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….

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Reading Engages Children in Talking and Thinking and Fun!

The value of reading aloud to children--from age 3 to grade 3 and beyond!
This is a wonder short presentation video--9 minutes worth your time.!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Conversation Key to Language Development

Conversation Key to Language Development

Conversing helps language development more than reading alone

UCLA study finds that activities that get children 2 months to 48 months talking are most conducive to language acquisition  Sarah Anderson | June 29, 2009

A short excerpt

“Adult-child conversations have a more significant impact on language development than exposing children to language through one-on-one reading alone, according to a new study in the July issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Pediatricians and others have encouraged parents to provide language input through reading, storytelling and simple narration of daily events," explains study's lead author, Dr. Frederick J. Zimmerman, associate professor in the Department of Health Services in the UCLA School of Public Health. "Although sound advice, this form of input may not place enough emphasis on children's role in language-based exchanges and the importance of getting children to speak as much as possible."{bold emphasis mine}

Monday, February 8, 2016

Play and Learning to Read

International. Literacy Association
Misconceptions About Appropriate Literacy Instruction for Young Children

 A Short excerpt:
"I strongly support the claim that children learn best through play. However, as a reading scientist who studies how beginners learn to read, I feel compelled to clarify a few misconceptions about the forms of literacy instruction appropriate during the early childhood years (birth to age 8). The supposition that teachers should not provide literacy instruction to young children is troubling and dangerous, and suggesting that all children will acquire sufficient literacy skills through play alone is misguided."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Creating Passionate Readers and Writers

Weaving Writing & Coding
Sharon Davison

Short excerpts that show Sharon’s skill at creating a classroom that integrates learning, curiosity, and becoming independent learners.  Learners are gently guided to become “learning how to learn” learners.
“Thanks to @DonorsChoose I now have Bee Bots so that my students can explore code all year long. Last week these little, colorful bees arrived and right away my students were engaged. They were curious about “how to” get them to move and do things that they wanted to them to do. This was an opportunity for me to weave a writing theme of study “How To” writing.

So as we began to explore the bees, we needed to understand how they worked and “how to” take care of them…..

I trust my students to be able to make responsible and safe decisions independently because we have spent lots of time creating a culture where we trust and support each other. This is how my students begin to think for themselves…..

We came up with these elements that every “How To” story needed;


2. Steps

3. Pictures that match words

4. Tells us “How To” do something

This now becomes an anchor chart that we display in the classroom as a reminder about what our “How To” stories need. Anchor charts are great because they offer opportunities for children to read independently, solve problems they face and also opportunities to ask a friend for help.

This learning experience offers all my students opportunities to create and design using code, oral language and endless ways to explore writing.

This now becomes an anchor chart that we display in the classroom as a reminder about what our “How To” stories need. Anchor charts are great because they offer opportunities for children to read independently, solve problems they face and also opportunities to ask a friend for help.

This learning experience offers all my students opportunities to create and design using code, oral language and endless ways to explore writing….”


After we explored the care of our bees I decided that my students could create their own Bee Bot out of paper and a “how to” story about how to use and care for our Bee Bots. This was a hit! Not only did every student write a story, but the stories were all different and they highlighted what they understood. Everyone was engaged, interested and successful in creating their story.

This was an opportunity for me also to notice what students understood not only how to care and use Bee Bots, but did they also understand the features of a “how to” story. They did an amazing job.