Chapter 4: Working with the Youngest Readers and Writers
Chapter four outlines children’s progress through the emergent, beginning, and fluent stages of literacy development. Effective instructional practices such as the Language Experience Approach, Shared Reading, and Interactive Writing are explained.
Chapter 4 Objectives
After reading this chapter, students should be able to:
- Describe methods of fostering young children’s interest in literacy and teaching concepts about written language.
- Describe the emergent, beginning, and fluent stages of literacy development.
- Match instructional activities to children’s stages of reading and writing development.
Chapter 4 Outline
Vignette: K-3 Students Become Readers and Writers
FOSTERING AN INTEREST IN LITERACY
- Concepts About Print
- Concepts About Words
- Concepts About the Alphabet
- Assessing Children’s Concepts About Written Language
HOW CHILDREN DEVELOP AS READERS AND WRITERS
- Stage 1: Emergent Reading and Writing
- Stage 2: Beginning Reading and Writing
- Stage 3: Fluent Reading and Writing
- Morning Message
- Shared Reading
- Language Experience Approach
- Interactive Writing
- Manuscript Handwriting
- Writing Centers
- Teaching Suggestions
Chapter 4 introduces pre-service teachers to the needs of the youngest readers and writers. As the class begins a study of chapter 4, invite the students to discuss the questions which follow.
- Literacy is a process that begins in infancy and continues throughout our lives. What role do parents and early caregivers play in guiding a child to literacy?
- Some young children have rich literacy experiences while others have little exposure to books and other forms of print. How can teachers meet the diverse needs of young students in their classrooms?
Pre-service teachers should consider the questions which follow as they read chapter 4.
- How can teachers motivate young children to read?
- What are the stages in a child’s literacy development?
- What are the most appropriate literacy instructional practices for young children?
- Write Morning Messages for your college students. Begin by writing a message that states the topics you will cover in that day’s class, deadlines for assignments, and your local college news. Use your morning message to explain this practice to your class. You may wish to then invite the college students to take turns writing a morning message each day.
- Review the Language Experience Approach with the pre-service teachers in your class. Ask them to participate by dictating a text related to an aspect of campus life such as a sporting event, registration for classes, or extra-curricular activities.
After Class Activities
- Ask the pre-service teachers in your class to form groups to develop literacy play centers. If time and materials are available, the students could construct the literacy play centers in your college classroom. If that is not possible, ask the students to draw a diagram that shows the materials they would use and the preferred placement for those materials.
- Young children begin reading by recognizing environmental print such as logos on fast-food restaurants, department stores, and grocery stores. Challenge your college students to find appealing environmental print in their area. Ask the college students to list the environmental print they encounter during the trip from their homes to the college campus. When they bring their lists to class, encourage them to identify the terms (such as the name of a toy store or playground) that would attract the attention of young children.
Encourage students to explore chapter 4 topics in more depth by reading the following books.
Ashton-Warner, S. (1986). Teacher. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Tompkins, G.E. & Collom, S. (2004). Sharing the pen: Interactive writing with young children. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
The National Association for the Education of Young Children maintains a website that can help teachers find appropriate materials and services for their students. http://www.naeyc.org
Four Simple Steps to Small Group Guided Writing
This lesson plan, published on the Read Write Think website, helps teachers guide young students in the writing process. http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=1149