017). Thus, information fed to students should expand daily to increase learning in classwork activities. Learning letters and sounds is a scheme that is helpful to students in improving and eliminating difficulties experienced in recognition of sounds and letters in written and spoken words (Lee et al., 2017). This intervention agrees with Christodoulou et al. (2017)’s argument that adding a daily letter review of alphabet names and sounds is a strategic intervention that serves as a simple remedy to improve affected students. According to Hill (2016), Small groups render listening effectively for the teacher due to reduced interference of noises from other classrooms. Teachers can also reach out to every child and reach children (Catts et al., 2016). Learning in small groups can relate to the study question of reviewing students’ letter names of other children to understand letters and sounds in alphabetic codes.
Students increase their basal understanding of new words and the effective recognition of sounds (Hill, 2016). However, Burns et al. (2017) state that human beings become perfect in their continuously doing in most perspectives. Despite variations in the level of outcome in students, (Christodoulou et al., 2017); Hill, 2016; & (Lee et al., 2017) agree that daily review of more alphabetic letters and sounds is essential in cementing content and knowledge of letter and sound recognition.
The letter and sound recognition problems have become a debate concerning pre-school students. Students who have trouble recognizing letters and sounds in words and reading face writing and isolation of alphabetical sounds. Various stakeholders in education in collaboration with parents have developed intervention strategies and teachers to aid students overcome this problem at a pre-school level. These intervention strategies have a positive relationship with students’ letter and sound recognition. For instance, there is increased student’s ability to hear, isolate, and manipulate sound in words, automatic and fluent use of alphabetic principles, phonemic awareness, a solution to reading problems, and literature on fast readership.
The literature review has addressed the addition of daily letter reviews in students’ names and daily letter reviews of alphabetic names. The addition of daily letter review of alphabetic names and sounds in a small group facilitates students’ gain in letter and sound recognition. The addition of letter review of students’ names plays a significant role in creating students’ gain in letter and sound identification in varied ways and approaches. It helps to create easiness in the working of alphabetical codes. The literature has also revealed the importance of various literacy intervention strategies, which have focused on further skills to stress the mastery of sounds and letter acquisition. There is a noticeable positive relationship between intervention strategies and pre-school students’ letter and sound recognition. Generally, this relation has proven effective in overcoming challenges faced by students in recognition of letters and sounds in words, reading, and writing.
The current research adopted an experimental and descriptive nature. The study was descriptive because it identify how the proposed interventions that effectively increase letter sounding among students and their ability to recognize letters of the alphabet. The study was experimental since it test the various intervention strategies and observe their impacts on the students. The researcher assessed students based on whether they could recognize names, write names, identify upper- and lower-case letters, say the sounds of the letters, identify patterns, colors, and shapes, recognize numbers, rote counts, and 1-1 correspondence, and instructional reading (appendix A). Therefore, the study sought to find an answer to the question: What intervention strategies can assist early learning recognize letters and their sounds?
The proposed research was be conducted in a low-income inner-city school. The class included 6 pre-school students aged between three and five years. There were four boys and two girls, mostly drawn from the surrounding homes. The institution is a public school where pre-school is offered to everyone within the district. The researcher was the sole instructor as other teachers, or the administration was not be involved in the study, even though they will be notified.
Before conducting my research, the researcher sought permission from the district’s education department and administration and following plan of action (Appendix C). After approval by all the responsible leaders, the researcher schedule various tests, use the proposed interventions, and assessed the outcomes. The pre-tests was crucial to help to ensure that the interventions would be effective when administered to the students without harming them. After the pre-test results are confirmed, the researcher had all 6 students undergo the tests while observing the impacts of the interventions.
The students were assessed on letter identification and letter-sound recognition. The researcher meet with each student one-on-one in a quiet classroom to assess him or her. The researcher listed the letters comprising both uppercase and lower-case, and letter sounds with corresponding spots, one for letter identification and one for letter-sound recognition. The first assessment involved upper case letter identification and lower case letter identification (Appendix D and E). The letters were in random order and presented one at a time to the student. The students were required to name the letter; if it is correct, the researcher marked it next to the corresponding letter on the list. When it was incorrect, the researcher put a line through it. The same technique was used for letter sounds (Appendix F). At the end of each assessment, the researcher indicated on the side of the page the number of correct letters that were identified and the correct number of sounds that each student will have recognized (Appendix G). The interventions that used include name recognition, name puzzle, identifying names and naming letters in their name using puzzles and sound cards: say “L” sound /L/ and beginning sound with the picture.
The researcher and the learners spent time sorting the two sets of letters in their name by size – into upper case and lower-case groups. Since the researcher’s groups will be reasonably small, the learners and the researcher will manage work through each student’s name and say each letter and the sound it makes. After sorting the letters by size, the researcher put the students’ names in order, making sure to use the upper-case letter at the beginning and the lower-case letters throughout. Once the names were spelled correctly using the letter tiles, the researcher and the kids said the name, spelled the name, look closely at the arrangement of the letters and then spelled it out one last time. The letter tiles spelling the students’ names were then mixed up, and the students had to work on rearranging the letter tiles to spell their names correctly.
The researcher and students mixed and fixed names a few times before completing a “Letter In My Name” sort. Each student was given a pile of foam letter stickers. The students were required to look through the letters and sort those in their name and those, not in their name. Since most students were still be unsure of all the letters that make their name, they used the work mat from the previous activity as a guide. While students continued sorting, the researcher asked them to identify random letters from the pile. When a student was unsure, the researcher and the students revisited the alphabet chart introduced to them a few weeks prior and find the letter and said its name two times while pointing to the upper case and lower-case letter, the picture that will be placed on the chart, and then the letter sound –such as. A, a, apple /a/. After completing the letter sort, the researcher ended the lesson by looking at their letter tile work mat and spelling their name one last time.
The researcher adopted various statistical tools to analyze the data gathered during the experiment. Primary statistical tools used include percentages and bar graphs. The percentage was used to reflect the proportion of students who have scored specific point’s relative whole number. This gave a rough estimate of how the learners perform based on the interventions utilized. The graphs were used to give a visual representation of the data obtained from the study. The researcher also reflected on the data gathered from the observation of students based on how the learners recognize and wrote names, identify upper- and lower-case letters, said the sounds of the letters, and instructional reading.
All students took the same tests, indicating six trials for each experiment and intervention. Thus, the results for the independent variable helped determine a statistically significant difference among the various tests based on their responses to the tests, thus identifying which students scored high points. This tool was crucial because it will measure ratio-scaled data. Measuring these sets of data was crucial because the researcher was interested in understanding the impact of the interventions used. It was expected that the student’s performance would improve due to the control used.
The current research use experimental and descriptive research design to identify the interventions’ impacts and their effectiveness in improving student letter identification and naming. The study was conducted in a low-income inner-city school with 6 students. The learners were subject to a pre-test to determine their capabilities without any added strategy. The young learners were then each be subject to various interventions, and observed on how they perform based on the strategy used. The researcher collected data and record observations and use various statistical tools to assess the outcomes of the experiment.
The current research aimed to give the necessary interventions for children netter recognize letters and their sounds. The students were required to identify each letter of the alphabet when written in upper case and lowercase, and for each case, say the letters they identified. The current research had the following objectives to help assess such interventions:
- To identify early learners’ letter and sound recognition skills
- To identify effective intervention strategies that help students recognize letters and their sounds
- To assess if the addition of a letter review of students’ names help students gain letter and sound identification
- To assess if the addition of a daily letter review of alphabet names and sounds, in a small group, help students gain letter and sound recognition
- To recommend intervention strategies that improve students’ letter and sound recognition
The learners were subjected to pre-test and post-test activities after. This section presents the data obtained from the research, their analysis, and interpretation.
Table 1 below presents the raw data obtained from the research. The table shows the concealed naming of the students who took part in the study and their respective scores for each category for pre-test and post-test. The results reveal that there was a significant improvement in letter identification and sounding after applying the interventions.
Table 1. Raw data of the current research
|Data tracker for research||Uppercase Letters A-Z (26 poss)||Lowercase Letters a-z (26 poss)||Letter Sounds Aa-Zz (26 poss)|
The data in Table 1 above is perfectly visualized in graphs shown in Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3 below. In figure 1, the results reveal a direct proportionality in terms of pre-test and post-test outcomes. The students who performed moderately in identifying uppercase letters before the interventions also performed in the same magnitude after the interventions. For instance, TL scored the highest point in pre-test and post-test. All other students responded similarly except ZI, who scored the lowest point in the pre-test but did better than others in the post-test, even though they scored higher points earlier.
The results for lowercase letter identification also revealed the impact of the intervention in post-test results. The student ZI benefited the best from the interventions after scoring low marks in the pre-test and becoming the second-highest after the interventions.
Figure 3 highlights the importance of the interventions that helped young learners name the letter they identified. The results show that half of the students could not name any letter before interventions. However, after the interventions, the learners managed to name several letters. TL, who could not know how a letter sounded in the pre-test, achieved the highest score in the post-test run. It is also worth noting that learners who could identify a few letters in the pre-test performed better than their counterparts who could not sound any letter, except for the case of TL. The post-test results were over 80% more than the pre-test ones, showing the significant impact of the interventions used.
During the pre-test activities, the researcher noted that the learners had some skills they used in trying to identify some letters and their sounds. The researcher observed that students who could identify letters in the pre-test run either were assisted by their parents or were accustomed to singing them. The researcher noted that TL and DL had some special characters that formed their names at often played with them. The researcher observed that early learners have special skills that help them identify some letters they have been taught to point. The researcher also noted some students, such as DL and BL, used songs to know the sounds of some letters. The most common letters that students could identify by sounds were A, B, D, and M. The students became more aware of what they had been hearing when they were guided on how to master letters with their sounds. Most of these skills were reinforced through daily repetitions and reviews of the common letters and those in the learners’ names.
Validity and Reliability of the Research Findings
The experiment was done by following all the prerequisites such as seeking and obtaining permission from the school administration and parents of the students used in the study. The research examined the credibility, dependability, and transferability of the study’s findings, thus becoming trustworthy. The procedures and analysis approach used in the research guaranteed accuracy and consistency. In addition, the current research maintained data quality and reliability through a critical focus on the research questions, methods, and choice of data collected. These approaches resulted in valid and reliable findings for the current study.
In summary, the current research’s findings reveal that early readers have some strategies they use to identify letters and their sounds. However, most of these skills are insufficient, as they do not guarantee the kids would understand more than they are capable at their age. Preschoolers can enhance these skills through daily repetitions to understand and use the letters in their daily activities. The research results have shown that learners have an 80% chance of improvement in identifying letters and their sounds due to the interventions used to help them.
Implications and Recommendations for Other Teachers
The current study’s findings have revealed that early learners have some ways of learning and retaining new concepts. These methods used by the kids to learn can be enhanced through various interventions used in the present research. The current research also indicates that preschoolers can increase their capabilities for learning letters and sounds when appropriate techniques are used to help them acquire the skills. Consequently, this implies that future researchers can find other ways to help young kids learn the alphabet and its sounds. Moreover, it also indicates that more research is needed to understand the role of various unenhanced strategies that kindergarten schoolers use to learn other concepts in life and enhance and use such innate skills in letter recognition and sounding. Moreover, the current research’s outcomes reveal that teachers need to use the given skills to help kids master letters and their sounds. Those teaching early learners should be creative and find the best ways to enhance kids’ letter recognition and sounding through daily repetitions, which results in over 80% chance of improving their learning capabilities.
Adlof, S. M., & Hogan, T. P. (2019). If we don’t look, we won’t see: Measuring language development to inform literacy instruction. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 6(2), 210-217.
Buckingham, J. (2020). Systematic phonics instruction belongs in evidence-based reading programs: A response to Bowers. The Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 37(2), 105-113.
Burns, M. K., Frederick, A., Helman, L., Pulles, S. M., McComas, J. J., & Aguilar, L. (2017). Relationship between language proficiency and growth during reading interventions. The Journal of Educational Research, 110(6), 581-588.
Catts, H. W., Nielsen, D. C., Bridges, M. S., & Liu, Y. S. (2016). Early identification of reading comprehension difficulties. Journal of learning disabilities, 49(5), 451-465.
Christodoulou, J. A., Cyr, A., Murtagh, J., Chang, P., Lin, J., Guarino, A. J., & Gabrieli, J. D. (2017). Impact of intensive summer reading intervention for children with reading disabilities and difficulties in early elementary school. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 50(2), 115-127.
Clemens, N. H., Lee, K., Henri, M., Simmons, L. E., Kwok, O. M., & Al Otaiba, S. (2020). Growth on sublexical fluency progress monitoring measures in early kindergarten and relations to word reading acquisition. Journal of School Psychology, 79, 43-62.
Erickson, J. D., & Wharton‐McDonald, R. (2019). Fostering autonomous motivation and early literacy skills. The Reading Teacher, 72(4), 475-483.
Galuschka, K., Görgen, R., Kalmar, J., Haberstroh, S., Schmalz, X., & Schulte-Körne, G. (2020). Effectiveness of spelling interventions for learners with dyslexia: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Educational Psychologist, 55(1), 1-20.
Hill, D. R. (2016). Phonics based reading interventions for students with intellectual disability: A systematic literature review. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4(5), 205-214.
House, K. F. (2020). The Impact of Synthetic vs. Analytic Phonics on Students’ Reading Skills in an Independent School Setting: A Case Study (Doctoral dissertation, Arkansas State University).
Kover, S. T. (2018). Distributional cues to language learning in children with intellectual disabilities. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49(3S), 653-667.
Lee, S. A. S., Hall, B., & Sancibrian, S. (2017). Feasibility of a supplemental phonological awareness intervention via telepractice for children with hearing loss: A preliminary study. International journal of telerehabilitation, 9(1), 23. Doi: 10.5195/ijt.2017.6216
Neumann, M. M. (2022). What counts most in assessing emergent literacy with digital tools? Childhood Education, 98(1), 72-77.
Ngaka, W. (2021). The role of communities in Uganda’s mother tongue-based education: Perspectives from a literacy learning enhancement project in Arua district. Applied Linguistics Review, 12(4), 545-563.
Piasta, S. B., Park, S., Fitzgerald, L. R., & Libnoch, H. A. (2022). Young children’s alphabet learning as a function of instruction and letter difficulty. Learning and Individual Differences, 93, 102113.
Ramaraju, S., Roula, M. A., & McCarthy, P. W. (2020). Transcranial direct current stimulation and working memory: Comparison of effect on learning shapes and English letters. PloS one, 15(7), e0222688.
Roberts, T. A., Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2018). Pre-schoolers’ alphabet learning: Letter name and sound instruction, cognitive processes, and English proficiency. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 44, 257-274.
Rokhman, M. F., Lintangsari, A. P., & Perdhani, W. C. (2020). EFL learners’ phonemic awareness: A correlation between English phoneme identification skill toward word processing. JEES (Journal of English Educators Society), 5(2), 135-141.
Rowe, D. W. (2018). Writing development in early childhood. The lifespan development of writing, 55-110.
Sah, P. K., & Li, G. (2018). English medium instruction (EMI) as linguistic capital in Nepal: Promises and realities. International Multilingual Research Journal, 12(2), 109-123.
Schwartz, M. (2018). Pre-school bilingual education: Agency in interactions between children, teachers, and parents. In Pre-school bilingual education (pp. 1-24). Springer, Cham.
Selvarajan, P. (2022). The impact of remedial teaching on improving the competencies of low achievers. International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research 11(01), 283-287.
Septiani, N., & Syaodih, E. (2021). Emergent literacy in early childhood. In 5th International Conference on Early Childhood Education (ICECE 2020) (pp. 52-55). Atlantis Press.
Spaull, N., & Hoadley, U. (2018). Getting reading right: Building firm foundations. ChildGauge, 201777. Web.
Suggate, S. P. (2016). A meta-analysis of the long-term effects of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and reading comprehension interventions. Journal of learning disabilities, 49(1), 77-96.
Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Luo, R., McFadden, K. E., Bandel, E. T., & Vallotton, C. (2019). Early home learning environment predicts children’s 5th grade academic skills. Applied Developmental Science, 23(2), 153-169.
Terrell, P., & Watson, M. (2018). Laying a firm foundation: Embedding evidence-based emergent literacy practices into early intervention and pre-school environments. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49(2), 148-164.
Vazeux, M., Doignon-Camus, N., Bosse, M. L., Mahé, G., Guo, T., & Zagar, D. (2020). Syllable-first rather than letter-first to improve phonemic awareness. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-12.
Verhoeven, L., Voeten, M., van Setten, E., & Segers, E. (2020). Computer-supported early literacy intervention effects in pre-school and kindergarten: A meta-analysis. Educational Research Review, 30, 100325.
Vernon-Feagans, L., Bratsch-Hines, M., Varghese, C., Cutrer, E. A., & Garwood, J. D. (2018). Improving struggling readers’ early literacy skills through a Tier 2 professional development program for rural classroom teachers: The targeted reading intervention. The Elementary School Journal, 118(4), 525-548.
Zand-Moghadam, A., & Adeh, A. (2020). Investigating pragmatic competence, metapragmatic awareness and speech act strategies among Turkmen-Persian bilingual and Persian monolingual EFL learners: A cross-cultural perspective. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 49(1), 22-40.
Appendix B: Raw Data from the Research
|Data tracker for research||Uppercase Letters A-Z (26 poss)||Lowecase Letters a-z (26 poss)||Letter Sounds Aa-Zz (26 poss)|
Appendix C: Plan of Action
|Name, phone, job title, school: |
|Project Title: Interventions: Relationship between Intervention Strategies and Students’ Letter and Sound Recognition|
|Main Question: Will interventions strategies, in small groups, help assist children in learning letter and sound recognition?|
|Sub-Questions? (if any) |
Will the addition of letter review of students name help students gain letter and sound identification?
Will the addition of a daily letter review of alphabet names and sound, in a small group, help students gain letter and sound recognition?
|List Topics to Research in the Literature Review |
|Setting & Participants |
small group intervention:
Practice recognizing and writing letters in student’s name
Practice alphabet letter and sounds recognition
|Data Collection ( List all data sources by Artifacts, Inquiry and Observational Data, including data types for each category ) and explain how each data source would help you answer your RQ: |
Pre/post -test of letter recognition and sounds- this will help me track what students already know before intervention and what they know after intervention process.
|Timeline for Interventions & Data collection : |
Jan 4, 2022- Feb 15, 2022
15-minute session daily small groups.
|Questions or Issues you have about project:|
Appendix D: Uppercase Letters Pre/Post-Test
B E O Z
K U W A
J L Q F
S X G V
D I R M
Y P N H
Appendix E: Lowercase Letters Pre/Post-Test
b e o z
k u w a
j l q f
s x g v
d i r m
y p n h
Appendix F: Letter Sounds Pre/Post-Test
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Appendix G: Recording Sheet
Name: Letter and Sound Pre/Post-Test
|Letters||A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z |
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z
|Sounds||A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z||/26|