I 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.