Thursday, December 15, 2016

ALL kids will only succeed as readers if WE are "ALL" in!

Parents, teachers, tech tools: working together for student achievement
by Sharon Davison | Apr 28, 2015 | Less Teacher, More Student, Making The Shift, Voices

"What a wonderful surprise I had in my Gmail yesterday! I have been sick and many of my students have been out as well. So one of my innovative parents decided to create and connect Kindergarten at home with her child who was not well.

The reason I am posting about this is because as a teacher, I am able to model explicitly how I use digital tools, but also more importantly how they can offer an opportunity to connect and engage when you are not able to come to school.

Parents working alongside teachers
In my classroom parents understand that the blogs I use are ways for them to connect, reflect with their child and engage in the learning. So because this parent looked at our class blog, she was able to connect the learning happening in Kindergarten with her own child. I love this because it reflects and displays so beautifully the seamlessness that blogging can offer. As an educator I want my students and their families to be a part of our daily learning. When this is encouraged, parents feel welcomed to engage. Through our ability to model this and offer invitations to extend learning outside of our classrooms parents begin to work alongside us, the teachers who are working hard each day to make a difference for all of our students."

We have been reading a variety of texts and creating our own persuasive writing pieces. One of the things I love about Kindergarten is how excited my students are when we read together. Through reading a story out loud and making it interactive I am able to model and make connections. My students pick up on this right away! During our turn and talks everyone is excited to share,participate, reflect and engage in their own writing to share their point of view!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What Does My Child Do in School All Day?

Parents need to be partners in their child's learning/education.  I want to encourage parents to learn about their child's school day.  What is the child learning in reading, writing, social studies, science?

Here is one resource that might be helping in learning about reading.  It is based on the Common Core State Standards:

Read Works
Educational institutions join forces with literacy nonprofit
"Literacy nonprofit ReadWorks, the most consulted creator and provider of ELA curriculum in the U.S., announced partnerships with several leading cultural and educational institutions that will give teachers access to high-quality content, free of charge. The news comes shortly after ReadWorks surpassed the one million Active Teacher User mark for the school year."

Here are a few other suggestions:

Get engaged in your child's education by volunteering if possible.  If not, try to visit at least once a trimester or quarter.

Check to see if your child's teacher has a blog. 

Take an interest in the papers/work your child brings home. Just in case the child doesn't bring home papers, check to see the child's reading folder/bin while visiting the school.

Ask your child's teacher for recommendations for children's books or authors.

Read all progress reports.  As for a conference if you don't understand them or are concerned about your child's progress.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Starting Early Matters; What YOU Know Matters

I don't usually post this kind of K-12 resource on the TALK blog, but if we really want to help children to grow in their language/literacy/learning skills, we need to know as much as we can about

What kids know.

So, take a look at the Knowledge Matters site and follow through to the Seize the Day posts.

Knowledge Matters Resources.  What You Know DOES Matter.

Go to Dig Deeper
And then click on Seize the Day:
Continue on to Resources for Parents (There are Teacher Resources, too!)
There are several links that give you a quick sketch (video) of what children know in reading writing, math and life skills in grades K through High School.  Knowing what kids CAN do is critical to knowing what we should be possible for kids who are struggling.  

So check out Seize the Day resources:

“All of us can spend more time—at school and at home—teaching our children about the world. We can seek out nonfiction videos and texts, discuss current events, and make time for museums and libraries. We can also share this infographic showing why knowledge matters and use this guide to improve curricula and instructional materials.

Resources for Parents
From reading books aloud to visiting museums to asking teachers for more knowledge-building assignments, parents can do a great deal to ensure that their children build the knowledge that they need to do well in school.
Milestones Videos  Especially valuable!....especially if you aren't sure of that Kindergartners or Third Grades, for example, are able to do:

This extensive set of short videos show parents what grade-level work looks like from kindergarten to high school.

There are also:

Resources for Teachers
These resources are recommended by teachers for knowledge-rich instruction—and most of them are free.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Valuable site on Vocabulary

Here is a site I just discovered that focus on vocabulary for middle grades.  I encourage you to check it out---lots of good references and links

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Powerful Vocabulary: Why? How? What?

A Power Point Presentation

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Dialogic Reading Resources

I have long been a fan of Dialogic Reading (by Whitehurst).  Here are two excellent resource:

Reading Rockets: Explanation by Whitehurst of Dialogic Reading

A series of short videos demonstrating Dialogic Reading:

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Valuable Article on Vocabulary Development of Young Children

Review of Recent Vocabulary Research, 2010

The NRP’s synthesis of vocabulary research identified eight findings that provide a scientifically based foundation for the design of rich, multifaceted vocabulary instruction. The findings are:
Here are the first three excerpted from the article:

:”• Provide direct instruction of vocabulary words for a specific text. Anderson and Nagy (1991) pointed out “there are precise words children may need to know in order to comprehend particular lessons or subject matter.”

 • Repetition and multiple exposures to vocabulary items are important. Stahl (2005) cautioned against “mere repetition or drill of the word,” emphasizing that vocabulary instruction should provide students with opportunities to encounter words repeatedly and in a variety of contexts.

• Vocabulary words should be those that the learner will find useful in many contexts. Instruction of high-frequency words known and used by mature language users can add productively to an individual’s language ability (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002). Research suggests that vocabulary learning follows a developmental trajectory (Biemiller, 2001).”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kindergarten: Two-Way Readiness

From a recent NAEYC Posting:  I love the idea that both Kindergartners and Kindergarten need to be ready for this great adventure!  Two short excerpts:

Ready for Kindergarten?  Ready for Kindergartners?

Here We come!
"While many of us focus on the basics of letter and number recognition or reading skills, kindergarten readiness encompasses more than a few isolated skills. We need to look at the whole child and all the skills and strengths each child has developed. That’s what makes them unique. As an example, Sasha may love books and have exceptional reading abilities, but she struggles with shyness that prevents her from engaging with other children. Joshua might be very strong socially but still has difficulty holding and using a pencil correctly. Emma can do both these things, but she can be very silly and wiggly and gets distracted in group settings. Despite these differences, all of these children are ready for school...."

We Are Ready for You!

"Many parents have questions about whether their child is ready for kindergarten. Don’t forget that it’s important for the school to be ready for your child as well. Young children are so different from each other - their maturity, language development, past experiences, home languages, physical and social development can vary widely. Kindergarten is a wonderful way to get children of all abilities, languages, and backgrounds ready for success in school – each in their own way. Here are some things you can do to help your school be ready for your child..."

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Books and Themes: A New Resource

What does your child love to explore and learn about? Pick a theme below and get started!

Dig into dinosaurs, bugs, birds, planes, music, sports, superheroes, inventors, art, the night sky, the ocean, and more — 
24 themes in all. Start with a book … and see where your child's imagination goes!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Progress But Still Lots of Work to Do

From Reading Rockets, a great up-to-date source of posts on struggling readers: A short excerpt

Recent Trends in Income, Racial,

and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps

 at Kindergarten Entry

Sean F. Reardon, Ximena A. Portilla (August 2016 ). Recent Trends in Income,
Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry,
American Educational Research Association (AERA) Open, DOI: 10.1177/2332858416657343,
This study found that low-income kindergarten students have reversed the trend
of growing academic achievement gaps between them and their
higher-income peers. Academic achievement gaps grew from 
the 1970s to the 1990s, but from 1998 to 2010 the gaps shrank 10-16%.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Oral Language AND Literacy. Not either/or

Oral Language AND Literacy: Not either/or
A short excerpt from an article published in Reading Rockets
“Recently, Chris Lonigan and I (Timothy Shanahan) wrote a short article for Language Magazine. It’s focus is on “The Role of Early Oral Language in Literacy Development.” I think both Chris and I have bona fides in the “phonics/decoding/foundational skills” community and have the scars to show it. But we are both also advocates of the so-called “simple view” of reading — students need to know how to decode from print to language and they need to know how to understand language. This is a both, not an either/or.
Here is a link to the article. Hope you enjoy it.”
 And here is a short excerpt from that article:

“Response to intervention in preschool holds promise for successful early language development but several key issues must be considered. For one, preschools often serve disproportionate numbers of children who need Tier 2 or Tier 3 services, which causes staffing concerns. Also, more research is needed on the effect of interventions for children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English language learners, and children from underrepresented ethnic groups.
The NELP report, along with other studies of children’s early language development, suggests that early oral language has a growing contribution to later reading comprehension — a contribution that is separate from the important role played by the alphabetic code. As such, improving young children’s oral language development should be a central goal during the preschool and kindergarten years.”

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Back to Focus on Oral Language, Literacy and the Achievement Gap

The importance of follow-through

Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction: A Literature Review
August 2016 Prepared for: Policy and Program 
 Prepared by: Katie Drummond Aleksandra Holod Marie Perrot Antonia Wang American Institutes for Research Washington, DC 20007 Michèle Muñoz-Miller Mackson Ncube Herb Turner Analytica Phoenixville, PA 19460

A brief excerpt of this 37 page report
Executive Summary
 This literature review provides a review of policies, programs, and practices that have the potential to help students sustain the positive effects of preschool as they progress from kindergarten through grade 3 (K–3). T
he U.S. Department of Education’s Policy and Program Studies Service commissioned this systematic literature review, which focuses on two specific approaches: (1) preschool and K–3 alignment, and (2) differentiated instruction in kindergarten and first grade.
Background Research shows that participation in a high-quality preschool can improve young children’s readiness skills for elementary school, positively influencing behavioral, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes (Andrews, Jargowsky, & Kuhne, 2012). Specifically, for children who may be at risk for academic challenges in early elementary school, attending a high-quality preschool can improve test scores and attendance, and it can reduce grade-level retention and placement in special education (Andrews et al., 2012; Barnett, 2008; Karoly & Bigelow, 2005; Reynolds, 1993; Reynolds et al., 2007).

However, some preschool program evaluations document that strong initial benefits may not persist into early elementary school (Lipsey, Farran, & Hofer, 2015; Magnuson, Meyers, Ruhm, & Waldfogel, 2005; Manship, Madsen, Mezzanotte, & Fain, 2013; Ramey et al., 2000; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Conversation Starters

Conversation Starters

Starters or Stoppers? That is the Question.

“At its best, literacy starts conversations that can bring people closer together in understanding and connectedness. Literacy falls short of that promise when what passes for sharing books actually interrupts or stops such conversation.
Ideally, literacy, like conversation, is a means for offering others information, feelings and experiences. Authors carefully craft what they wish to express hoping readers thoughtfully consider their messages. This sharing, across space and time, represents a slow, asynchronous initial interchange that models and can lead to further in-person conversations about the content of written messages.

As young children progress into formal education, they are taught the technicalities of reading and writing, of course, but to yield fully literate graduates, those technical skills must not supplant but complement the abstract understanding, hopefully developed years earlier, that literacy is a formidable, human communication tool. Literacy serves most powerfully to book-end personal inquiry. And it is inquiry—investigations that extend one’s own life experiences—that is at the core of independent human learning. When children (and adults!) reflect upon their lives’ experiences, learning occurs most efficiently and completely when their inquiry is focused upon what they find most interesting.

So, if caring adults invite a child to share about his own interests when reading a…”

Friday, July 1, 2016

Love to Read!

Here's a good link for summer reading:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Speaking and Listening Standards: Preschool Through Third Grade...Kinds of Talk

In this series of blogs, the focus is on Standard 2: Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genre.

In the introduction, the authors say:

Like adults, children talk for a variety of reasons or purposes.  Among the major reasons people talk are to:

^Inform, entertain, and persuade others

^Present themselves, their topics, or their point of view to others

^Negotiate or pose relationships with others

^Evaluate people, information, or events

^Think, teach and learn

They go on to say:

                “By the time they are three years old, children already talk for many of these purposes. They can discuss a joint focus of attention (for example, a stack of blocks), tell about recent and sometimes more distant past events, and share their feelings and reactions and react to the feels and reactions of others.  They can talk about their actions ask people to explain what they mean, and talk about changing objects, actions and people in pretend play.  Typically, then 3 year olds use language to get what they want or to express their point of view……” (p. 9)

…children can practice and accomplish a variety of purposes:


*Explaining and seeking Information

*Getting things done

*Producing and responding to performances
….to be continued on the next several posts

Friday, April 15, 2016

Choosing Stories to Read: Some Resources

Short on Words, Big on Conversation

Burkis and Yaris offer one resource for choosing books for discussion. 

A short excerpt:

“Rich conversations support deeper understanding during read aloud, but sometimes time constraints can limit opportunities to discuss stories. We, along with a number of dear colleagues, have been collecting read aloud titles that are short, yet dense enough to support rich conversations.

In collaboration with our Good to Great friends–members of our #G2Great Professional Learning Network PLN*, which was founded around Dr. Mary Howard’s book Good to Great Teaching. The group has compiled a list of some of our favorite short-but-deep read aloud titles. The books on this list are brief enough to read in one sitting, yet engaging enough to invite thoughtful conversation. Each story succinctly offers beautifully integrated print and illustration, giving students much to explore and talk about. Such textual engagement is the cornerstone of our new book, Who’s Doing the Work? and the core of all our work with students and teachers.

Most importantly, Book Source (@thebooksource) has agreed to assemble these titles in one place for us (and for you) and to donate two-percent of purchases of titles on this list. The two percent will be donated to students who live on Native American reservations in Minnesota–many of whom do not have books in their homes or access to a public library–giving them the opportunity to choose books they can keep. In particular, this effort has been designed to support their summer reading. Click the image below to access the list at Booksource and help put books in the hands of Native American students this summer.”

Here are two other sources that address the importance of story reading

Dialogic reading works. Children who have been read to dialogically are substantially ahead of children who have been read to traditionally on tests of language ...

Dialogic encourages adults to prompt children with questions ... Dialogic reading is an interactive technique based on the ... Video courtesy of Reading Rockets

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Discussing Books from Speaking and Listening Standards

Speaking and Listening Standards for Preschool Through Third Grade

The 4th category under Habits is “Discussing Books Leads to Meaningful Topics.”

The emphasis in this section is on discussion.  Although many children come to school, even preschool, with a history of an adult reading to them, the emphasis here is on children fully participating in the discussion of the book.  [See, for example, the literature on Dialogic Reading.] The authors say “….talking about books helps children reach a deeper understanding of their meaning.  Discussing books also helps children practice the kind of academic talk that is expected in school…” (p. 8)  

The authors note that book talk builds over time.  It is easy to see that talking about books changes and becomes an increasingly more important as children move from preschool to elementary school and beyond.  What the book “discussion” is about becomes increasingly more complex and abstract.  While preschools may relate the book to their own lives, by second and third grade “…the quality of book talk increases dramatically….  Seven and eight year olds should discuss the details of books, including word meanings, word choices, literary devices, subplots, character motivation, and main ideas…” (pp. 8-9)

One other change in book reading that occurs over time is reading books of different genre.  Interestingly, Standard 2 (coming next) is “Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genres.”  The parallels between speaking/listening and reading/writing become increasingly more evident as the authors move to Standards 2 and 3.

Vocabulary and Talking at Length on a Topic

Here is a link to an excellent article on Vocabulary as it relates to conversation and reading together:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Talking to One's Self and Others

Talk Blog on Speaking and Listening for March 21

I began this series of posts reviewing Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Third Grade by Resnick and Snow by outlining  the 3 types of Skills that children need to develop: Habits, Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genres and Language Use and Conventions.  Then, with an introduction to Habits, I focused on the first of 4 kinds of Habits: Lots of Talk.  In this post I’ll address the next two:  Talking to Oneself and Conversing on a Topic.

Talking to Oneself

I’m sure that “talking to oneself” is not limited to children.  We all “talk to ourselves.”  Sometimes we call that thinking, or remembering, and sometimes “thinking out loud.”

For children “talking to oneself” is an early and essential language skill.  The authors maintain that “Talking to One’s Self" about words and meanings as they read, rehearsing steps to solve a problem, and reciting information they have learned or memorized.  They point out that “During free play at preschool, about 40% of children’s talk is directed at themselves…”  (More later when I take up this topic again as it applies specifically to preschool).

Conversing at Length on a Topic

The authors note that between the ages of 3 and 8 children become increasingly skillful at staying on and extending a topic, a critical skill for becoming successful learners as they engage in “curriculum-based” topics beginning in kindergarten.  “Children talk about what they are learning.  It is critical, then, for the curriculum to include good topics that foster engaging talk with new words and ideas…..” (p. 7) 

“Focusing on children’s interests to promote learning is particularly important in the preschool years.  A curriculum that capitalizes on children’s curiosity and helps them expand what they know about the world gives them new ideas and the words to go with them…..  Children need time to linger on topics and explore them deeply at their own pace…. For example, preschoolers are not likely to hear words such as hose, pump, ladder, engine, and oxygen unless they are learning—and talking—about firefighters (in the context, say of a field trip to the neighborhood fire station). (p. 7) And, they are not likely to actually learn and use those words unless they have multiple opportunities to do so.

The authors offer a set of ways to help children become “word collectors”: for example,

*Giving students new words to describe what they are doing or learning

*Rephrasing students’ remarks with more sophisticated vocabulary

*Playing word games

*Encouraging children to keep personal dictionaries of new words

*Creating a word wall with action or description words pictured

The next post will focus on “Discussing Books Leads to Meaningful Topics”, the 4th skill in the Habits category.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Language Development and Talking Habits

In this and the next post I will summarize Resnick and Snow’s introduction to the “Habits” of talking.

“Habits” includes 4 goals:

Talking a lot

Talking to one’s self

Conversing at length on a topic

Discussing books

The authors begin with a general discussion addressing all of the 3 age groups (Preschool, K-1, 2-3).  As parents, grandparents, and teachers, some of us might think that our young children already talk a lot, by themselves, to themselves and to others. And that is certainly true for some children.  Other children need the context and opportunity to grow in their language/conversation skills. The Introduction to this topic offers too many ideas to cover adequately (thus the need to buy the book), but here are several ideas that might be offered a starting point in paying increasingly more attention to the amount and kind of talking young children do.

*Children learn most of what they know by hearing other people talk…and expanding their own language skills—“learning words (semantics), putting sentences together(syntax), and practicing the “rules of talk” (pragmatics) such as taking turns in a conversation.” (p. 3)

*Children “learn from the back and forth of conversation—even when they are on the receiving or listening end.  They learn by observing how other people react to what they say…. The best talk comes when children listen attentively to what other people say and then connect their responses to what they have heard.” (p. 4)

*Children learn by listening to other people’s knowledge, insights and different points of view.  Purposeful talk about a topic can occur only if children listen to one another.  Listening during a book talk, for example teaches children the important lesson that readers react to books in different ways….(and)  Suppose a child hears a new word—insect, for example—when the teacher reads aloud a book in class….if the word insect pops up over and over in carefully planned classroom talks, the word becomes familiar….  When children hear insect again and again and have a chance to use the word themselves, they are more likely to remember it.  The word becomes part of their working vocabulary….” (pp. 4-5)

Before addressing the 4 topics of this section specifically, Resnick and Snow offer several considerations:

Meaningful Differences and Implications for Schools and Teachers addresses the 30 million word gap between advantaged and “disadvantaged” children.

Different Culture, Different Rules addresses the idea that “different social groups share different rules for talk….”

Settings That Get Children Talking. “Talk happens in many places and social situations, and each setting changes the possibilities for the conversation. Every setting is different, depending on the following:

*Who gets to talk?

*What are the rules?

*What is going on, and where?

Talking a Lot—An Introduction

“Research shows that certain kinds of talk—discussing, collaborating, and problem solving with peers—help children learn academic subjects.  These kinds of talk put children in situations where they can

*Observe how other people react to what they say

*Hear and respond to other people who ask them to clarify what they say

*Hear their own ideas reflected in other people’s comments

*Hear children and adults repeat, revised, or improve on what they say

*Learn the rules of speaking and listening, such as taking turns.

“Children need both “air time”—opportunities to talk—and “ear time”—the attention to fluent, response adults—to develop language skills.  Even the best schools do not give students enough opportunities and attention to engage in interactive conversation…” (p. 5)

One way teachers can take note of children’s “talks a lot” skills is by noting when, about what and to whom children talk.  The authors suggest that preschoolers “need to feel comfortable talking in small group…to expand their conversations from one-on-one exchanges to small groups.”

By kindergarten and first grade, the expectation is that “children also should be able to talk about their own writings and drawings, present an event or object to the class, play and learn with others, each and learn new techniques from others, read aloud, and listen and respond to questions and comments about books they have read or books that have been read aloud to them.  Second and third grade children should be able to speak in front of larger groups, such as the whole class or a parent audience.   They can recite poems, perform in plays, give a book talk, and present a science project.” (pp. 5-6)

Specifying the growth of a variety of language skills at different ages highlights the importance of keeping pace with language skill development.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Third Grade: A Book Review (l)

Speaking and Listening for Preschool Through Grade School, a book review

One of the most informative and practical books on early language development that I have seen in the past several years is a book for teachers written by Lauren Resnick and Catherine Snow.  It was published by the International Reading (Literacy) Association in 2008.  It has a wealth of practical suggestions and includes a video to make ideas even more helpful.

I begin this multi-post review with an overview of the topics:

Introduction:  Learning How to Speak and Listen

1 Habits

2 Kinds of Talk and Resulting Genres

3 Language Use and Conventions

Subsequent Sections are devoted to

Preschool: Exploring and Playing with Language

Kindergarten and First Grade: Discovering New Words and Concepts

Second and Third Grades: Using Language for Real-World Purposes

The authors preface the book with this statement:

“Speaking and listening are the foundations of reading and writing.  A child who does not have a large and fluent vocabulary will have difficulty with every aspect of reading, from recognizing or sounding out words to making sense of a story or set of directions.  A child who can’t tell a story orally will have trouble writing one.  Parents and educators know this instinctively, but have had few resources to rely on in determining what speaking and listing abilities they should expect from children at different ages.”…

They offer 3 reasons children need to develop language skills, beginning early and continuing through their primary school years:

L Speaking and listening are the foundation skills for reading and writing.

2 Speaking and listening make children smarter.

3 Speaking and Listening are academic, social, and life skills that are valued in school and the world.

I would add a 4th:  When children begin “behind” in developing speaking and listening skills, it is difficult for them to make up “lost time” and that “lost time” has serious consequences for their success in general and in school.

Here is a preview of topics covered, for each age group, under the headings above.


^Talking a lot

^Talking to one’s self

^Conversing at length on a topic

^Discussing books


^Inform, entertain, an persuade others

^Present themselves, their topic, or their point of view to others

^Negotiate or propose relationships with others

^Evaluate people, information, or events

^Think, teach, and learn


^Rules of interaction

^Word play and language awareness

^Vocabulary and word choice

Friday, March 4, 2016

Great Books to Read to Infants and Toddlers

NAEYC is such a good resource that I had to post this today in addition to my usual Monday blog post.

“Many families are familiar with classic books like Goodnight Moon and read them over and over with their very youngest children. Here are some more recent titles and reissues you and your baby will both love. (Note: Many of these books are available in Spanish, and can be purchased as a hardcover, paperback, or board book.)”

NAEYC has a great wealth of resources for parents and teachers.

If you live in Vermont, you might also want to follow the Lets Grow Kids site

Monday, February 29, 2016

Fostering Language and Literacy by Dikinson and Tabors

Fostering Language and Literacy in Classrooms and Homes  David K. Dickinson and Patton O. Tabors

"Portions of this article were excerpted from D.K. Dickinson and P.O. Tabors, eds. Beginning Literacy with Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School (Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes, 2001) 

Reprinted by permission from Young Children, 57 (2). By David Dickinson & Patton O. Tabors. Copyright © 2002 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Material can only be used with permission from the National Association for the Education of Young Children."

An excerpt:


“This article discusses how early childhood programs can make a difference through classroom-based experiences and by efforts of preschool staff to help parents communicate with their children in ways that build the language skills critical to early literacy. We do not discuss developing phonemic awareness or knowledge of the alphabet and other print-based activities in the classroom, not because they are of less importance, but because we wish to highlight the importance of oral language. In the rush to embrace literacy in early childhood settings, we fear that oral language may be overlooked.  We based our study on the theoretical assumption that rich language experiences  during the preschool years play an important role in ensuring that children are  able to read with comprehension when they reach middle school.”  …..

“Another cluster of language skills is needed when people must make sense of words without all these immediate supports. They need to understand language apart from the face-to-face contexts where it is produced. For such occasions people need skill in constructing extended discourse that conveys new information that is not available from what one can see and hear. Later academic work, including comprehension of most texts, requires these abilities. We expected that certain experiences would build the specialized kinds of language skills that children need to become literate. Indeed, our analyses of homes and classrooms revealed three dimensions of children’s experiences during the preschool and kindergarten years that are related to later literacy success:  

• Exposure to varied vocabulary. Knowing the “right word” is vital if one is to communicate information clearly. Large vocabularies have long been known to be linked to reading success (e.g., Anderson & Freebody 1981); they also are a signal that children are building the content knowledge about the world that is so critical to later reading (Neuman 2001).   

• Opportunities to be part of conversations that use extended discourse. Extended discourse is talk that requires participants to develop understandings beyond the here and now and that requires the use of several sentences to build a linguistic structure, such as in explanations, narratives, or pretend talk.  

• Home and classroom environments that are cognitively and linguistically stimulating. Children are most likely to experience conversations that include comprehensible and interesting extended discourse and are rich with vocabulary when their parents are able to obtain and read good books and when their teachers provide classrooms with a curriculum that is varied and stimulating….”

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Wonderful Resource for Early Language and Literacy Development

To be posted on TALK on Monday, Feb 22 16

Zero To Three is a wonderful resource on early development, including Language and Literacy Development.  A short excerpt”

“What We Know About Early Language and Literacy Development

Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories.

The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development. This relatively new understanding of early literacy development complements the current research supporting the critical role of early experiences in shaping brain development.

Recent research supports an interactive and experiential process of learning spoken and written language skills that begins in early infancy. We now know that children gain significant knowledge of language, reading, and writing long before they enter school. Children learn to talk, read, and write through such social literacy experiences as adults or older children interacting with them using books and other literacy materials, including magazines, markers, and paper. Simply put, early literacy research states that:

Language, reading, and writing skills develop at the same time and are intimately linked.

Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the first years of life.

Early literacy skills develop in real life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.”

This article continues…

Early Literacy Does Not Mean Early…

Book Handling Behavior…

Early Literacy Behaviors

Infants 0-6 months…6-12 months….