This research proposal focuses the background to the study, problem statement on the effect of using interactive technology in promoting kindergarteners' phonemic awareness and Sight words in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) preschools. The objective of this thesis study is to examine the effect of using interactive technology on promoting kindergarten students' phonemic awareness and sight words. Knowledge of the study would be gained by reviewing, print, and electronic sources under the following topics: Importance of reading in the early years for kindergarteners, phonemic awareness analysis, and sight words checking. The population of the study constituted 25 kindergarten students. Factors determining the effects of using interactive technology in promoting kindergarteners' phonemic awareness and sight words in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) preschools are identified. Quantitative data were analyzed by coding and were analyzed using (SPSS) version 16 using a computer and Simple statistical description which include frequencies. Research instruments are illustrated in the appendices. The researcher expects this research identified the effect of using interactive technology in promoting kindergarteners' phonemic awareness and Sight words in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) preschools.
This research focuses on examining the effects of using interactive technology on promoting kindergarten's phonemic awareness and sight words. This introductory chapter serves as an introduction to this study. The latter therefore gives an outline of the research thesis, and it begins with the background of the study and the importance of reading and the use of interactive technology in the learning sector. Then, the researcher outlines the statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, research questions, and significance of the study, limitations, and delimitations, and definition of terms. Lastly, the researcher explains in brief how the study is organized.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a clear vision for education with aspirations that requires a world-class education system catering to every child (MOE, 2008). The country's leadership is persistent in measuring the reliability of the applied education systems by monitoring the progress and attainment of all students. This is done by performing continuous improvement and evaluation in all UAE schools. The improvement and enhancement of the schools' system and evaluation process is done to better the literacy capabilities of students within the country. This is applied in line with international educational movements, including the 'No Child Left Behind' campaigns, policies, and procedures for the education system in the UAE, which focuses on kindergarten levels (McGuinn, 2016). As a result, school administrations have been focused on identifying the best remedies and incentives for improving academic performance for students from different groups and school levels.
The Importance of Reading
Reading is an essential skill that students must attain by the end of the early childhood education level. The progress and attainment of skills by the young learners in the early years are shaped by a myriad of factors, such as literacy skills, numeracy, and personal and social development (MOE, 2008). Hence, educators must find resources and strategies that ensure that students within this age group are progressing in reading. Studies that focus on the initial predictions of reading conceptions have highlighted the strong relationship between word recognition and future comprehension abilities (Catts, Herrera, Nielson & Bridges, 2015).
Furthermore, Catts, Herrera, Nielson, and Bridges (2015) link lacking in word recognition skills to possible deficits or learning and reading difficulties. Storch and Whitehurst (2002) analyzed the link between word recognition and phonemic awareness in preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school. It was found that the ability to read in the initial stages such as first and second requires cohesion and accuracy. There was a direct relationship with the kindergarten code-related predecessors. Furthermore, there was indirect link between this requirement and the preschool code-related predecessors. The precursors were identified as both word recognition and phonological awareness. Therefore, the findings suggested indirect causal relationships between initial language developments skills and later reading comprehension. Hence, it is imperative that educators are able to assess, monitor, and constantly develop word recognition and phonological awareness skills.
Reading difficulties with EFL students' results is a long-term reading comprehension and literacy issues. Studies have depicted that the indication of these issues starts in the early years within the kindergarten stage. Hence, research must support educators in ensuring that these difficulties are resolved earlier in students' learning journeys. The incorporation of technology to support teachers has also been on the rise and specifically in the subject area of reading. A study about the effectiveness of interactive technology intervention strategies could prove to be beneficial to educators in the UAE and specifically in the Kindergarten level of education. Although the limitations encompass generalizability and time frame of program implementation, this study could pave the way for future studies about the effective application of technology in Kindergarten classrooms.
Phonemic awareness refers to an ability to identify, visualizing, and manipulating unit sounds in a spoken word or words to identify the meaning of such sounds in the context. Meta-analysis indicates that kindergarten students and others across the grades have varying abilities to manipulate unit sounds in words. One of the major contributing factors is the difficulties with English as a Foreign Language students' that has resulted in negative adverse effects on their academic results (Catts et al., 2015). Moreover, these issues have greatly contributed to long-term reading comprehension and literacy challenges amongst such students.
Sight words refer to the recognitions of the ability of a student or individual to enhanced reading isolatation, recurrent sight words silently, accurately and very fast (Catts et al., 2015). Kindergarten teachers find it difficult for the leaners to identify specific items such as vocabularies in a given sentence. It, therefore, resorts in drilling the kindergarteners by the teachers so that they are able to sight keywords in a given context. Therefore, sight vocabularies need to be incorporated in the students' vocabulary items to boost their ability for sight words. Research asserts that 64% of fourth-graders and 66% of eighth-graders read below their grade levels internationally (NAEP, 2015).
The Use of Interactive Technology
Technology is an incentive and approach that supports learning and providing opportunities for improving school experiences (McGuinn, 2016). The benefits of technology are uniquely identified to include; improving technical skills, increasing self-esteem and motivation, changing the role of students and teachers, promoting more collaboration, provision of efficient resource utilization, and basically improving design skills or attention to the audience. Specifically, technology has been increasingly used to assist and enhance literacy learning (Jamshidifarasani, Garbaya, Blazevic & Ritchie, 2019). Papastergiou (2009) states that incorporating technology into intervention programs can be entertaining and engaging for the students. This can directly impact the participation levels of students and their persistence in carrying out learning tasks. The retention of learning has also been shown to be positively impacted when technology is used in learning (Mayer & Moreno, 2010).
Technology has also been targeted as being used with EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students and specifically in the area of reading. Alsuwat & Young (2016) conducted a phonological analysis of the fundamental linguistic branches by reading intervention programs with EFL students. They found that within 17 studies across a timespan of nine years, the positive impact of using technology-based interventions was large (1.18). Hence, further delving into these types of technology-enhanced learning programs which are essential.
Investigating the integration of technology and reading precursors that include phonemic awareness and sight word recognition in the kindergarten stage is the aim of this study. The researcher aims to evaluate the effectiveness of using Interactive technology on Sight Word reading and phonemic awareness among Kindergarten students.
Statement of the Problem
The Ministry of Education in the UAE has continuously enunciated the significance of reading provision for international assessments, including PISA and PIRLS (National Agenda, 2021). All schools are expected to have a reading provision in both the English and Arabic languages. Hence, it is important that studies that emphasize both the reading strategies and intervention strategies that support them are important, specifically in the UAE. This study attempted to study the effect of using an interactive technology I program on students in the Kindergarten cohort and specifically in sight word recognition and phonological awareness. It would be beneficial to see the effect of this program on the students. The scarcity of previous studies on the implementation of such a program in UAE specifically and the Gulf region in general toads value to the study of this intervention program. Language teachers seek multiple strategies and resources to support students' literacy learning across all education levels. Teachers in the early education stage are particularly responsible for ensuring that students' progress in literacy development for their future reading abilities. Kindergarten educators also find that during these critical years, reading difficulties can be screened. With the rise of integrating technology in education, teachers also seek technology-based resources that are effective within the applicable contexts are ought to refer to the literature to explore effective strategies and means that have been tried and tested. As a result, the findings this study is attempting to arrive at an addition to the current literature in the field.
Although there are many studies that have shed light on Interactive technology, there are various challenges faced by International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS) -which is a mandated testing body- in addressing some of...
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