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- Discuss different definitions of literacy and how you can define “literacy” in your own teaching context.
It is important to know the students background to understand how outside forces can affect a student’s literacy development.
- Identify “the essentials” of early literacy instruction. What is important in teaching and learning early literacy skills? How would you define “good practices” in early literacy classrooms? What should teachers know to better support young children’s language/literacy development?
Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s view of preschooler’s thinking and cognitive development differ greatly. Vygotsky focuses heavily on the cultural effect on development. He believed children acquired different knowledge and skills based on their locations, certain kids in certain places cannot do what others in a different location can (Genishi and Dyson, 2009, pg. 9). Vygotsky theorized that preschoolers are influenced by conversations and experiences with others more than we realize and because they are so influenced by them, they cannot show their highest levels of cognitive development and thinking on their own without someone far more capable than them (a friend or adult). Vygotsky believed language is very important to learning as well as play (Genishi and Dyson, 2009, pg.9). Knowing the view how preschooler’s thinking and cognitive development work will surely help the teacher understand how to help the student grow in developing their literacy skills and their comprehension. For example, children growing up in different cultures receive inputs from their environment. Therefore, we can see that there is an assortment of cultural differences in children beliefs and behavior. Language is one of the many ways through which culture impacts early childhood development as well. It is important for educators to identify and understand how culture impacts early childhood development in order to help all children learn. Genishi and Dyson (2009), mention in their book that considering children’s language use can be “useful” for teachers. The authors state that “it alerts us to the different linguistic rules children may be learning; this is especially important for children beyond the earliest levels of language learning” (pg. 24).
Reading definitely can enhance the effectiveness of the classroom literacy practices and surely will benefit on language and literacy skills of children from different backgrounds. So, after reading the articles and books on child development, the fact is, I was very surprise to find that most children’s literacy development are set in the early years before they begin formal literacy training in school. Babies, or young children start to develop the skills that will foster them to become effective writers and readers through their daily experiences.
I believe the best way to support children’s literacy and language development is to present symbols, for example, pictures and print. Children will begin to understand that pictures and print are spoken language. I have seen, for young readers, book with illustrations are an important part of learning how to read. In my classroom, I provide books of all sorts including picture books. Believe it or not, picture books help my English language learners comprehend what we are reading. Providing picture books in the classroom will promote literacy to children and will boost sentence structure, storytelling, and vocabulary. I learned how to utilize picture books to teach phonological awareness, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. For example, the rhythm and rhyme of picture books makes them easy to understand and fun to read aloud, allowing children to learn words quickly, comprehend the story, practice fluency, and learn language. (Example)
- You will identify and describe some teaching strategies for (1) phonemic awareness, (2) vocabulary, (3) reading comprehension, and (4) reading fluency development, and how you support your students’ language/literacy learning in your classroom.
The curriculum is an important influence in teaching our students. As educators, we want to ensure that our teaching methods and assessments do not place our student at a disadvantage, rather our teaching methods or learning activities are to support diverse learning. One of my biggest pet peeves is worksheets. Students should not be spending any time within the school day working on pencil and paper activities; but should be using their time within the classroom as a hands-on learning.
Reading Comprehension: (Activate prior knowledge make sure to discuss this and quote)
The students drive and their ability to learn will help them grow throughout their life experiences. However, educators, need to understand that culture shapes behavior and learning. Aspects of cultural identity are connected and influence each other. For example, after reading Esperanza Rising, students discussed their experiences about migrating to the United States and connected with Esperanza’s emotions. Some other student’s connected with Esperanza by discussing how they felt moving to a new city and adjusting to a new life. For this activity, I would be using the Gallery Walk activity for discussion and student’s interaction. I believe the Gallery Walk allows students to be actively engaged as they walk throughout the classroom. The students will benefit with this activity because they will be able to work together in small groups to share ideas and respond to meaning questions. First, teacher will put up five pieces of chart paper, each in a different part of the room. Next, teachers will write the theme and questions on each of the chart paper for small group discussion. The small groups will be formed into heterogeneous groups and they will be assigned a different part of the book. Then, teacher will provide time for each group to read the text aloud together (how does reading together help the struggling readers). After, reading the text, teacher will provide time to discuss the text with a specific focus on the theme and the message of the text. This activity will students make connections, focus on the message of the text, comprehend the idea of the text, and students will be able to interact. I have used this activity/strategy numerous times in my classroom and I have seen the benefits of students learning and growth. This provides opportunities for students to practice comprehension when they are listening and responding to the text they are reading.
In order for our students to comprehend a text, teachers need to be clear of the expectations we want for our students to comprehend a text, teachers need to be clear of the expectations we want for our students. Teachers need to make it clear to the student what kind of language you expect the students to use in the classroom and provide language models when students have difficulty expressing themselves correctly. The think, pair, share strategy encourages students to participate in the class discussions and give students opportunities to talk in a linguistically rich environment. For example, I am a an 8th grade English language arts teacher and one of the books I love to teach is Copper Sun by Sharon Draper. Copper Sun is challenging book to read because the vocabulary in the book is bold, the story is written in the third person, and the book is beautifully decorated with figurative language. I introduce the book with a display of a photo of slavery on the InFocus board and I would have my students think about the photo. Then I would have students pair up and discuss their thoughts. After students will share what they discussed. Prior knowledge is key to understanding about the text. However, Vocabulary is vital for student comprehension and vocabulary knowledge plays an important role in a student’s ability to understand the language in academic learning.
Children will often actively seek interactions with others and will more frequently interact with persons who are positive. Preschool friendships provide opportunities for conflict-resolution, learning social roles within groups, and enable opportunities to learn cooperative tasks and communication.
- Draper Sharon, M. (2008). Copper sun. New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
- Genishi, C. & Dyson, A. H. (2009). Children, language, and literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times. New York, NY: Teacher’s College Press.
- Pardo, L. S. (2004). What every teacher needs to know about comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 58(3), 272-280.
- Rasinski, T. (2017). Fluency matters. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 7(1), 3-12.
- Christ, T. & Wang, X. (2012). Supporting Preschoolers’ Vocabulary Learning: Using a Decision-Making Model to Select Appropriate Words and Methods. YC Young Children, 67(2), 74-80.
- Roskos, K., Christie, J., & Richgels, D. (2003). The Essentials of Early Literacy Instruction. Young Children, 58 (2), 1-8.
- Chapter 6: Understandings of literacy. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://blackboardlearn.utep.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/28518.201920/Articles/Session 1_Article #1.pdf
- Genishi, C., & Dyson, A. H. (2009). Children, language, and literacy: Diverse learners in diverse times. New York: Teachers College Press.
- Yopp, H. K., & Yopp, R. H. (2000). Supporting Phonemic Awareness Development in the Classroom. The Reading Teacher, 54(2), 130-143. doi:10.1598/rt.54.2.2
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