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Early Childhood Introduction

Through reading children “acquire new language and vocabulary, new conceptual knowledge, new comprehension challenges and new modes of thought to which they would not otherwise be exposed” (Adams, M., & Bruck, M. (1995). Resolving the “Great Debate.” American Educator, Summer, 7-20.)

As a one who provides services to young children with disabilities, it is important to understand the role you play in literacy development, both as a direct provider of literacy experiences and one who promotes those activities with the parents and other family members. The following is an excerpt from: Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children, Part 4: Continuum of Children's Development in Early Reading and Writing (http://www.naeyc.org/about/positions/psread4.asp) that describes many literacy skills and activities that preschool children should be engaged in. Use this illustrative list to prompt your creativity for including children in literacy experiences that will pave the road to future learning and development.

Phase 1: Awareness and exploration (goals for preschool)
Children explore their environment and build the foundations for learning to read and write.

Children can

  • enjoy listening to and discussing storybooks
  • understand that print carries a message
  • engage in reading and writing attempts
  • identify labels and signs in their environment
  • participate in rhyming games
  • identify some letters and make some letter-sound matches
  • use known letters or approximations of letters to represent written language (especially meaningful words like their name and phrases such as "I love you")
What teachers do
  • share books with children, including Big Books, and model reading behaviors
  • talk about letters by name and sounds
  • establish a literacy-rich environment
  • reread favorite stories
  • engage children in language games
  • promote literacy-related play activities
  • encourage children to experiment with writing

What parents and family members can do

  • talk with children, engage them in conversation, give names of things, show interest in what a child says
  • read and reread stories with predictable text to children
  • encourage children to recount experiences and describe ideas and events that are important to them
  • visit the library regularly
  • provide opportunities for children to draw and print, using markers, crayons, and pencils

A guide for inviting parents to become involved in the assistive technology and literacy components of your program is included. By implementing a “So You Want to Plan a Parent Party” you can draw parents in without intimidating them in a school setting.

  • Click here to download the Parent Party Handbook.

Several other resources on early literacy and family involvement are found at the Online Resources link below.