Friday, August 8, 2014

Getting Ready to Read

What are the five critical predictors of early literacy and how do parents identify these predictors inside of a preschool program?

1. Oral Language - Teaching oral language begins with talking one on one with your child. In our classroom we have designed a program where your child will be actively engaging with their peers, teachers and parents in interesting conversation. New words and many explanations of words are constantly being infused into their conversation in such a way that is fun for them. They remember this vocabulary because it is introduced in a very educational yet playful environment.
2. Phonemic Awareness - Phonemic awareness is practiced by distinguishing sounds during music and rhyming activities every day. Young students hear the teachers sing and then they learn to sing along with them; copying the sounds the teachers make constantly. Poetry and rhyming is also emphasized at this age. Books, games and activities that promote: alliteration, anadiplosis, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia, parachesis, tautogram and tongue twisters are integrated into the daily reading curriculum from our classroom libraries, community library and our school's library collection.
3. Alphabet Awareness - An excellent preschool environment is often designed to include multiple levels of identifying letters of the Alphabet such as: labeling work stations, displaying visuals with illustrated letters, providing Alphabet games during center activities, promoting art activities utilizing letter shapes and clearly labeling a student's personal and educational materials with their names.
4. Concepts About Print - Concepts about print are often defined by teachers as they read aloud to their students. They identify titles, authors, indexes, labels, lists, calendars, reading from left to right, page numbering, the meanings behind punctuation, letters, invitations, the purpose of graphic symbols/signs etc... Many preschool classrooms have letter writing centers, where students are supplied with envelopes, stationary, cards, stamps, pens and pencils etc... The purpose of these activities are to promote reading and writing readiness concepts. Writing centers are often paired with reading centers within the preschool classroom.
      In our classroom both the writing and reading centers are side by side. Our students are encouraged to visit centers daily in order to explore new activities and browse a book collection that changes from week to week.
5. Early Writing And Inventive Spelling - For all intensive purposes, very young students do not distinguish between "writing" and "drawing" until they are of preschool age, 4 - 5 years old and it is for this reason that early childhood educators teach small motor skills through artistic activities. Basic childhood behaviors dictate that preschool students will perform regularly those actions that promote writing skills if they are enjoying the exercise. This is why early childhood centers are brimming over with creative, colorful and tactile displays of art centered activities. The goal is to promote academic principles through enjoyable activities or play.
      In preschool most students also learn little routines that promote writing exercise such as: signing in and out as students enter and leave the classroom or writing their name over and over on papers as they work. They practise writing alphabet letters during many activities and will also attempt to write  simple two and three syllable words. 
      Inventive spelling or phonemic spelling, is the precursor to writing sight words or complicated sentences.  If your child is sounding out a word by repeating it slowly and aloud, then writing it as it sounds instead of how it actually is spelled, then he or she is practicing inventive spelling. Inventive spelling is considered a very comprehensive exercise and teachers promote it thoroughly in both preschool, kindergarten and first grade.

"Early childhood professionals need to know how to support young children's language and early literacy development. In e-clip #1, Dr. Theresa Bouley stresses that best practice in early literacy instruction must involve both spontaneous and planned daily activities focused on the five areas of literacy learning that best predict children's future reading and writing development: oral language, phonemic awareness, alphabet awareness, concepts about print, and early writing with inventive spelling. If preschool teachers know what these five predictors are, they can not only plan daily meaningful lessons in these areas, but they can maximize their ability to catch spontaneous teachable moments throughout the day. Winner of a 2010 Telly Award."

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