Week 1: Foundations of Early Literacy – Content Review
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Week 1: Foundations of Early Literacy – Content Review
1. Imagine you are a preschool director meeting with a parent who is considering enrolling her 4-year-old in your program. She asks how you will help her child learn to read and describes workbooks for letter and sound practice that she buys for her child to use at home. Write your response, including concepts that are important for this parent to understand about the roles of oral language, concepts of print, phonemic awareness, and alphabet knowledge in an early literacy curriculum. Include and explain language and literacy terms in the script, which can aid the parents understanding, tactfully including your thinking about the workbooks she has described.
Workbooks for letter and sound practice should phonemic awareness. This essentially means that the workbook should help the child learn to understand the sounds that are used in the construction of a word and to be able to segment the letters in a word. For instance, a child with adequate phonemic awareness will be able to identify rhyming words in a children’s workbook. Through sound practice, the child is able to build her phonemic awareness. Through appropriate workbooks, the child also understands the concept of print. They learn that reading and writing plays an important role in life. Workbooks also facilitate alphabet knowledge because they enable the child to not only identify alphabet letters but also to make words out of the letters. Children’s workbooks should emphasize on practice and should be visually appealing in order to encourage the child to read (Strickland & Schickendanz, 2009).
2. Summarize the debate between proponents of emergent literacy and of Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR) by explaining essential differences in these theoretical perspectives. Then, in your own words, make a case for a balanced early literacy curriculum, citing evidence from the learning resources to support your reasoning.
According to the proponents of emergent literacy, children learn the functions of reading and writing in everyday life through observing and interacting with people using literature in their activities. The proponents believe that young children first begin to write by scribbling because they have observed other people doing the same. With proper instruction and practice, writing and reading is developed. Proponents of Scientifically Based Reading research (SBRR) argue that curriculum should be developed through thorough and systematic research that exposes the children’s literacy development, suitable training methods and learning difficulties. Phonemic awareness instruction is one of the highly effective strategies that have been developed through SBRR (Vukelich & Christie, 2009).
A balanced early literature curriculum enables the child to develop reading and writing skills effectively. It should also be stimulating enough to encourage the child’s active participation in the learning process. For instance, the classroom environment should have a library that contains books that the children enjoy and can learn from, a writing center and games that enhance the children’s literacy.
3. The NIEER Preschool Policy Brief identifies five issues related to how early childhood programs can foster the skills and abilities that children need to become successful readers and writers and how reading difficulties can be prevented (p. 3). Choose three of these issues and explain how each will influence your practice as an early childhood professional supporting young children’s early literacy development.
One of the ways in which early childhood programs can foster the child’s literacy skills is by making print and books easily accessible to the children. Research has proven that children who are exposed to a wide variety of print and books become better readers and writers than those who have minimal exposure. The child’s environment; at home and at school, should provide a lot of reading material. It is also important to expose the child to bookstores and libraries from an early age in order to foster their interest in literature. The second way through which early childhood literacy can be developed is by providing support and encouragement for the child’s literacy progress. Caregivers can expand the child’s literacy by providing several learning opportunities such as reading storybooks aloud for the child, engaging the child in activities that help him apply the reading and writing that he may have learnt and providing the child with adequate print materials. Thirdly, the child’s literacy is enhanced when the caregivers model the literacy activities that they would want the child to engage in (Roskos, Tabors & Lenhart, 2009). Children who grow up in environments where the adults demonstrate literacy behavior are more likely to gather interest in adopting the same behavior. This may include basic everyday actions such as writing shopping lists, letters and reading.
Roskos, K. A., Tabors, P. O., & Lenhart, L. A. (2009). Oral language and early literacy in preschool: Talking, reading, and writing (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Strickland, D. S., & Riley-Ayers, S. (2006). Early literacy: Policy and practice in the preschool years. NIEER Preschool Policy Brief, 12. Retrieved from http://nieer.org/resources/policybriefs/10.pdf
Strickland, D. S., & Schickendanz, J. A. (2009). Learning about print in preschool: Working with letters, words, and beginning links with phonemic awareness (2nd ed.).Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Vukelich, C., & Christie, J. (2009). Building a foundation for preschool literacy: Effective instruction for children’s reading and writing development (2nd ed.).Newark, DE: International Reading Association.