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Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors
Terms in this set (116)
comprises the essential skills, knowledge, and attitudes that prepare children for the formal reading and writing instruction they will encounter in kindergarten and first grade.
are the basic building blocks of learning to read and write
How do children acquire literacy skills?
Children acquire emergent literacy skills through their interactions with adults and their environments. While these skills begin to develop in early infancy, preschool programs provide powerful opportunities for young children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to master these essential building blocks that contribute to later success in school.
effective preschool programs can prepare all children for success in school and in becoming readers and writers, no matter their background? t/f
what is the goal of this training?
to give you specific strategies and tools for preparing all children to experience early success in learning to read and write.
What are the three areas of emergent literacy skills that are related to later reading and writing achievement and are directly tied to how well children will be reading by the end of first grade?
oral language, print knowledge, and phonological awareness
Research shows that children starting kindergarten who are behind in essential emergent literacy skills are likely to stay behind throughout their school years. t/f
How can you extend children's language in a group setting?
One way is to improve whole group conversations by making sure children do most of the talking and that many children participate. Try to open a group conversation by suggesting a topic and pausing to listen to children's responses. You could try saying something like, "I noticed how foggy it was this morning on the way to school" and pausing to encourage children to respond to your comment. A comment encourages children to think and respond in a way that is different from responding to questions that require answers. As children contribute to the conversation, try saying things like, "Hmmmm," or "That's interesting," or just nodding your head and then looking to another child for a response. This helps to keep the conversation going and open to all children.
Another way to extend children's language is through explicit instruction. Some children have a hard time learning new words or sentence structures without explicit teaching. You may want to incorporate explicit instruction and practice when you notice children who are not demonstrating some of the language competencies listed in the prekindergarten standards.
A pitfall to beware: teachers have a tendency to do too much of the talking. Monitor yourself when you sit and stay, or lead open conversation with the group. Make sure children do more of the talking than you do.
instruction that is targeted at the development of a specific skill.
A way to encourage the child to use language -
following the lead of a child
Talking with children -
one of the most important ways to enhance children's language development
One way children acquire language -
extensive exposure to good models of language use
What the focus of your conversation with children should be on -
the meaning of what a child is saying
What can you do to encourage a child to talk more?
There are many ways you can encourage children to talk more when you sit and stay. One of the most effective ways is simply showing a genuine interest in what they have to say. More specifically, if you listen carefully to what a child says and then expand on what he says, you just might be surprised at what he has to offer. Here are some tips for making this happen.
1. Comment and wait
First, comment on what child is doing and then wait. When you follow the child's lead and wait for his/her response, you are encouraging the child to use language. For example, if a child is building roads in the block center, you might walk up and comment, "These are some interesting roads," then pause and wait for the child to respond to your comment
2. Ask a Question
Next, ask a question. Questions that can't be answered with "yes" or "no" encourage children to talk. You might follow a child's response with another question that requires even more information. For example, if the child responds "I am building roads to the city," you might ask, "What will the people see when they drive on your roads to the city?" Or "What will the people do when they get to the city?"
3. Respond and Add
Finally, respond by adding a little more. When a young child responds, his/her answer may be very short. By repeating what the child says and adding a little more, you are showing the child a new way of saying something. If you ask the child what kind of signs the people will see on the way to the city and he/she answers "McDonalds®," simply saying "People do see McDonalds® signs on almost every highway" demonstrates for the child another way of answering. If you ask, "Where are the cars?" and the child answers, "The road," you can respond by saying, "Yes, the cars are on the road."
4. Follow the Child's Lead
Remember, keep the focus of your conversation on the meaning of what the child is saying, not whether or not the child is saying everything perfectly. Children's language will grow and improve as they are included in conversations. If you want a child to talk, you need to follow the child's lead. This means that you need to talk about what the child is interested in at that moment. It might be about something he is looking at or something he is doing.
What are some ways that you encourage children to talk about past and future events?
There are many ways to encourage children to describe or explain past or future experiences during the preschool day.
First, ask children to talk about something that happened to them in the past, or something that will happen, and encourage them to tell you more about the event (remember, the "past" for a four-year-old could be yesterday). You can do this when sitting one-on-one with children during the day, by using sharing time as an opportunity for children to talk about something they have done or will be doing, by using photos of past events to encourage explanations and descriptions of the event, or by using picture storybooks to stimulate children to describe their own experiences in the same way events are depicted or described in the book.
Opportunities to describe and explain past or future events prepare children to better understand the language of stories, or _______ language.
the kind of language that is used to describe or explain past and future events and is similar to the kind of language that is used in written texts
an instructional strategy to use with children to develop conversation and listening skills.
In _______ ________, books are used as tools for promoting dialogue, learning new vocabulary through picture labeling, building expressive language skills, and increasing narrative understanding through conversations about the book. __________ _________ promotes a deeper understanding and interpretation of books.
What kind of books should you select for interactive reading?
realistic, highly engaging, colorful, 2-6 sentences per page
During interactive reading teachers should strive to do the following things: (5 things)
1. Prompt children to be actively involved in conversations about the meaning of the book.
2. Clarify and extend children's understandings about the meaning of the Book.
3. Expand and extend the language of children's responses.
4. Explain the meanings of some of the unusual vocabulary included in the book.
5. Prompt children to use the new vocabulary in their responses.
what is interactive reading designed to do?
to encourage children to ask questions and make comments. The teacher strategically makes comments and asks questions while reading to encourage children to talk about the book.
Appropriate questions for interactive reading include:
Fill-in-the-blank: "The papa bear said ______"
Recall: "What did Goldilocks do when she went upstairs?"
Open-Ended questions with no right or wrong answer: "How did the three bears treat Goldilocks?"
Who, What, Where,When, Why questions: "Why do you think Goldilocks went inside the bears' house?"
"Who do you think was most afraid?"
Did you ever?"Did you ever go into someone's house or room without being invited?"
How can you build and expand children's vocabulary in your classroom every day?
Children acquire this sense of grammar best when they experience many models of language, used well, and when they have many opportunities to talk with more mature users of the language. Young children need many opportunities to talk with adults who will listen attentively and expand on what they say. It is through these experiences that children grow in their use of language. The more children talk, the more they understand language, and the better they get at using language
a complex system that humans use to communicate with one another. This system includes the ways we express ourselves, such as speaking or writing, and ways we receive information, such as listening and reading.
children come to school with many differences in their language development. We know that how much children have to say, how long they can sustain active participation in a conversation, and how many words they know are indicators of their language ability. t/f
children's __________ability upon entering kindergarten is strongly related to early reading achievement.
How do four-year-olds gain knowledge about their world?
Standard: IV.A.1 - Gains meaning by listening
Four-year-olds gain knowledge about their world by watching and listening. They acquire the skill to listen not only when they are spoken to one-on-one by adults and peers, but also when they are spoken to as part of a group. This "group listening skill" is important for learning and acquiring information in school settings.
How does appropriate language and style for context apply to four-year-old children?
Standard: IV.E.3 - Uses appropriate language and style for context
Four-year-old children are becoming quite good at following conversational rules, using appropriate verbal and nonverbal expressions. They are also learning to change their language to match different contexts.
How do children learn to identify and clarify the meanings of new words and phrases?
by carefully observing experienced language users and thinking about the objects and actions that are present during the language exchange. The greater the variety of language experiences a child engages in, the greater will be the child's language ability.
language rules or grammar of language.
the rules that govern how we put words together when we use words and sentences to communicate.
Children learn most of what they know about English grammar before they reach kindergarten. t/f
They learn during the first few years of life, through listening to others communicate and through their own attempts at communication, what grammatical structures work in our language and which ones don't work. They develop a sense of what "sounds right" and what doesn't.
Children's language ability upon entering kindergarten is strongly related to early reading achievement. t/f
To use language effectively, children must learn the meanings of many different words. t/f
The number of words children know does not significantly influence how clearly they can communicate ideas. t/f
A true statement would be:
The greater the variety of language experiences a child is exposed to, the greater the child's language ability
Children must know the formal rules of grammar before they can apply them to their spoken language. t/f
A true statement would be:
Children learn to apply the rules of grammar long before they formally know what the rules are
The greater the variety of language experiences a child is exposed to, the greater the child's language ability. t/f
The rules that govern how we put words together are referred to as syntax. t/f
The more children talk, the more they understand language, and the better they get at using language. t/f
If a child appears embarrassed by his speech, you should make every effort to correct him on each occasion. t/f
A true statement would be:
If you think there is a concern that the child's language skills are behind peers, discuss your concerns with supervisors or appropriate entities.
It is important for children to learn how to participate in conversations; however, it is not important for the child to initiate the conversation. t/f
A true statement would be:
It is important for children to learn how to
initiate and participate in conversations, how to take turns speaking in different settings, and how to listen and respond to communication
Children need many opportunities to talk with adults who will listen attentively and expand on what they say. t/f
What is one of the most important ways you can enhance your students' language development?
talk with them—a lot
Try to sit and talk with every child at least once or twice every day. One-on-one conversations are critical to supporting language development.
You can find time to talk with your students throughout the school day: as they come in each morning, during breakfast or lunch, on the playground, during centers or snack time, and in small group activities. Remember: you need to sit, talk and stay awhile, not cruise around the room.
how can you encourage children to actively participate in conversations about the book?
Read the story to yourself and pick four or five places to stop and ask one or two questions, make a comment, or ask for a prediction about what will happen next. Try to ask questions that require students to think and reason about what is happening in the story.
For example, when reading The Three Billy Goats Gruff you might ask your students, "Why is the troll willing to wait for the second billy goat?"
as you encourage children to actively participate in conversations about the book, they might take you in an unexpected direction. They might see and understand what is happening in the book in a different way from what you saw and understood. How should you respond?
Be willing to follow their lead. Encourage them to back up their statements with details in the illustrations or with their own experiences.
what should you do as you read aloud to children?
As you read aloud to children, you can select a few words from the story to teach. Three or four is plenty. Your goal is not to select the most unusual words but to select words that could be most useful to children. For example:
Choose words that you, as an adult, would use but that are not yet part of your students' vocabulary.
Choose words so that children will understand their definitions. For example, preschool children know what it means to be happy and they use the word "happy" in their conversations. However, "ecstatic" might be a new word for the children in your class.
Choose words that are useful and have meanings your students will understand.
Choose words that will expand children's listening and speaking vocabularies, and which will later contribute to their vocabularies as readers.
Once you have selected a few words, think of how you can explain the meaning of each word in a way your students will understand. Make it a "child-friendly" definition, not a dictionary definition. You need to define the word by using other familiar words in the definition. Try to make your definition into a sentence and use words like "someone," "something," or "describes" as a part of your child-friendly definition. For example, a child-friendly definition of "ecstatic" might be "Ecstatic is when someone is very happy."
what are the three ways to encourage the growth of young children's language and communication skills?
1. talking with them every day (sit and stay)
2. using and modeling language about past and future events (decontextualized language)
3. involving children in your read-alouds (interactive reading).
How do children learn language?
listening, observing, and talking with others.
what are the two components of emergent literacy?
reading and writing. Learning to read and learning to write are among the most important tasks, and achievements, of young children today.
reading-related experiences and actions that occur before a child reaches the conventional literacy stage in middle childhood.
the sensitivity to, or the awareness of, the phonological structure in one's language. A broad term, phonological awareness encompasses awareness of individual words in sentences, syllables, and onset-rime segments as well as awareness of individual phonemes.
How do you motivate young children to want to learn to read?
Children's feelings about their early experiences with print impact their motivation to learn to read. Positive and engaging early literacy experiences make it easier for children to persevere when encountering challenges in learning to read.
Daily literacy activities in the prekindergarten classroom should be playful and play-based. Daily enjoyable and engaging encounters with books and print—powerful read-alouds, opportunities to hold and look at books, acting out a favorite story—guarantee that young children experience literacy as important, enjoyable, and useful.
understanding what one has heard or what one has read.
Children who show increasing motivation for reading, develop age-appropriate phonological (sound) awareness, have a knowledge of the alphabetic code (recognizing letters and sounds of letters), and an understanding of text read aloud (comprehension) will enter kindergarten with a stronger readiness for learning to read and ability to understand text independently. t/f
What are some ways you can motivate children with books?
1. Read and discuss books with children.
2. Read a variety of materials (like letters, menus, experience charts, daily schedules).
3. Make relevant connections between literacy events in school and children's home lives.
4. Make books with children to take home and share with their parents.
What are some ways you can coach and guide children in their interactions with books?
1. When you see a child with a book, sit with him or her and help turn the pages of the book from the front to the back, show how to point to the words starting at the left and moving to the right.
2. Read signs and labels often that appear around the room - this helps children understand that print carries a message.
3. Encourage children to retell and memorize favorite stories.
How do you coach and guide children in their interactions with books?
When you notice children looking through their favorite books, encourage them to turn the pages one at a time from the beginning of the book to the end. Encourage children to closely examine the pictures. Respond to children's requests to read their favorite book "one more time."
How do you expose children to print?
Read signs and labels for children to help them understand that print carries a message. Encourage children to pretend to read both familiar and unfamiliar stories. Encourage children to chant repeating phrases from familiar stories or use pictures to retell a story. Show children how to run their finger across the print on the pages as they pretend to read.
Encourage children to memorize favorite, short, predictable stories and to read these stories to themselves and others. Show children how to point word-for-word as they read familiar books and retell favorite stories by looking at the pictures in the book or using simple props. When children ask you "What does this say?" read it to them!
What kinds of books motivate children?
Great books! Be sure the books you choose will interest children. High-quality books have a rich vocabulary, varied sentence structure, and illustrations that are appealing and attractive to support children's understanding of the book.
Award-winning books such as the Caldecott Award winners, the American Library Association Notable Children's Books, or Children's Choice books, are examples of high-quality literature. Throughout the year, try to include a variety of books. Include alphabet books for teaching letters, storybooks for developing a sense of story structure, informational books for developing background knowledge and motivation, and word-play books for developing phonological awareness.
the most successful and engaging read-alouds for preschoolers take place in small groups of ___ to ____ children.
*When you are reading to a larger group (which of course you will do on occasion), you are more focused on When you are reading to a larger group (which of course you will do on occasion), you are more focused on keeping students still and quiet and not disrupting the flow of the story.
How do you encourage children to "play with sounds" in words?
How do you help young children understand and think about the books you read to them?
By asking them questions about the book and relating and helping them to make a connection with events in the story
refers to the ability to hear and discriminate the sounds of language. It is the sensitivity to the sound structure in language.
*Four-year-old children can attend to and distinguish the smaller units of sound within spoken words with teacher support. They can begin to hear and discriminate syllables and the beginning sounds of words, prerequisite skills for being able to decode words when reading.
Why is phonological awareness important?
Phonological awareness is important because it is one of the strongest predictors of later reading abilities. That is, a child with strong phonological awareness is very likely to learn to read words well, while a child with weak phonological awareness is highly likely to struggle to learn to read words. Phonological awareness is the foundation for the development of decoding skills.
the smallest part of spoken language that makes a difference in the meaning or words. (English has 44 phonemes. Spanish has 29 phonemes.)
the understanding that alphabet letters make identifiable sounds and have meaning.
How does phonological awareness develop?
From a very young age, most children start to notice things about the way language sounds, separate from its meaning. As they engage in activities such as hearing nursery rhymes and language play, children learn to attend to the sounds of language. We hear children play with language when they sing songs like "Nanna, nanna, bo-banna, fee-fi-fo-fanna, nanna, bo-banna" (The Name Game, Shirley Ellis) or chant on the playground with their friends "bo-eee, fo-eee, clo-eee." Children learn to manipulate sounds and learn to think about sounds in language when they play these kinds of games in the classroom and on the playground.
the ability to blend sounds together to make words; pull sounds in words apart; and delete sounds from words.
Spoken language is broken down into smaller units. What are they?
They are the word level, syllable level, and the phoneme level.
How do children learn to use and think about sounds in language?
Children learn to use and think about sounds by engaging in activities such as nursery rhymes and language play. In the classroom and on the playground children learn to manipulate and think about sounds in language when they play word games.
the initial sound of a syllable (e.g., the onset of cat is /c/; the onset of cheese is /ch/).The syntax of letters within slanted lines (e.g. /th/, /g/, /w/, /sh/) indicates the sound the letters make when spoken. For example, the /ch/ in the example above, indicates the sound the letters 'c' and 'h' make together when spoken as opposed to the names of the letters.
the part of a word that contains the vowel and all the sounds that follow it (e.g., the rime of cat is /at/; the rime of cheese is /eez/).
The ________ of a word is the first consonant of a word. The rime is the vowel and what follows the vowel in that syllable. In the word bike, the _______ is "b" and the rime is "ike". When you rhyme words, the rime of the word is usually included.
It is important to plan fun and engaging activities that will, at the same time, ensure that children acquire these key skills. In general, _____ to _____ minutes of phonological awareness instruction per day is sufficient.
It's best to divide this time among many short activities than to expect children to stay engaged for a 20-minute lesson. To ensure that children have the opportunity to practice skills and that the teacher can monitor each child's progress, it's a good idea to do much of this teaching with small groups of children.
If, by the end of the school year, your students can do the following, they will have a strong foundation for learning to decode words in kindergarten:
1. Combine words to make compound words and delete a word from a compound word.
2. Combine syllables to make words and delete a syllable from a word.
3. Combine word parts (onset and rime) to form a familiar one-syllable word.
What are some of the phonological awareness activities that you would use with children at the beginning of the year?
The levels of phonological awareness that you would focus on at the beginning of the year would be listening skills, combining words to make a compound word, and combining syllables to form a word.
listening skills (i.e.,paying attention to sounds and words (just the sounds not the meaning of words)
*Some children have trouble developing phonological skills on their own, thus will benefit from intentional explicit instruction.
*Children begin their chronological word learning development by first being able to manipulate sounds at the word level, for example, compound words. For example, a child might manipulate the word rainbow by first saying rainbow then leaving off "bow" and just saying "rain" or a child might manipulate the word "football" by first saying "football" then taking away "foot" and just saying "ball."
Next, children are able to manipulate words at the syllable level. So, one child might say "cookie" and leave off "ie" and just say "cook." Another child may have the word "table" and leave off "ta" and just say "ble." Eventually, children are able to manipulate words at the smallest level (phoneme level).
What are some phonological awareness activities that you would use with children at the middle and end of the year?
The levels of phonological awareness that you would plan for in the middle and end of the year would be rhyming activities, recognizing and matching the beginning sounds in words, and blending sounds to form short words.
Matching the beginning sounds activities
*End of the year; children breaking long words into syllables (i.e., crocodile, dinosaur, hippopotamus). Jumping, clapping, and wiggling to the syllables.
*Work on activities in centers that they can do independently such as sponging out words, play-do, and rhyming picture cards
Why do children need to know the letters of the alphabet?
A young child's knowledge of the alphabet is a strong predictor of later reading skills. Children who enter kindergarten already knowing many or all of the letters of the alphabet are much more likely to have success in their early reading efforts.
What are some of the things that confuse children when learning to recognize letters?
Learning the alphabet can be confusing because many letters look alike. There are two forms for each letter (uppercase and lowercase) and some letters may be formed in different ways (such as g and g(cursive)).
what are the few basic shapes that are used to form just about every letter.
sticks, curves, circles, slants, tails, and tunnels.
*You can help children categorize letters by these features as they learn them. You may want to create games and activities where children organize a pile of alphabet letters into these groups. During these activities you should help children focus on noticing specific features of each letter (sticks, curves, circles, slants, tails, tunnels) rather than naming letters
how can you reinforce letter naming?
when reading aloud to children, by writing with children, and when playing with children.
Alphabet books are terrific tools for reinforcing letter recognition. They can be silly and engaging. They can also prompt kids to remember features of letters.
Writing with children is a great way to reinforce letter identification.
You can name each letter as you make a sign for the building children created in the block center; you can name each letter as you spell a child's name; you can ask children to help you figure out how to write a particular letter in someone's name; you can reinforce the letter "s" when a child asks you to write "Spiderman." Specific instructional strategies for writing with children are included in the emergent writing section of this training.
Typically, children learn the name of a letter before they learn the sound of the letter. t/f
What letters form tunnel shapes?
h. m, n, u
What letters form tail shapes?
What letters form slant shapes?
w, x, y, z
What letters form stick shapes?
a, b, d, h, i, k, l, n, p, r, t
What letters form curve shapes?
c, e, s
What letters form circle shapes?
a, b, g, o, p, q
Reading to children helps them build the_____________, ____________, and __________________________ they will need to comprehend more challenging texts as they move through school.
thinking skills, vocabulary, and background knowledge
Retelling stories provides children with many advantages which help them increase their understanding. Name two that you have read about.
Retellings of stories help children in understanding the story setting, characters and the problem/solution to a story. When children retell stories they learn to include key words and include details. Children also understand the sequence of the story better as they tell or dramatize the story. All these skills prepare children to enter kindergarten better prepared.
Why is it important to expose preschool children to informational text (nonfiction)?
Young children who have repeated experiences with informational text learn words and concepts related to science and social studies that will help them succeed in school.
As children get ready for kindergarten they should be able to write their own names and many of the letters of the alphabet independently. t/f
When children learn how to isolate sounds to identify the correct letter-spelling of words, they are demonstrating their growing ) ___________ __________ and increasing knowledge of letter-sound correspondences.
How does young children's writing change as they learn more about print?
Scribbling and drawing, letter-like forms, stringing of letters, and invented spelling are the four stages of writing.
what are the four stages of writing?
Scribbling and drawing, letter-like forms, stringing of letters, and invented spelling
Many of the early messages written by young children contain letter-like forms with extra lines and backwards or upside-down letters. Should you be concerned?
No, most of these things will work out as the child enters and completes kindergarten. In prekindergarten you will want to expose your children to lots of opportunities to write and express themselves.
What are some tips for encouraging your prekindergarten students to retell stories
1. Read the story to children several times. Be sure to discuss the story with students before and after reading to better prepare them for retelling.
2. Provide props such as flannel boards, puppets, masks, or key items (such as bowls and spoons for Goldilocks and the Three Bears) to support the retelling.
3. Show children how to retell the story with props.
4. Invite a child or children to retell the story for others or for you.
5. Make the book and story-retelling materials available to children during center time.
is a powerful strategy for increasing children's vocabulary and their sense of story and familiarity with more challenging sentence structures.
what are some prompts will help children focus on the essential elements of story structure:
"Who was the main character?"
"Where did the story take place?" Or "Where were they?"
"What kind of trouble was _______ having?"
"What happened next?"
"How did ________ solve the problem?" Or "How did the story end?"
includes two components, reading and writing.
What are some key instructional strategies for motivating children to explore and experiment with writing?
1. Name Writing
2. Shared Writing
3. Interactive Writing
5. The Writing Center
When children learn to write letters by simply copying from a model, they quite often learn (and practice) incorrect letter formation habits. t/f
these errors can be very hard to break later on. Starting from the bottom of the page is the most common error; forming letters from right to left is also quite common. If children learn correct formation from the beginning, later problems can be eliminated. This will lead to more and better-written expression as they get older.
when children are learning to write, the focus should be on the ________ (writing top to bottom and left to right), not the product.
the process in which teacher and children work together to compose messages and stories; teacher supports process as a scribe.
an instructional strategy to use with children that develops children's understanding of how print works.
Interactive writing is similar to ___________ ___________ except that you are "sharing the pen" with your students. As you "share the pen," you will pause and think aloud and ask students questions like "What letter should record that sound?" "How do we spell this word (cat)?" "What should we do when we finish a word?" "What mark should we put at the end of this sentence?" As you ask these questions, students will tell you what they think and you will offer them the pen to write it down.
sitting next to a child and writing exactly what the child says as he/she talk
During shared writing, children learn:
1. that we can write what we can say, and that
2. others can read what we write
3.that print is organized from left to right and top to bottom
4. that we leave spaces between words
how letters are formed.
When using the strategy of dictation, your job is to:
1. write exactly what the child says
2. use prompting and questioning techniques to try to expand the child's language
3. be sure the child can see you writing.
There are many ways to include writing in every center and every activity in your classroom:
address books and message pads in the housekeeping center
construction logs and drafting plans for block play
labeling and captioning in art
observation logs in the science corner.
What are some of the things you can do in your classroom to make daily writing activities playful and play-based?
1. Create play-based learning centers.
This is an easy way to sneak play into your daily routine. Whether traditional play centers (sand, dramatic play, blocks, etc.) or a collection of bins on a shelf, having play materials available is the first step to adding more play into your routine.
If you don't yet have centers, start with a few bins and add things like puppets, blocks, puzzles, and games. Switch the contents often and connect them to classroom learning.
For instance, you might have:
Puppets for characters in a book you read together
Blocks with task cards relating to what you are learning in math (ex. build a castle that has 6 triangles)
A matching game of science concepts (ex. match the animal with their habitat.)
2. Use Manipulatives
Young children are concrete learners who learn by doing. This is why play is such a powerful tool!
Instead of using pencil and paper to teach new concepts, use manipulatives.
They don't have to be fancy teacher-store items either. I once had a class whose favorite manipulative was a big bucket of old keys!
Manipulatives aren't just for math! I use:
Cars to practice blending sounds,
Slinkies for stretching out new words
Letter tiles for spelling
Legos for letter formation
Art materials for just about everything.
3. Play Games
Use games to practice and review concepts. They don't have to be complicated or even competitive.
Young students love:
Hide-and-seek type games
Solving puzzles together.
4. Take Play Breaks
We know our students need breaks, and recess is often too short.
After a bit of hard learning, reward your students with a play break.
Pull out your learning centers and let them have a few minutes to relax and re-energize for your next lesson.
5. Take Your Learning Outside
There is lots of learning that can be done outside, no matter the weather.
My students have :
Created snow sculptures to represent the characters in a book,
Practiced writing words in the snow and mud,
Collected seeds, flowers, and grasses and sorted them, measured them and divided them into fair shares
Found shapes in the playground structures
Gone hunting for letters and words.
6. Use Puppets
Dramatic play is natural for children and puppets and stuffed animals that talk are quickly accepted as teachers and friends. What's more, students will often listen and respond to a puppet in a way they never would for a teacher!
Puppets in my classroom often:
Approach the students with a problem for them to solve
Ask the students to teach them something (a great way to assess what your students have mastered, and reinforce a concept for struggling learners at the same time.)
Introduce a new song, game, or activity
Reinforce rules and manners
7. Act it Out
Instead of having students retell a story - act it out!
You can also act out:
Concepts such as fractions, patterns, and ordinal numbers
Social problem solving
and whatever else you can come up with!
Students love to be chosen to be actors and they will be fully engaged in learning!
8. Play With Your Students
When students are playing, don't be shy - join in!
Playing together builds bonds with your students and creates a classroom community of shared learning and fun.
Plus, as a participant in the play, you have the ability to scaffold the student's learning and to stretch them and challenge them and help them to grow!
9. Make Learning an Adventure
Imagine two intros to a lesson.
The first: "Today, we are going to learn about African animals."
The second: "Today we are going to go on an adventure! We are going to take an airplane and fly to a place halfway around the world. While we are there, we are going to meet some weird and wonderful creatures that live in this amazing place. Are you ready to begin our journey?"
In the first lesson, the teacher might show some photographs of each animal and talk about each one. In the second lesson, the students actually pretend to get on a plane, land in Africa, and view the photos of animals placed around the classroom in the role of explorers in a new land.
Both lessons will teach the same content, but one feels like playing. The best part - to the students, a journey to a new place in their imagination is almost the same as being there, and they will remember the lesson months later.
10. Create Parent Buy-In
Parents love their children and want them to learn - and so do you!
If parents (or administration) are giving you a hard time about play in the classroom, try to show them all the learning that is happening.
How does your daily schedule support opportunities for children to use language and explore print?
How does the prekindergarten learning environment aid the growth of children's vocabulary and their use of language?
1. How do you post and use purposeful and meaningful print in your classroom?
• For example, is your daily schedule posted with words and graphics?
• Do you point to this as you start each day and show children how you use the schedule to remind you what is coming next?
• Do you have directions posted for special activities, like how to make Play-doh™, or clean-up steps for after you finish painting?
• Do you have a children's art gallery that displays the child-artists' names in large print and child-dictated titles for the masterpieces?
• Do you have language experience charts posted that include photographs and captions of a field trip you took with the class?
These are just a few examples of the many ways to use and post meaningful examples of print in your classroom.
2. Do you have alphabet posters hanging at the children's eye level?
• Do you refer to these posters often for instance, when you are showing children how to make a "D" when writing "Dear" at the beginning of the note you are writing for the class?
• Are your students encouraged to use alphabet posters to write their own messages?
3. Do you have lots of high-quality, age-appropriate story and informational books in your classroom? Do you have theme-appropriate books in each center, like books about trucks and construction in the block area?
4. How do you help children notice the conventions of print?
• Do you point to print while reading and talk about how the print is organized as you are writing with children?
• Do you use enlarged print with familiar songs, finger plays, and rhymes?
• Are children allowed to use the pointers and charts during their center time to pretend read and sing their favorites?
5. Do you have a child-friendly, comfortable and inviting book corner in your room?
6. Do you have an inviting writing center available for your students during center time? Is it well-stocked with plenty of enticing writing tools and materials?
7. How do you create literacy-enriched play settings in your classroom?
• For example, do you turn your pretend center into a restaurant with menus and order pads, or a flower shop with pots of labeled flowers, order pads, and catalogues?
• Have you ever made a veterinarian's office in your classroom? If so, did you include books about different pets, reference manuals, prescription pads, and bills?
• Do you play in these centers with your students to show them how to use the reading and writing props in the center and teach them new words to use for their pretend-play?
• Do you have appropriate books and writing supplies in every center?
• Are there colorful, inviting and engaging alphabet materials and books such as magnetic letters, letter puzzles, and letter charts available for students to manipulate?
8. Is there plenty of student-to-student conversation and adult interaction with students—in other words, do you provide an active classroom with regular opportunities for children to talk with each other and with you?
The daily schedule should include times and opportunities for children to use language and explore print. The following are three daily goals to consider:
1. Increase the amount and quality of time spent reading and discussing books in large and small groups and with individual students.
2. Provide daily small group teaching and learning opportunities. Appropriate small group activities include adult-facilitated, language-focused science and math activities; phonological awareness games and activities; letter recognition games and activities; interactive writing and dictation activities; and story retelling and dramatic play activities.
3. Schedule child-directed center time every day. Preschool children should have daily opportunities for choosing centers and spending extended uninterrupted periods of time playing in the centers. Try to provide from at least 45 minutes to one hour per day for centers.
What are some appropriate small group activities?
adult-facilitated, language-focused science and math activities; phonological awareness games and activities; letter recognition games and activities; interactive writing and dictation activities; and story retelling and dramatic play activities
What are the three goals to think about for your daily schedule?
The three goals to think about when making your daily schedule are: time spent reading and discussing books, daily small group teaching, and time for child-directed center time.
List five important environmental considerations to aid in the growth of children's language in your classroom.
The five important environmental considerations for aiding in the growth of language should include:
1. talking with each child every day
2. creating small spaces for children to engage in conversation
3. story retelling
4. teaching the meanings of unfamiliar words
5. and providing experiences in science and mathematics.
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