The Association Between Emergent Literacy and Cognitive Abilities in Kindergarten Children

Ariel Ne’eman, Shelley Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many studies have examined which kindergarteners’ skills best predict reading acquisition later at school. Most of these studies focused on emergent literacy skills such as letter knowledge, phonological awareness, and oral language abilities as the basis for reading acquisition. Additionally, several studies have also found cognitive skills such as memory, executive functions, and visual processing to be related to reading abilities. Although much research has been devoted to the connection between these two types of skills and reading, the relationship between the emergent literacy and cognitive skills has not been widely investigated. Objective: The current study aimed to examine the contribution of different cognitive skills to emergent literacy and to explore the cognitive profile of children with low and high emergent literacy skills. Methods: The study was conducted among 125 Hebrew-speaking kindergarten children. Cognitive measures including memory, speed of processing (SOP), executive functions, visual perception, and attention were collected, as well as literacy measures such as phonological awareness, orthographic knowledge, and vocabulary. Results: The research findings indicated a very strong association between the cognitive measures and the literacy measures. Children with low emergent literacy skills exhibited lower cognitive abilities. In addition, a significant association was found between visual perception, rapid naming, inhibition, and emergent literacy. Conclusions: These findings suggest that literacy knowledge associated with basic cognitive skills, which play an important role in its development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-488
Number of pages22
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Cognitive measures
  • Emergent literacy
  • Literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'The Association Between Emergent Literacy and Cognitive Abilities in Kindergarten Children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this