Introduction “Literacy learning has a profound and lasting effect on the social and academic lives of children. Their future educational opportunities and career choices are directly related to literacy ability. Since early childhood is the period when language develops most rapidly, it is imperative that young children are provided with a variety of developmentally appropriate literacy experiences throughout each day, and that the classroom environment is rich with language, both spoken and printed.
Early childhood teachers are responsible for both understanding the developmental continuum of language and literacy and for supporting each child’s literacy development. Literacy learning begins at birth and develops rapidly during the preschool period. The main components of literacy—listening, speaking, reading, and writing—should all be encouraged and supported through conversations and activities that are meaningful to the child and that involve adults and peers. Each child’s interest and motivation to engage in literacy-related activities are evident before that child is able to read or write conventionally.
Children should be provided with environments that encourage literacy exploration and their emergent reading and writing behaviors should be valued and supported by their teachers. Effective language and literacy programs provide children who do not speak English with opportunities for listening, speaking, reading, and writing in both English and the home language. It is important for the teacher to recognize the need to make modifications in the presentation of vocabulary, directions, storytelling, reading, and other oral language communication when working with children who do not speak English as their home language.
These modifications may include the use of visual aids, scaffolding, repetition, rephrasing, and modeling. ” (NJ Department of Education, 2009) Gone are the days in which manual labor was the backbone of our society. We are a people living in the information technology age. Everything that is done from brewing your morning cup of coffee to setting your I-pod to wake you up morning and everything in between requires reading. Without reading a person will face great adversity in day to day living let alone success. It is now critical that every child and adult be able to read and comprehend.
Over the past ten years, the amount of information that requires one to read, utilize writing skills, problem solving, and critical thinking has grown enormously. Studies have shown that one of the strongest indicators of a child’s success in school is the educational attainment of his or her parents. As you can imagine, this can plainly effect more than the person who is illiterate. This can also be a death sentence of poverty and destitution as the child grows into adulthood just as doors open for the life-long reader.
Today we will discuss: what is needed to prepare children to read, the methods used to help recognize phonics and begin the transition into emergent readers, and what can be done to encourage reading in the future. Preparation In order for a child to begin reading parents must begin assisting their child from an early age. “Every step a child takes toward learning to read leads to another. Bit by bit, the child builds the knowledge that is necessary for being a reader. Over their first 6 years, most children •Talk and listen. •Listen to stories read aloud. •Pretend to read. Learn how to handle books. •Learn about print and how it works. •Identify letters by name and shape. •Identify separate sounds in spoken language. •Write with scribbles and drawing. •Connect single letters with the sounds they make. •Connect what they already know to what they hear read. •Predict what comes next in stories and poems. •Connect combinations of letters with sounds. •Recognize simple words in print. •Sum up what a story is about. •Write individual letters of the alphabet. •Write words. •Write simple sentences. •Read simple books. •Write to communicate. •Read simple books.
Children can take more than one of these steps at the same time. This list of steps, though, gives you a general idea of how your child will progress toward reading. ” (Helping your child become a reader) While these ideas may seem structured, it is also important to allow children to be creative and use their imagination. Although reading is imperative, too many arrangements and rules can turn a child off and lead to feelings of resentment, anger, and resistance. Reading should be set to the tone and pace of the child. Emergent Readers As the standards of education change a consistent factor remains the focus on reading.
Early childhood educators must provide an atmosphere that is both developmentally stimulating to the student while also meeting the standards of education. The methods used to help recognize phonics and begin the transition into emergent readers vary from student to student. Without the foundation of phonics research shows that a child will not learn to read. All children must know the alphabet in order to communicate effectively. Phonics cannot be drilled into the child. This will only produce memorization. Instead, educators must understand a child’s individual needs as well as balance.
There is no true need to teach phonics as a separate subject. Most children will develop a sense of curiosity from their own knowledge, ideas, and interest. There will of course be a select few that may benefit from a more formal instruction. When children have a reason to know this will provide enthusiasm. For example: The first letter and sound a child typically learns may be his or her own name. A teacher may ask Billy to identify the first letter of his name. “B” replies Billy. “What sound does the letter B make? ” “Buh-buh-Billy exclaims the child. Billy is now inspired and driven to want to learn the other sounds the letters make.
Parents and teachers must also realize that reading will contrast greatly as children grow. Below is a list that may help each parent as well as teacher: “Infants •Talk, read, and sing to infants–they learn from everything they see and hear even in the first stages of life. •Take your baby to the park, zoo, and the store with you. Bring her attention to objects, signs, and people. •Always make books a part of your baby’s toy selection, even if he enjoys handling books more than being read to. As your child grows, point out pictures of objects and offer their names. Eventually, your child will be able to name the pictures, too. Encourage associations between symbols and their meaning–as they get closer to toddlerhood, children may begin to recognize familiar signs for products and logos for cereal or fast food restaurants. Toddlers •Help toddlers make the transition from baby talk to adult language by repeating their words and expressions correctly without reprimanding them. •Let toddlers “read” their favorite picture books by themselves while you remain close by to comment. Or, pause before a familiar word as you read to your toddler, and let her fill in the missing word. This works especially well with rhymes or repeated refrains. Provide magnetic and block letters to introduce a toddler to the spelling of his name. •Before you take your toddler on a new type of outing, read about the events you are about to witness. Talk with your child about the experience, and follow up with further reading to reinforce learning. Preschooler •Add new books to your child’s collection, but keep reading old favorites. Your preschooler may know them by heart now–this represents an important step in learning about reading. •Continue to take children shopping with you, and let them help identify products with coupons. Let preschool children join in as you follow a recipe. Take books on long trips with you to encourage reading as entertainment. School-age children •Continue to read to your child, even if she has learned to read already. Take turns reading pages of your favorite books. •Encourage story writing by listening to the stories children tell. •Play word games like Scrabble or Boggle with children and introduce them to crossword puzzles. ” (NAEYC, 1998) Encouragement “The first step in teaching a child to read is encouraging them to read. ” – Unknown. This is a proven fact in the development of children. A child that is encouraged has no limit on what he or she can achieve.
As educators and parents the responsibility begins early. Reading will encourage children to develop a life-long love for learning. If knowledge is power, books are full of it. Why is reading so important to children? “The Media Awareness Network emphasizes the potentially negative effects watching television can have on kids. This includes increased exposure to violence, sexual content, and adversely affecting a child’s course of development. In addition, watching television teaches children habits that promote a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to childhood obesity.
Meanwhile, reading has been proven to enhance a child’s life by assisting cognitive development and helping children build language skills. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization points out that reading helps children develop a sense of empowerment. It can also help children develop social and communication skills. Furthermore, good reading skills increase educational opportunities and may dramatically increase a child’s chances for academic and lifelong success” (Lendabarker, 2010) There is a vast assortment of options for parents to help encourage reading at home.
One of the longest running programs to encourage reading is Pizza Hut’s “BOOK IT” program. “This provides an incentive to motivate children to read. BOOK IT! runs every school year from October through March. The teacher sets a reading goal for each child in the class. A tracking chart and reproducibles are included to make it that much easier. As soon as a child meets the monthly reading goal, the teacher gives him or her a Reading Award Certificate. ” (Pizza Hut) Flexible BOOK IT! goals are based on reading ability. Number of books, number of pages, or number of minutes – they all work.
BOOK IT! can also be used with the reading curriculum or as support for comprehension or intervention programs. For children not reading independently, the goal can be set where a parent or others read to the child. Fun Pizza Hut is proud of all BOOK IT! readers! The restaurant manager and team congratulate every child for meeting the monthly reading goal and reward them with a free, one-topping Personal Pan Pizza, BOOK IT! card and backpack clip. Other ideas to encourage reading include: •Make a habit of reading to your child every day, whether she is a one-year-old or a 10-year-old. When your child is able to, have her read to you. You can take turns reading chapters in a simple chapter book, for example. •Get a library card for your child. Go to the library every week and take out several books. •Be aware of your child’s interests and direct your child to related books. •Try to find a series that she really likes and will want to continue reading. •Provide a comfortable reading area, with good lighting, in your home. •Discuss books with your child. •Buy books for your children that are related to their special interests. If your child is a reluctant reader and not reading on grade level, buy her hi/lo books (books with a high interest level, low vocabulary). •Talk to your child’s teacher and ask for suggestions. •If your child likes incentives and the computer, enroll in an online book group. •If your child really enjoys a particular author, check with your librarian about other authors or books she might enjoy. •Children also often enjoy the opportunity to read children’s magazines As parents and educators, it is more important to spend time reading with your child on a consistent on-going basis.
The method you select is not nearly as important as the time spent actually reading together. Conclusion Show me a child that can read and research will show you a child on his or her way to succeed. Parents, educators, grandparents, aunts, uncles all need to take time to read to a child. All too often parents rush out to buy the latest video game or latest toy. Where is that enthusiasm for the love of reading? How many children even see their parents read? We live in an age where technology surrounds us at every given moment; that does not negate the need to read and to take an active role in the education of children.
The research speaks for itself. Reading equals succeeding. Works Cited Bagert, B. C. (1993). Helping your child learn to read. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from Kids Source: http://www. kidsource. com/kidsource/content/learread. html Lendabarker, K. (2010, January 3). Encouraging Children to Read. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from Suite101: http://earlychildhood. suite101. com/article. cfm/helping_children_develop_good_reading_habits NAEYC. (1998). Phonics and Whole Language Learning. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from Education. com: http://www. education. com/reference/article/Ref_Phonics_Whole/ NJ Department of Education. 2009, Unknown Unknown). Retrieved February 16, 2010, from www. state. nj. us: www. state. nj. us/education/cccs/2009/PreSchool. doc Pizza Hut. (n. d. ). Pizza Hut. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program: http://www. bookitprogram. com/bedtimestory/ Uknown. (n. d. ). Literacy Guide. Retrieved February 24, 2010, from Bankstreet: http://www. bankstreet. edu/literacyguide/early2. html Unknown. (unknown, unknown unknown). Helping your child become a reader. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from Ed. gov: http://www2. ed. gov/parents/academic/help/reader/part4. html