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How To Improve Literacy in Kindergarteners

Educators have reported challenges with integrating play with literacy with kindergarteners. Children experience different literacy challenges that make it difficult for teachers at that level. The 21st-century places literacy skills as a prerequisite for success, which makes it essential for children to gain literacy skills as early as possible. Literacy is defined as the ability to read, write, speak, and listen in ways that allow communication and interaction with the environment. Kindergarteners have long excelled in plays where teachers aim to help the children manage group dynamics as they prepare to get into literacy learning (Cecil et al., 2020). The play-based learning aims to help the children get ready for world exploration and interaction, which has been easy for the kindergarteners. However, the modern need for kindergarteners to gain literacy skills has proved challenging but possible (Tsirmpa & Stellakis, 2023). The challenges overwhelm some teachers who still prefer plays as the primary focus for kindergarteners. Play is natural and more enjoyable to children as they interact with each other and learn more about their environment. However, there is an increased need to improve literacy skills in kindergarteners despite the challenges associated with the process. Literacy skills are essential to a kindergartener because they form a basis for imparting more advanced knowledge. It is critical to identify strategies to improve literacy in kindergarteners despite the challenges.

Problem Definition

Kindergarten teachers have challenges integrating the play-based learning framework with literacy improvement for kindergarteners. In 1856, Margarethe Schurz founded the first Kindergarten in Wisconsin. At first, Kindergarten focused on plays, but it has become necessary to integrate literacy skills in the modern information age (DeVries, 2023). Poor integration of literacy skills at kindergarten levels is due to a lack of resources, inadequate funding of kindergartens and lack of teaching aids limit teachers’ ability to help improve literacy at kindergarten levels. Inequality in the US society has propagated the challenges to improve literacy in kindergartens (Tsirmpa & Stellakis, 2023). Schools in poor African American neighborhoods are overcrowded with limited resources to effectively improve literacy skills in children who come from poor homes. For example, children from impoverished homes often must catch up by the time they arrive at school. Thus, they cannot learn literacy due to a lack of a supportive environment. Children with limited literacy skills lack critical thinking skills that help them make better choices in life. Kindergarten children from poor backgrounds are the most affected by poor literacy levels in Kindergarten (DeVries, 2023). Improving literacy skills for kindergarteners has thus become a challenge due to limited resources and inequality.

Problem Consequences

The continued challenges to improving literacy skills for kindergarteners has led to children illiteracy. Children’s illiteracy has been associated with high school dropout rates for teenagers. Research indicates that each year, 1.2 million teenagers drop out of school, and the problem has been primarily attributed to a lack of literacy skills from the kindergarten level. Children who gain literacy skills at the kindergarten level become more skilled as they move to higher levels of education and thus are comfortable in school with better literacy performance (Johnston, 2019). Lack of literacy skills makes some students lag when they advance in schooling after kindergarten, which increases the possibility of dropping out of school and leading to a life of poverty since it becomes a challenge for school dropouts to aces formal employment.43 % of adults who live in poverty have low literacy skills which helps to indicate the foundation of their problem, which is a lack of literacy skills from kindergarten. Higher levels of learning built on the literacy foundation laid at the kindergarten level. Inadequate facilities and large class sizes are the main challenges to literacy improvement for kindergarteners, thus leading to high illiteracy levels. It makes it challenging for teachers to integrate play with learning literacy skills. Research shows that 36 million adult US citizens do not have reading, math, or writing skills (Skerrett et al., 2023). 72 % of children whose parents are illiterate will most likely have literacy challenges due to low reading levels because of minimal parent initiatives. Poverty continues to be a leading cause of kindergarten-level literacy skill development. For example, poor parents need help to afford to pay for schools with modern learning facilities that are enough for all pupils and buy materials to help improve literacy at the kindergarten level (Tsirmpa & Stellakis, 2023). Family history of illiteracy causes challenges to improving literacy for kindergarteners. For example, most illiterate mothers and mothers need more attention to their children’s reading, writing, and math skills (Duke, 2019).


The ways in which kindergarten teachers may improve children literacy include self -initiated spelling and promote the play-literacy interface.

Introducing Self-initiated spelling during a read-aloud. According to the study by Pulido and Morin (2018), children benefit from spelling words and learning new words in class through the guidance of the teacher. Adopting initial invented spelling for children at the kindergarten level allows them to become more skilled worth words and ability to read which improves literacy levels for kindergarteners (Pulido & Morin, 2018). It is essentials to make the spelling routines consistent. Children thrive more on consistency (Duke, 2019).

Promoting the play-literacy interface. Playing is essential to children at the kindergarten level. However, the new approach puts pressure on teachers to ensure children acquire a level of literacy before moving to the next grade. The idea that play can promote literacy development in children has attracted research activities in understanding the impact of play on literacy for children. According to Pyle et al., 2018), there exists different strategies that help to integrate literacy into plays which help to improve literacy for kindergarteners. Integrated play and learning groups in class helps promote literacy skills for children (Pyle et al., 2018). Guo (2023), concurs with the study by stating that game-based teaching is effective in promoting literacy among kindergarteners. It helps to foster early literacy skills on children which is beneficial in future schooling and skill development (Guo, 2023). Game based learning encompasses more than knowledge, it promotes critical thinking because of the rules and goals associated with the game-literacy interface.

These alternative solutions have been implemented so far and the most effective solution is game- based learning which uses technological platform for play-literacy interface. The information age children greatly benefit from technology that align to tehri literacy needs and helps to overcome challenge associated with play-based learning. Game-based learning which is similar to paly based learning but uses technological platforms help to overcome previous challenges to play-literacy integration such as lack of skills form kindergarten teachers (DeVries, 2023). Game-based learning is facilitated by teachers using physical objects or digital platforms. The approach is competitive fun and engaging to the children which facilitates learning new literacy skills (DeVries, 2023). The approach is affordable and thus the public only requires to understand the approach nd the impact on literacy skills ate the kindergarten level. Planning meeting with parent to convince them on the benefits of game-based learning using digital and non-digital devices will help in embracing the solution to improving literacy for kindergarteners (Guo, 2023).

Lack of resources to acquire the digital devices and time for teachers to integrate the games into their teaching curriculums are the main challenges to game-based learning for kindergarteners. However, the disadvantages do not outweigh the benefits of using game-based learning. It leads to literacy development which is more beneficial than the cost or time consumption associated with game-based learning. The game-based approach is an effective approach and solution to improving literacy in kindergarteners because the approach is non-authoritative and helps drivee students to mastery of reading, listening and critical thinking skills when they move to the next grade of education (DeVries, 2023).


There have been issues of low literacy skills among kindergarteners because teachers have previously put more effort on plays for children. However, the increased need to improved litercay in kindergarteners has led to the need for a different approach. Game-based learning is modern and effectively creates an effective play-literacy interface. The future requires children to have advanced litercay levels to promote critical thinking and innovation in the information age. Let’s embrace game-based learning at the kindergarten because it provides a perfect opportunity for play-literacy interface. The approach allows collaboration and transference of skills which are essential in litercay skill development for every kindergartener.


Cecil, N. L., Lozano, A., & Chaplin, M. (2020). Striking a balance: A comprehensive approach to early literacy. Routledge.

DeVries, B. A. (2023). Literacy assessment and intervention for classroom teachers. Routledge.

Duke, N. K. (2019). Reading by third grade: How policymakers can foster early literacy. National Association of State Boards of Education19(2), 6–11.

Guo, P. (2023). Approaches to Enhance Game-Based Teaching Literacy for Kindergarten Major Students. Pacific International Journal6(4), 120-124.

Johnston, P. (2019). Talking children into literacy: Once more, with feeling. Literacy Research: Theory, Method, and Practice68(1), 64–85.

Pulido, L., & Morin, M. F. (2018). Invented spelling: what is the best way to improve literacy skills in kindergarten?. Educational Psychology38(8), 980-996.

Pyle, A., Prioletta, J., & Poliszczuk, D. (2018). The play-literacy interface in full-day kindergarten classrooms. Early Childhood Education Journal46, 117-127.

Skerrett, A., Mesmer, H. A. E., & Rasinski, T. (2023). Reading Instruction Across Preschool Through Grade 12. In Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts (pp. 45–70). Routledge.

Tsirmpa, C., & Stellakis, N. (2023). Parents’ beliefs about the role of Kindergarten in literacy development. International Journal about Parents in Education13.


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