Author: Dacian Dolean
Year of publication: 2016
Source: Show
Pages: 39-51
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/tner.2016.45.3.03
PDF: tner/201603/tner20160303.pdf

Literacy skills of Roma children throughout Europe are shown to be significantly lower compared with their non-Roma peers. This fact is frequently attributed to the substandard socio-economic status (SES) of the Roma population. However, there is little empirical substantiation for the extent to which the SES of Roma children can be associated with poor literacy skills, as well as the extent to which remedial programs aimed to enhance those skills can be effective after school starts. The presented study aimed to analyze comparatively the relationship between SES and one of the literacy predictors, phonemic awareness (PA), of 171 Roma (n = 42) and non-Roma (n = 129) first-graders, and the effectiveness of a classroom intervention program aimed to enhance this skill. Results showed that a) PA of Roma 1st graders is significantly lower than that of their non-Roma peers coming from the same community, but the difference is significantly reduced after accounting for SES, b) there are important inter-ethnical differences between Roma and non-Roma when PA is correlated with socio-economic indicators, c) intervention programs aimed to increase the PA of Roma children should begin earlier than 1st grade, if expected to produce significant effects above and beyond those generated by regular classroom activities and d) the development of the PA of Roma and non-Roma children has a similar growth rate once they start receiving formal education.

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