Posted on 12/16/2016 at 09:27 AM by Liz Determan

Lucy Hart Paulson and Louisa C. Moats in LETRS for Early Childhood Educators say (pg. 3) there are 3 essential components of early literacy development—oral language, phonological awareness and print knowledge.  They also say (pg. 6) that the more experience children have in these areas before they begin formal schooling, the better equipped they are to succeed with reading.  Let’s look at some sections of their wrap-up statements at the ends of the chapters that cover each of these areas.

(pg. 47-48) Oral language is an important component of early literacy.  …  The stages children go through when learning how to read are similar to those they go through when learning to talk.  Children who are engaged in developmentally appropriate activities that focus on both spoken and written language tend to display improved skill and mastery in both. …  When we talk to and with children, using language stimulation techniques helps build these important skills. … The quality of children’s early experiences influences their language and literacy learning and, therefore, lifelong outcomes.  We foster young children’s developing language when we talk, sing, and interact with them throughout the day, during daily routines, and during play.  As early childhood educators, we need to model, facilitate, and scaffold language use all day long. 

(pg. 66-67) Phonological awareness is an important aspect of early literacy that is related to reading success later in school and is an important link between oral and written language.  Component skills include rhyming, alliteration, blending and segmenting within a linguistic hierarchy of speech structures such as syllables, onset-rime units, and phonemes (sounds). … There are many opportunities to include phonological awareness instruction into everyday routines and activities in playful and developmentally appropriate ways at school and at home.  …  For many children…specific instruction is required to help them develop an understanding of the structures of speech sounds and words, which in turn is necessary to understand how speech is represented in written form.  Developing appropriate training of phonological awareness skills in young children puts them on the right road to reading.

(pg. 89) Print is everywhere in our lives.  A central goal during the preschool years is to heighten children’s understanding of how print works.  The three elements that make up our understanding of print include an awareness of how print works, an understanding of the written symbols that represent our spoken language, and learning to be a writer.  Children learn to recognize print, give it meaning, and use it for a variety of purposes.  During the preschool years, children learn about the symbols of our alphabet and how to use them.  Important to this process is having young children write with us, modeling for them the next stage in their learning.  Children develop awareness and understanding of literacy through multiple, interactive exposures to print.

(pg.161) preschool teachers and para educators in Northwest AEA participated in 2 full days of LETRS training provided by the Iowa Department of Education in November and December.  How fortunate that is for developing these essentials in the young children they serve!

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