Parents’ talk and early literacy in preschool children

Asma Dabiri


In this research, children’s early understanding of the functions of print and parents’ mediation, talk about the purpose of writing, and their elaborative reminiscing talk was investigated in Persian preschoolers. The study was a mixed-method type of research. Preschool children (seventeen girls and thirteen boys) and their mothers participated in the study. In order to obtain data, they were involved in a task game (a grocery-list task) obtained from the experts and they discussed a past event together. Analyses of the obtained data revealed that children with better notating skills had parents who provided more assistance when notating and used more elaborative talk, but did not talk more about the purpose of writing. The results suggested that in pre-school years, what parents did and said may play a role in children’s symbolic, numeracy, and literacy development, although it did not relate to children’s mastery of the conventions of print. Finding this continuity is important because it helps researchers revise and bridge theories about parenting and children’s early literacy and numeracy and symbolic development.


early literacy; prescholers; notating skills

Full Text:


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 1071 times | PDF view : 580 times


Aram, D., & Levin, I. (2001). Mother–child joint writing in low SES: Socio-cultural factors, maternal mediation, and emergent literacy. Cognitive Development, 16, 831–852.

Assor, A., Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is good, but relevance is excellent: Autonomy- enhancing and suppressing teacher behaviors predicting students’ engagement in school- work. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 261–278.

Aunio, P., Aubrey, C., Godfrey, R., Pan, Y., & Liu, Y. (2008). Children’s early numeracy in Eng- land, Finland and People’s Republic of China. International Journal of Early Years Education, 16, 203–221.

Bialystok, E., & Martin, M. M. (2003). Notation to symbol: Development in children’s under- standing of print. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 86, 223–243.

Braswell, G. S., & Callanan, M. A. (2003). Learning to draw recognizable graphic representations during mother–child interactions. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 49, 471–494.

Bus, A. G., & Neuman, S. B. (2014). Multimedia and literacy development: Improving achievement for young learners. London, England: Routledge.

Crosby, S.A., Rasinski, T., Padak, N., & Yiddrim, K. (2015). A 3-year study of a school-based parental involvement program in early literacy. The Journal of Educational Research, 108, 165-172.

DeLoache, J. S. (2000). Dual representation and young children’s use of scale models. Child Development, 71, 329–338.

Fivush, R., Haden, C. A., & Reese, E. (2006). Elaborating on elaborations: Role of maternal reminiscing style in cognitive and socio-emotional development. Child Development, 77, 1568–1588.

Gauvain, M., de la Ossa, J., & Hurtado-Ortiz, M. T. (2001). Parental guidance as children learn to use cultural tools: The case of pictorial plans. Cognitive Development, 16, 551–575.

Goouch, K., & Lambirth, A. (2016). Teaching early reading and phonics: Creative approaches to early literacy. California, United States: Sage.

Indriati, I. (2016). Parents’ involvement in supporting their children learn English. Journal on English as a Foreign Language, 6(2), 145- 170.

Leyva, D., Reese, E., & Wiser, M. (2012). Early understanding of the functions of print: Parent-child interaction and preschoolers’ notating skills. First language, 32(3), 301-323.

Leyva, D., Reese, E., Grolnick, W., & Price, C. (2008). Elaboration and autonomy support in low-income mothers’ reminiscing: Links to children’s autobiographical narratives. Journal of Cognition and Development, 9, 363–389.

Liben, L. L., & Myers, L. J. (2007). Developmental changes in children’s understanding of maps: What, when, and how? In J. M. Plumert (Ed.), The emerging spatial mind (pp. 193–218). New York: Oxford University Press.

Lonigan, C. J., Allan, D. M., & Phillips, B. M. (2017). Examining the predictive relations between two aspects of self-regulation and growth in preschool children’s early literacy skills. Developmental Psychology, 53(1), 63-76.

Lonigan, C. J., Farver, J. M., Nakamoto, J., & Eppe, S. (2013). Developmental trajectories of preschool early literacy skills: A comparison of language-minority and monolingual-English children. Developmental Psychology, 49(10), 1943-1957.

Namy, L. L. (2005). Symbol use and symbolic representation: Developmental and comparative perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Namy, L. L., Campbell, A. L., & Tomasello, M. (2004). The changing role of iconicity in non-verbal symbol learning: A U-shaped trajectory in the acquisition of arbitrary gestures. Journal of Cognition and Development, 1, 37–57.

Pan, Y., Gauvain, M., Liu, Z., & Cheng, L. (2006). American and Chinese parental involvement in young children’s mathematics learning. Cognitive Development, 21, 17–35.

Preissler, M. A., & Carey, S. (2004). Do both pictures and words function as symbols for 18- and 24-month-old children? Journal of Cognition & Development, 5, 182–212.

Seo, K. H., & Ginsburg, H. P. (2003). What is developmentally appropriate in early childhood mathematics education? Lessons from new research. In D. H. Clements, J. Sarama, & A. M. DiBiase (Eds.), Engaging young children in mathematics: Standards for early childhood mathematicseducation (pp. 91–104). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Tolchinsky, L. (2007). The multiple functions of external representations: Introduction. In E. Teubal, J. Dockrell, & L. Tolchinsky (Eds.), Notational knowledge: Developmental and historical perspectives (pp. 1–10). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Tomasello, M. (2007). Cooperation and communication in the second year of life. Child Develop ment Perspectives, 1, 8–12.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 1071 times
PDF - 580 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Journal on English as a Foreign Language

License URL:

JEFL is published by Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Palangka Raya in collaboration with the Association of Teachers of English Linguistics, Literature and Education (ELITE Association) in Indonesia [MoU manuscript].

Editor and Administration Address:

Department of English Language EducationFaculty of Teacher Training and Education, Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Palangka Raya, Jalan G. Obos Komplek Islamic Centre Palangka Raya, Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia, Postal Code 73111, Email: [email protected], Website:

OAI address of JEFL is available at

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

stats View My Stats

Flag Counter