Early Childhood Literacy
Literacy development commences early in life and educational professionals consider it essential to introduce children to school environment as they begin their search for knowledge. Early childhood professionals have termed language and literacy as vital in preparing children to prosper in school. Thus, in my opinion, early childhood literacy is the practice of introducing children to education curricula to enhance their language development, in addition to connecting their actions to teaching instruction. Early childhood literacy is vital in enabling a kind of learning experience that guarantees high academic achievements, higher graduation rates, as well as improved productivity in adult life. Early literacy curricula, as well as teaching practices, needs to be evidence-based and integrated into other fields of learning. The paper observes key components and strategies of early childhood literacy.
Early childhood teachers can utilize different types of instructions to pass knowledge to children. Such instructions include:
- Standards-based instruction is a form of directive that has been approved by the department of education to be used by early childhood teachers. Standard-based instruction dictates what the teacher has to teach, rather than what teachers know. Thus, teaching staff members should be enlightened on the developed curricula in order to instill appropriate knowledge to children.
- Evidence-based instruction is a distinctive form of directive that is based on a scientific research outcome to guide early childhood literacy. Evidence-based instruction capitalizes on how to teach instead of what and when to teach. The instruction is built on the notion that not all instructional ideas are good as the contemporary world has all tactics of teaching. Early childhood teacher is necessitated to have the right instructions in order to engage students in acquiring appropriate learning skills.
- Assessment-based instruction is a kind of educational guide that determines the viability of study by recognizing what is not working to review instruction. Although children are introduced to new skills in a group, their rate of absorption is quite different. Thus, teachers should use assessments to gauge the rate at which individual students comprehend ideas and then proceed to make decisions on what such students need to do to improve.
- Student-based instruction indicates that human element is essential in any study where students have to be engaged in the learning process. Learning involves engagement of human minds and motivation. When children read their books aloud, they feel motivated to learn new words while their teachers are enthusiastic to pass their knowledge based on the student reaction.
The early literacy incorporates a number of components or skills that children need to develop to become excellent readers and writers. According to Blamey and Beauchat (2016), children should begin their search for knowledge by understanding the oral language as they comprehend the vocabulary. Out of the eight components of early literacy, the one that seems unfamiliar to me is phonological awareness. My expectation from early literacy skills is that I would be able to learn how to engage children towards a successful text comprehension, which is the ultimate goal of early childhood literacy.
Oral language is essential in encouraging children to master different sounds that make words. Dramatic play is an oral language approach that incorporates setting up a play context that is based on theme which includes props and encourages role play. Children are likely to learn different word sounds when they are exposed to different dramatic plays. I am planning to utilize dramatic play to expose children to common words, as well as vocabulary, which can assist them to develop their language. Dramatic play would encourage children to communicate through imitating what they hear from their teacher. In addition, it would create an opportunity for the students to talk to their teacher or to their fellow students concerning what they have heard.
Word knowledge is considered essential in expressing needs and desires. Children will normally find some words useful if they can utilize them frequently during a conversation. Thus, conversations as a word knowledge strategy can assist in planning intentional dialogues, concerning words that are connected through theme or topic. I can use conversations to highlight different words that I want students to capture for their own use. Establishing a conversation offers the best way to teach children words that have same sound but different meanings. Lack of a development list that specifies words that should be introduced to children at certain age or level makes it possible to create a spontaneous conversation with children with an aim of introducing new words to their list of vocabulary.
Children who have mastered alphabet knowledge and phonology are perceived to be ready to become excellent readers and writers. Phonological awareness enables children to recognize sound structure within the language. One of the strategies of alphabetic and phonological awareness is read-aloud, which involves reading alphabets aloud from a book and asking children to find different letters of the alphabet. As an early literacy teacher, I can utilize read-aloud strategy to assess the understanding of different alphabet by reading words with the same sound from a book. During the read-aloud, I can assist children to develop sound structures by asking open-ended questions, which would prompt them to reply using numerous word sounds.
To sum up, early childhood literacy involves the use of various strategies to enhance learning abilities. It refers to major skills and several steps characterize this process. They range from oral language use to the knowledge of vocabulary, alphabet and phonetics.
Blamey, K. & Beauchat, K. (2016). Starting Strong: Evidence-based early literacy practices. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.