Finger-point reading instruction using storybooks: The effects on kindergarten children's early literacy skills

Joan Moran Shepherd, Fordham University


This mixed-method research with kindergarten children examined the effects of finger-point reading (FPR) instruction with storybooks, on emergent literacy skills. Research has established that explicit instruction in literacy skills, a bottom-up approach, and reading to children, a top-down approach, are beneficial for helping children gain success in reading. There were no studies that had examined the quantitative effects of explicit FPR instruction on kindergarten children's early literacy skills. Twenty six children, who qualified for the study by reading 0–8 words on a sight-word screening assessment, were assigned to two stratified random groups based on the screening and invented spelling assessments. The 13 children in the treatment group received dynamic, intentional instruction in FPR with five storybooks for 15 sessions. They were taught to use emergent literacy skills such as letter sounds, one-to-one correspondence, picture clues, and memory to finger-point read. Students were encouraged to identify their word recognition strategies. Control group children did not receive FPR training between the time of the pre- and post-test. The results of the study showed that FPR instruction and practice had a significant positive interaction on FPR. Students receiving treatment scored close to ceiling and significantly better on the FPR posttest, p = .014 with an effect size of .51. Children in the treatment group showed more, but not significant, growth in invented spelling, p = .207 and in segmentation, p = .108. Children in both groups showed significant improvement in emergent literacy skills over the five-month period. Of the children who were at-risk for reading success, those who knew 0–1 words on the screening test, two in the treatment group make the most gains and two in the control group made the least gains indicating that the treatment made a difference for two children with lower literacy skills. Strategies for identifying words included: reliance on beginning and ending consonants, reciting lines or neighboring words, one-to-one correspondence, and sight words. FPR supports children's use of emerging reading skills as they cross over the bridge to reading. Findings suggest that FPR instruction helped children, who showed various levels of emergent literacy skills at pretest, improve their FPR.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Shepherd, Joan Moran, "Finger-point reading instruction using storybooks: The effects on kindergarten children's early literacy skills" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3465677.