Play and Early Literacy Development

Edited by James F. Christie

Series: SUNY series, Children's Play in Society
Paperback : 9780791406762, 264 pages, September 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406755, 264 pages, September 1991

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Table of contents


Part I. Research Foundations

1. Play and the Emergence of Literacy
Nigel Hall

2. Psychological Research on Play: Connections with Early Literacy Development
James F. Christie

Part II. Play's Role in Early Literacy Development

3. Longitudinal Relations among Preschoolers' Symbolic Play, Metalinguistic Verbs, and Emergent Literacy
A. D. Pellegrini and Lee Galda

4. Thematic-Fantasy Play and Story Comprehension
Peter A. Williamson and Steven B. Silvern

5. "But, It Ain't Real!": Pretense in Children's Play and Literacy Development
Amanda Branscombe

Part III. Educational Applications

6. Classroom Literature Activities and Kindergartners' Dramatic Story Reenactments
Miriam Martinez, Markay Cheyney, and William H. Teale

7. Preparing the Classroom Environment to Promote Literacy during Play
Lesley Mandel Morrow and Muriel Rand

8. The Influence of Literacy-Enriched Play Centers on Preschoolers' Conceptions of the Functions of Print
Susan B. Neuman and Kathy Roskos

9. Symbolic Play: A Source of Meaningful Engagements with Writing and Reading
Carol Taylor Schrader

10. Materials and Modeling: Promoting Literacy during Play
Carol Vukelich

11. Play and Early Literacy Development: Summary and Discussion
James F. Christie



This book overviews the sociolinguistic and psychological approaches to studying play and literacy. It offers research studies that relate different aspects of play to emergent reading and writing behaviors. The use of certain language structures, storybook reenactments, literacy activities during play, and notions of reality and pretense are considered. It also presents applied research on how manipulation of play environments, teacher involvement in play, and play training can promote literacy growth.

James F. Christie is Associate Professor in the College of Education at Arizona State University.


"This book provides the evidence for the view that, whatever its other relationships with literacy may be, play can be an effective literacy-learning medium for many young children. Furthermore, use of this medium can be accomplished in such a way as to enhance rather than destroy children's control over and enjoyment of their play and learning experiences. " — Penelope Griffing, The Ohio State University

"I found this book both impressive and exciting because it presents a thorough and representative view of play and early literacy through the inclusion of both psychologically- and socologically-oriented research. " — Robert G. Collier, Western Illinois University