Literacy Goes to School: Emergent Literacy Experiences and Skills that Children Take to School

  • Ronald Lewis Kaunda University of Newcastle, Australia
Keywords: Literacy skills, emergent literacy, pretend reading/writing, literacy experiences


This study sought to establish emergent literacy experiences and skills among children in the age range of 2 and 6 years in Mwense Rural District in Zambia. A case study of two villages was conducted with a sample size of 40 participants comprising 20 children and 20 caregivers. The researcher used purposive sampling to select the district and the two villages. A simple random sampling was used to select 20 family households from the two villages with children in the required age range. The study employed qualitative research methods and data was collected using semi-structured interviews and participant observations. The data collected were grouped into themes which were then analyzed further to come up with findings. This study established that children engaged in various emergent literacy skills in the early days of their primary school. They demonstrated a number of emergent literacy skills and abilities. Emergent skills and abilities included pattern drawing, holding a pencil, scribbling, narrative and listening comprehension skills, singing, reciting bible memory verses and pretend reading which they went with to school when they started formal schooling. The study concluded that even though children in this study had no preschool background, the interaction they had with their family members had influence on the literacy experiences they engaged in which in turn had influenced the emergent literacy skills and abilities they developed.