Computer use and letter knowledge in pre-school children: A population-based study

Authors


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Professor Anne Castles, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia. Fax: +61 2 9850 6059; email: anne.castles@mq.edu.au

Abstract

Aim

To explore the link between pre-school children's general home computer use and their letter knowledge.

Methods

As part of the Early Language in Victoria Study, a community cohort of 1539 four-year-old children was tested on letter knowledge as well as on non-verbal intelligence, oral language, articulation and phonological awareness. Performance on these measures was examined in relation to parent-questionnaire responses exploring home literacy environment and the amount of time children spent using the computer.

Results

A positive correlation between computer use and letter knowledge was found, and this association was still evident after controlling for other cognitive and environmental factors known to predict the development of letter knowledge in young children.

Conclusions

Greater computer use in pre-school children appears to have a positive association with emerging literacy development. Future research needs to examine the nature of that association.

Ancillary