It seems the older I get, the more I realize the importance of moderation. Over and over again, I find that answers lie in between dogmatic extremes. Perhaps nowhere is this realization more important than when considering approaches to early literacy.
I was just re-reading this old article from a 2005 issue NAEYC’s Young Child magazine, written by Susan Neuman and Kathleen Roskos, leading researchers in the field of early literacy. The emphasis of the article was on the importance of creating meaningful experiences through which children can truly engage in the process of acquiring early literacy skills. In reference to the 1998 joint position statement created by NAEYC and the International Reading Association outlining developmentally appropriate practice in literacy instruction, the authors write:
Phonological Awareness is quite possibly my favorite early literacy skill to discuss. Partly because many people are already implementing it to some degree without recognizing it (remember: recognize, emphasize, maximize…), but also because many resources and studies suggest that it is the #1 predictor of reading success. Which is often surprising to people, since it has nothing to do with letters on a page.
Before a child can begin to put the sounds together to read about Sam and his green eggs, he must have mastered the concepts of print. In large part, this means that he understands that letters can combine to make words and that written words convey meaning. It requires some abstract thinking, as a child comes to realize that these organized symbols represent spoken words, which in turn, represent actual objects and ideas. Concepts of print also includes directionality (left to right, top to bottom) and function. So how do you go about instilling children with an understanding of the concepts of print? Here are a few ideas: [Read more…]
If you were to ask anyone on the street where you should start “teaching” children to read, I’d be willing to bet the most common answer would be “the alphabet”. True, the alphabet is a pretty basic part of reading, and certainly important, but it’s just a small piece of a much larger puzzle. Nonetheless, let’s start there!