513 – Literacy Blog

upsidedownI am a huge advocate for the support of early literacy development in children.  My parents tell me that when my sister and I were babies, we didn’t have a lot of toys or dolls…just books.  I think that experience, being read to every night and pretending to read ourselves helped build the foundation that allowed us to become fluent in literacy.

In Flint Ch. 6, I learned about how  children’s various literacy experiences prior to entering Kindergarten can shape their literacy development.  The chapter stressed the importance of teachers and caregivers early in a child’s life, but also the experiences they have outside of school.  For the past couple of years, I have been babysitting for two little girls, ages 3 and 5.  I have noticed the three year old imitating the writing of her older sister, using conventions such as titles or captions that she wouldn’t have known otherwise.  Since neither child could read when I first started babysitting for them, it was amazing to see the older “reading” to the younger sister, with the book upside down or turning multiple pages at a time.  It is obvious that these girls had a firm foundation in literacy from being read to at night or at their daycare.  Many of the topics we have already covered in our Emergent Literacy class were touched on in this chapter, such as Halliday’s 8 Conditions for Language Learning.  I also enjoyed the “Invitation for the Classroom” sections that provided ideas for directly applying the ideas of the chapter into your teaching.  I am glad that Flint touched on the importance of reading texts other than books with children.  Informational and environmental print are excellent ways to get children reading.  I am glad to read about how technology is playing such a big role in literacy development as well.

Flint Ch. 7, described more of the key components of effective and meaningful reading instruction.  Although simply having exposure to reading is beneficial for young children, as teachers, we must figure out the best ways to each our students during the brief time we have them.  I appreciated all of the lists and strategies this chapter provided.  As I go into my own teaching, I will be able to refer back to this text for ideas and suggestions.  This chapter also discussed the reader/writer workshop models.  I see both of these workshops implemented in my own classroom, and it is great to see students actively engaged in these literacy practices.  We do lots of read alouds as well, as my CT tries to integrate literacy into all parts of the day. 

In my placement classroom, students are all at varying levels of literacy development.  We have students struggling to read on a D level, and then students working on an N or an M.  As a teacher, I think it is difficult to differentiate instruction to effective reach such a wide range of needs.  I have been working with a few guided reading groups and it is interesting to see the differences in fluency, comprehension, and progress.  I think guided reading groups are the best way to gauge students’ understanding and needs on a more individual level.

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2 Comments

Filed under EDUC 513 - Teaching Language Arts and Reading

2 responses to “513 – Literacy Blog

  1. Samantha K

    I agree with you that being read to helps to build a strong foundation in literacy. The children I babysit for also read all of the time, and they are each on very high reading levels. I think they are on such high reading levels because their family values reading, so they have had a ton of exposure to it. For those who do not get that same exposure, I love the idea of connecting literacy in a meaningful way. Just like you said, I think informational and environmental print can be an awesome resource in the classroom to motivate students and show them that they can read. I also agree with you that this book will be helpful in the future…it has some great ideas!

  2. It’s interesting to hear about the children you babysit, and how the younger child learns from her older sibling. I think that shows not only that children learn literacy skills from their environment before receiving instruction, but also the importance of the role of community in reading. I also think that differentiation and knowing how to cater to the needs of all students is hard, and I think that often we are given mixed messages. Sometimes, it seems like the readings tell us to focus on the middle of the class when conducting mini-lessons about reading, while we are also told to make sure to cater to the two extremes (the struggling readers and the advanced readers). However, I think I remember reading that it is beneficial to address middle-level and widespread issues in the whole class setting, and to use the independent conferences to meet specific needs of the children at the extremes.

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