Early numerical experiences

2018-04-05T16:00:56Z (GMT) by Amy Bennett
There are large individual differences in children s mathematical abilities when starting formal schooling and these differences can have lasting consequences. One factor that could lead to differences in children s mathematics skills is the home numeracy environment. This thesis examines the home numeracy environment, firstly as a whole concept and then more in-depth of one area of the home numeracy environment, number books. The home numeracy environment section starts by presenting a systematic review of the home numeracy environment literature and draws conclusions about the inconsistency of the results. The studies presented in this section investigate both methodological and theoretical questions surrounding the home numeracy environment. A novel text message method to measure the home numeracy environment is presented and the relationship between three different measures of the home numeracy environment (questionnaire, observation and text messages) is investigated, as well as their relationships to mathematics skills. This section has two key findings: firstly the self-report measures of the home numeracy environment are not related to the observation measure and secondly all three measures (apart from child number talk in the observation) were not related to mathematics skills. The second section of this thesis focuses on number books. Number books are often used in the home to teach young children number symbols. They primarily use multiple concrete pictures, but the benefits (or costs) to using these types of images are not known. The next three studies investigate the use of abstract and concrete images to teach children number symbols using an artificial symbol learning paradigm. It is concluded that there is a cost to using multiple representations when teaching children number symbols, and therefore number books should use a single picture throughout for children to benefit the most from the book. Overall the findings from this thesis show that the home numeracy environment is very broad and future research should change the way the home numeracy environment is measured and conduct more in-depth analysis of areas of the home numeracy environment.