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Selecting Text for Emergent and Beginning Literacy Learner

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 1905 words Published: 18th May 2020

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The key to effective instruction in literacy lies within the identification of selecting and analyzing text structures (Ruetzel & Cooter, 2016). It is important to know your students needs, interests, and texts that will help impact their reading levels to aid in text selection. Dr. Hartman revealed a different perspective to looking at texts, he explained the use of a matrix as an analyzing tool for sorting the types of text-based on various dimension (Laureate Education, 2014a). Multiple forms of analyzing texts for student learning is crucial and necessary in maintaining learning while eliminating frustration.

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 The topic of study that I chose for my emergent and beginning learners is Giraffes. I chose three types of texts for my emergent and beginning reader; a narrative, informational and digital source. The first text I chose was the narrative story titled Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (Andreae, 2001). This book falls under the semantic-narrative text as part of the literacy matrix (Laureate Education, 2014a). It tells the story of a giraffe named Gerald, who longs to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. At the Jungle Dance, the warthogs walts, the chimps cha-cha, and the lions tango (Goodreads, n.d.). The characters tell Gerald that giraffe’s can’t dance, but with some sound advice from a wise cricket, Gerald start to sway to his own sweet tune (Goodreads, n.d.). This story is appropriate and adaptable for both of my students, the emergent and beginning literacy learner. 

 This text supports both the non-cognitive and cognitive characteristics. This story will interest both of my learners as both students mentioned a zoo during our assessment meetings. This text will work for my emergent reader because the illustrations help tell the story and she will be able to use picture clues while not being able to read all of the words. The cognitive aspects of my emergent reader showed me that she needed increased help in initial same sound consonants as well as needing increased knowledge of concepts of print. Along with her need in these areas, her age pertains to her increased knowledge and needs as well. This text is considered easy and has appropriate sentence length with rhyming, repetitive text or phrases, and initial same sound consonant words throughout the text. In many decodable or leveled texts there were often words repeated over and over and this makes a text easier to read for students (Laureate Education, 2014a). The ability to be able to use the visuals and illustrations within the text helps the student build comprehension while utilizing their prior schema and word base knowledge. There is a correlation between a student’s performance and reading or interpreting complex text and answering questions (Common Core State Initiative, 2012a). I would utilize this text to facilitate writing by having my student draw and label a picture of the beginning, middle and end of the story. This writing activity will target my emergent readers abilities to create a picture identifying story elements and key factors. Labeling would align with this students same sound consonants as well as her concepts of print knowledge need.

 For my beginning literacy learner, vocabulary was to be considered. He showed needs of continuing to grow his vocabulary skills through exposure and instruction. The vocabulary in this text is simple but has some difficulty of some trick words the student may now know or even hear of being an ESL student. The student will need to use context clues and insights from myself to help him read and truly understand the word and it’s meaning. This text will help allow this student to work on his comprehension development abilities and skills. This aspect of reading is crucial and important for an ESL student and with little vocabulary knowledge it can be even more difficult to compile those words to create comprehension.When my beginning reader student has finished reading the book, I will ask him to complete a story map which will help his comprehension of the story and show me his learned knowledge of the story line and elements.

 The informational text that I chose to use with my emergent and beginning literacy learners is a book titled, National Geographic Readers: Giraffes by Laura Marsh (Marsh, 2016).This book is an informational text about an exploration to the African savanna with giraffes which include engaging photos and upside down giraffes jokes and facts (Goodreads, n.d). This book meets the cognitive aspects of my emergent reader because she will be able to easily read the language pertaining to text features and giraffe research facts. Orthography deals with the development of print concepts and the basic knowledge of letters (Common Core State Standards, 2012a). National Geographic Readers: Giraffes aligns with Common Core State Standards by working on orthography through my emergent literacy leaner’s awareness of print and relationship between letters and sounds. This text categorizes in the informational-linguistic quadrant (Laureate Education, 2014a).

 For my beginning reader, once again I had to consider the vocabulary in his prior knowledge word bank. The Starpoint Phonics Assessment (Ruetzel & Cooter, 2016) gave me insight on my learners vocal needs in regards to real and nonsense words. This text has only real words, however, some words may be new or unknown to my beginning reader. This book could be used to explicitly help teach his needs and help him work on common vocabulary within an informational text. My beginning reader will be supported through the Common Core State Standards through the purpose of the text (Common Core State Standards, 2012). This text will serve the purpose of helping my student gain information and new knowledge about giraffes which will also help develop the students prior background knowledge as an ESL. This digital text falls into the informational-linguistics quadrant. Although I would consider this text to be a bit challenging for my emergent reader because the sentence lengths are longer but with more simple vocabulary and includes rich concepts (Laureate Education, 2014a), it is considered on level for my beginning reader and will not frustrate him along with his vocabulary needs.

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 For my final selection of text I chose to use with my emergent and beginning literacy learner is from the website Epic for Educators (EPIC, n.d). I chose the e-book titled, How Tall is a Giraffe? by Kurt Waldenodorf (Waldenodorf, 2017). How Tall is a Giraffe? is a text that introduces the height of a giraffe to reader through simple text, photographs, and measurement comparisons. This digital text falls under the informational-linguistic quadrant (Laureate Education, 2014a). This e-text also includes additional features for the students to view and utilize, such as, phonetic glossary, index, sources from further research, and a check it out section that supplements the main text with additional fun comparisons and facts about the topic (Goodread, n.d.). This text was appropriate for both my emergent and beginning literacy learner because it is in a real life book form with actual pages my students can slide and turn and this website offers highlighting of the words as they are being read out-loud. This is promoting proper concepts of print procedures and skills, following words left to right, reading top to bottom, turning pages, and starting at the beginning and continuing to the back cover. Emergent readers need to understand how to turn a page and the location of where to begin reading (Javorsky & Trainin, 2014). These are important and essential skills when in the beginning stages of print concepts and reading. This text will be a great resource for my emergent literacy learner for the purpose of aligning with the Common Core State Standards of concepts of print, a read aloud, and can be utilized as a guided reading text. The beginning literacy learner will also learn from and expand his vocabulary while reading this e-text. The cognitive aspects of this text will help contribute to his comprehension abilities as well as the additional book features appropriate for his age and learning abilities with reading and writing skills. This text has complex information and will require him to listen to the story a second time, follow along and re-read, as well as utilize features of the book and the e-book features to help with his understanding, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. For a writing activity, I would have the beginning literacy learner compare and contrast the two giraffe informational texts using a Venn Diagram. This will allow my student to use a physical book as well as technology through an e-book. This may cause a hard time to keep up with the read aloud and will take time to find similar facts and pages to compare. This writing task will be a very valuable writing lesson that will help foster a true understanding for some English language, vocabulary and comprehension skills as well as learning new features of a book. It is a great extension writing activity after exploring a theme through three different texts and forms of books. 

 Choosing and allaying books for both of my literacy learners has really helped me view the selection process as well as utilizing the literacy matrix to guide me in selecting texts that will help my students success in complex texts reading.


  • Andreae, G., Parker-Rees, G., & Williams, B. D. (2019). Giraffes cant dance. Solon, OH: Findaway World, LLC.
  • Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2012a). Common Core State Standards for English language arts & literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects: Appendix A: Research supporting key elements of the standards and glossary of key terms. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/assets/Appendix_A.pdf
  • EPIC!, (n.d.) For educators. Retrieved from https://www.getepic.com/educators
  • How Tall Is a Giraffe? by Kurt Waldendorf. (2017, January 01). Retrieved July 24, 2019, from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31320747-how-tall-is-a-giraffe
  • Javorsky, K., & Trainin, G. (2014). Teaching young readers to navigate a digital story when rules keep changing. Reading Teacher. 67(8), p.606-618.  
  • Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Analyzing and selecting texts [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
  • Marsh, L. (2016). Giraffes. Australia: National Geographic Society.
  • Reutzel, D. R., & Cooter, R. B., Jr. (2016). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction: Helping every child succeed (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.


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