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Chapter 5, "Sounds of the Language: Speaking and Listening" teaches us to recognize the four stages of language production in preschool children, which are: preproduction, transition to production, early production and expansion of production. There are many strategies and activities teachers can use to facilitate children language production. Story reading and storytelling is the core for developing speaking and listening skills. Pretend play is one of the strategies used to stimulate conversation. Pretend play that include literacy print works as a natural extension of children's preschool work, it also gives an opportunity to work with challenging activities that helps stimulating language production.
Extensive research has been done to prove the correlation between symbolic play and literacy consistently confirming that language surrounding young children's symbolic play is an essential part of literacy development, for the reason that children exercise and expand emergent literacy skills during play. Pellegrini (1980) discovered that skills utilized during play were also required for reading and writing. Wolfang and Sanders (1981) discovered that the process that children use in reading is the same as when children use symbols in play. Play also gives children a chance to exercise their abstract thinking. The work of other researches also suggests that children expand their story telling abilities during dramatic play and therefore implies that early literacy development in young children can take place during play.
Beaty and Pratt emphasize the importance of providing opportunities for conversation, as a way of developing speaking skills. Every day teachers should get down to a child's level and have a real conversation with each child. Just as important as having conversations with adults, children must have an opportunity to experience child-child conversation. One of the ways of promoting child-child conversation is through reading cultural character books to pair of children. Parents/caregivers should also have daily conversations that are positive, open and respectful, expressing themselves in a language and style appropriate to children's age and developmental level. Children should hear to the spoken language of those around them as well as being a part of it. They should practice these important skills not only in school but at home as well. Simply talking more with children helps language develop.
It has long been known that children with a history of listening to stories during the early years have better developed language skills and better reading comprehension than children without such a history (Chomsky 1972, Moerk 1985; Wells 1985). Language transmits more of the meaning when a child is listening to a story and lacks the contextual cues of an ongoing shared event. In order to comprehend and follow the story the child has to pay close attention to the language even more than he requires to in every day contexts and it helps build up language skills (Chomsky, 1972). I believe that story reading and storytelling are necessary for child's language development, since language found in books differs significantly from the language found in conversation: it is more formal, and more information and images are packed into its sentences.
I know that many preschoolers are fascinated with writing, with tools used to do it, with the purpose for which is used, and with the results of her efforts. Learning to write involves much more than just learning to form alphabet letter. According to Beaty and Pratt a child needs to have well developed small-motor and perceptual-motor in order to use fingers and manipulate different object (crayon, pencil, marker, etc).
Children begin to develop writing skills from early years just by muscles strengthen, pointing, grabbing and letting go of objects that they are holding. During this time the child learns to move their hands and fingers. Some of the basics steps to see if a child is ready to write are: hand muscle development being able to hold the pencil and having appropriate pencil grasp. If the child can hold the pencil the right way and demonstrates hand dominance at this point he/she begin to develop skills and accuracy to perform fine motor skills like cutting (Naus, 2000).
Chapter 6, "Developing Eye-Hand Coordination" introduces different literacy activities like sorting and stacking items, painting with brushes, playing puzzles, manipulating blocks and many other activities which can help facilitate in strengthening of the fine muscles of the fingers, hand, wrist and arms.
It is important for children to have good muscle development. In-hand manipulations skills are skills, which are used with children to develop their fine motor skills. These skills take time and practice to build up but will develop power and coordination needed to grasp control when writing. There are different types of hand muscle development activities, which can include playing with dough and creating things out of play dough. Children can make collages by tearing paper and coloring and then gluing it back together. When doing language arts children could demonstrate their stories using crayons and markers, by doing this children improve their fine motor skills. According to Beaty and Pratt eye-hand coordination is a combination of small-motor and perceptual-motor development, which allows children to use their sight to direct hand and finger movement. Child with good eye-hand coordination should be able to see where to write the word on the line and not all over the page. The child must be able to make a basic stokes that has to do with the child's motor gears. Some of the basic strokes should incorporate horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines as well as circles. The child must be able to follow auditor, visual or signed directions and has to be able to focus on writing for a short period of time. For a child, who is clumsy and has difficulties with fine motor, teacher could give them literacy activities to help improve his/her hand development and writing skills. This chapter focuses on use of three learning centers: the art center, the cooking area and the woodworking center as a method that provides finger-strengthening activities especially conductive to promoting eye-hand coordination needed for learning to write.
Book 50 Early Childhood Literacy Strategies by Janice Beaty presents great strategies that can be used with children to promote early literacy development. I would like to utilize finger painting strategy as way of encouraging children to write as well as draw. This strategy facilitates strengthening of the fine muscles of the fingers, hands, wrists and arms.
Teaching early literacy stresses that children are to know literature, they need opportunities to respond to it in a variety of ways: discussion, art, music, writing and drama. Finger painting provides a wonderful chance for children to create different forms, write letters, notes or make up their own stories, draw characters from books. Once their work is complete and dry, children can practice telling a story about their creation, further examining language while expressing personal feelings. This early childhood literacy strategy supports child's creativity and imagination, which are wonderful traits for children to possess.