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Education Research, From Idea to Honing Your Topic to Collecting Sources

General Area of Interest

Young children's play and links with learning.

Background Reading

Kavanaugh, Robert D. (2006), "Pretend Play."  In Spodek, Bernard and Olivia N. Saracho, eds., Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children, 2d ed. (Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), pp. 269-278.

This reference book has 32 chapters by various academic authors on a wide range of early childhood topics.  In Chapter 15, on "Pretend Play," is a brief section about pretend play and literacy that mentions that "there is evidence that the symbolic transformations involved in early pretend play (e.g. at age 3 years) correlate positively with the later development of children's reading and writing." (p. 274).  The author cites the following:

Roskos, K. and Neuman, S.B. (1998), "Play as an Opportunity for Literacy."  In O.N. Saracho and B. Spodek, eds., Multiple Perspectives on Play in Early Childhood Education (Albany: SUNY Press), pp. 100-115.


Topic Questions

What evidence shows a correlation between play and literacy development?  What kind of play?  What is it about play?  Is there a theoretical basis to support the observed correlation?  What are the implications for teaching?

Off and Running

Find the Roskos and Neuman (1998) chapter, by searching for the book in CUNY+.  Note that the book is available online in NetLibrary.

Find later articles on the same topic, by searching for the Roskos and Neuman (1998) chapter in Google Scholar:

Google Scholar lets you find later citations to the 1998 book chapter by clicking on Cited by 22 underneath the citation:




Working With a Citing Article

One of the 22 citing articles is:

Korat, O., E. Bahar, and M. Snapir (2002).  "Sociodramatic play as opportunity for literacy development: The teacher's role," Reading Teacher 56(4), pp. 386-395.

You can look for this article by using the Journal Title List on the library homepage.  Enter the journal name to see if it's online.

You can find similar articles by looking the Korat (2002) article up in ERIC and finding descriptors that fit your research question:

You can combine descriptors to focus on a topic, e.g.:

   Dramatic Play + Emergent Literacy

   Young Children + Play + (Reading or Literacy) in SU

You can use the ERIC Thesaurus to look for descriptors and see their definitions:

In Google Scholar, you can look up an article, book, etc., and find some later citations to it.  You can also do a keyword search, but keep in mind the vagaries of language.