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Session 1:  Overview of Communication and Literacy Recommended Readings

  1.     Bus, A.G., Belsky, J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Crnic, K. (1997). Attachment and bookreading patterns: A study of mothers, fathers, and their toddlers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(1), 81-98. 
  2.     Koppenhaver, D.A., Coleman, P.P., Kalman, S.L., & Yoder, D.E. (1991). The implications of emergent literacy research for children with developmental disabilities. American Journal of Speech and Language Pathology, 1, 329-335.
  3.     Rosenkoetter, S.E., & Knapp-Philo, J. (2004). Learning to read the world: Literacy in the first 3 years. Zero to Three, 25(1), 4-9.
  4.     Warren, D., & Hatton, D. (2003). Cognitive development of children with visual impairments. In I. Rapin & S. Segalowitz (Eds.), Handbook of neuropsychology: Vol. 7, Part II. Child neuropsychology (2nd ed., pp. 439-458). New York: Elsevier.
  5.     Whitehurst, G.J., & Lonigan, C.J. (1998). Child development and emergent literacy. Child Development, 69(3), 848–872.

Emergent literacy is a developmental process that begins at birth whereby children acquire the skills and knowledge that are the foundation for later reading and writing. For infants and toddlers, thought and language develop concurrently. Communication and language provide the foundation for literacy--the ability to read, write, and otherwise communicate with, or comprehend, written language. Literacy develops from children's oral language and their early attempts at reading (usually based on pictures) and writing (at first, scribbling).

Although most definitions of emergent literacy acknowledge that it begins very early in life, little is known about the development of emergent literacy in infants and toddlers, with or without disabilities. We do know, however, that preschool and school-aged children with disabilities often experience fewer literacy opportunities. We also know that families play a primary role in providing emergent literacy opportunities.

Because there is minimal literature or knowledge to guide emergent literacy recommendations for infants and toddlers with disabilities, we have reviewed the literature that is available for preschool-aged children and children with disabilities. We have used that information, along with recommended, developmentally appropriate, and evidence-based practices for young children with disabilities as the basis for this module. In addition, family-centered practices are an integral feature of this module, because family involvement is the key to effective early intervention. The content of this module has been peer reviewed by university faculty and practitioners throughout the United States and field tested at three universities.

The module begins with an overview of communication, language, and literacy and the potential impact of visual impairments on their development. Two sessions are devoted to describing early communication and language development, facilitating development in this domain, and providing suggestions and strategies for interventions to address the unique needs of children with visual impairments. The fourth session describes emergent literacy and the potential impact of visual impairments on emergent literacy, while the fifth session provides suggestions and strategies for facilitating emergent literacy.

Session Titles and Authors

Session 1:  Overview of Communication and Literacy

Deborah D. Hatton, Ph.D. and Wendy K. Sapp, Ph.D.

Session 2:  Communication Development and the Impact of Visual Impairments

Wendy K. Sapp, Ph.D., and Deborah D. Hatton, Ph.D.

Session 3:  Communication and Language Interventions

Wendy K. Sapp, Ph.D., Jeanne L. Murphy, M.A., and Deborah D. Hatton, Ph.D.

Session 4:  What Is Emergent Literacy?

Deborah D. Hatton, Ph.D. and Wendy K. Sapp, Ph.D.

Session 5:  Interventions to Facilitate Emergent Literacy

Deborah D. Hatton, Ph.D. and Wendy K. Sapp, Ph.D.

Session Objectives

Session 1: Overview of Communication and Literacy

Communication is an important developmental milestone for infants and young children and is integrally related to literacy development. Literacy includes reading and writing; and without communication and literacy, children are severely limited in their ability to interact meaningfully with other people. In some children, visual impairments present unique and significant challenges to the development of communication and literacy. The purpose of this session is to define communication, literacy, and other basic terms, and to discuss the potential impact of visual impairments on communication and literacy development.

After completing this session, participants will

  1.      define receptive and expressive communication, nonlinguistic and prelinguistic communication, and emergent literacy.
  2.      describe the relationship of nonlinguistic/prelinguistic communication to social development and language development.
  3.      describe the concepts of literacy and emergent literacy.
  4.      discuss the concurrent and interrelated development of communication and literacy.
  5.      describe the three contexts—communicative, situational, and sociocultural—in which communication and literacy develop.
  6.      describe how early attachment between children with visual impairments and their caregivers might impact social-emotional and communication development.
  7.      describe why children must develop concepts about the world in order to  develop communication and literacy skills, and why children with visual impairments are often delayed in their development of concepts.
  8.      recognize that children with visual impairments may not have incidental exposure to literacy events such as opportunities to observe use of print or braille in daily activities, and that they may not have access to appropriate and accessible literacy resources such as braille books and braille writers.
  9.      describe the potential impact of multiple disabilities on communication and emergent literacy development.
  10. describe the role of teachers of children with visual impairments in planning and implementing family-centered, collaborative interventions that promote communication development and emergent literacy in infants and toddlers with visual impairments.  

Session 2: Communication Development and the Impact of Visual Impairments

Communication skills are essential for children to be able to interact with other people. Visual impairments may directly affect communication by altering the ways in which children communicate, and indirectly through possible delays in other areas of development that are important for communication. The purpose of this session is to provide basic knowledge and skills about typical communication development and the impact of visual impairments on communication development.

After completing this session, participants will

  1.      describe seven levels of communicative competence.
  2.      describe the development of communication and language in typically developing children from birth through 36 months.
  3.      define language and describe five elements of language.
  4.      explain the importance of caregiver responsiveness in caregiver-child attachment and communication. 
  5.      describe the importance of concept development for communication and why children with visual impairments may develop concepts differently.
  6.      describe six modes of nonlinguistic/prelinguistic communication, and explain how visual impairments may prevent children from engaging in typical nonlinguistic/prelinguistic communicative behaviors.
  7.      describe the potential impact of visual impairments on nonlinguistic/prelinguistic communication, including the development of idiosyncratic communicative behaviors of children with visual impairments and additional disabilities.
  8.      describe the potential impact of visual impairments, with and without additional disabilities, on language development.

Session 3: Communication and Language Interventions

Communication and language are the foundation for emergent literacy. Because visual impairments may impact communication and language development, early interventionists and teachers of children with visual impairments (TVIs) must work collaboratively with families and other team members to facilitate communication and language in infants and toddlers with visual impairments.

After completing this session, participants will

  1.     define communication form and function.
  2.      describe recommended practices for facilitating early communication and language development.
  3.      describe the relationship between secure attachment and early communication, and strategies for facilitating attachment and early communication—contingent responsivity, turn taking, providing choices, following the child’s lead.
  4.      discuss the importance of concept development for early communication of children with visual impairments and strategies for facilitating concept development in infants and toddlers with visual impairments. 
  5.      describe evidence-based strategies for communication and language intervention.
  6.      describe strategies for facilitating early communication and language development in infants and toddlers as they move through the seven levels of communicative competence and acquire symbolic communication.
  7.      explain why some children with visual impairments may develop atypical communication and describe strategies for facilitating communication and for addressing echolalia, pronoun confusion, overuse of questions, and perseveration.
  8.      define alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) and assistive technology and describe strategies to facilitate communication in individuals who may benefit from AAC.
  9.      describe the relationship of communication and language to emergent literacy and literacy—that reading, writing, speaking (augmented communication), and listening develop concurrently and interrelatedly.
  10. describe strategies and interventions that promote communication, language, emergent literacy (narrative knowledge, vocabulary, listening comprehension), and metalinguistic development (phonological awareness, syntactic awareness).

Session 4: What Is Emergent Literacy?

Emergent literacy is the developmental process that begins at birth whereby children acquire the foundation for reading and writing or literacy. Both emergent literacy and literacy evolve from complex interactions involving reading, writing, speaking, and listening and associated attitudes, expectations, and beliefs. The development of emergent literacy begins at birth as communication and language develop within social interactions and continues through every day exposure to literacy activities. Children with disabilities, and particularly children with severe visual impairments and/or multiple disabilities, often have fewer opportunities to acquire emergent literacy skills that are related to later success in reading and writing.

After completing this session, participants will

  1.    define emergent literacy as the developmental process that begins at birth whereby children acquire the foundation for reading and writing.
  2.    describe two important models of emergent literacy.
  3.    identify six key components of emergent literacy: oral language, phonological awareness, concept development, knowledge of the conventions of print/braille and of print/braille intentionality, alphabetic knowledge, and environmental factors.
  4.    define oral language, including listening comprehension, vocabulary, and narrative knowledge, and describe how it is related to emergent literacy and literacy.
  5.    define phonological awareness, including phonemic awareness, as a metalinguistic process that contributes to emergent literacy and literacy.
  6.    discuss concept development, including the formation of schemas, and how it relates to emergent literacy.
  7.    describe knowledge of the conventions of print/braille and print/braille intentionality and their relationship to literacy.
  8.    define alphabetic knowledge and describe its contribution to literacy.
  9.    describe the relationship between environmental factors, including the communicative, situational, and sociocultural contexts within which literacy develops, and literacy.
  10. describe effective early intervention practices for facilitating emergent literacy as collaborative and family-centered, developmentally appropriate, and based on   evidence-based and recommended practices to achieve functional outcomes within naturally occurring learning opportunities.
  11. describe strategies and interventions to facilitate emergent literacy—play, routines- based literacy, responsive literacy environments, shared storybook reading (especially dialogic reading, storybook preview, and storybook sounds), storytelling, and dialogue and how they facilitate the development of six key components of emergent literacy.
  12. describe assessments that can be used to identify, plan, and implement emergent literacy interventions.
  13. discuss the potential impact of visual impairments on emergent literacy, the challenge of determining whether children will be print or braille readers, and considerations for providing appropriate adaptations that will facilitate emergent literacy in these children.

Session 5: Interventions to Facilitate Emergent Literacy

Because emergent literacy provides the foundation for literacy and because literacy is essential for independence and employment, it is an important functional goal for young children with disabilities. In addition, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA, 2004) requires preliteracy goals that are developmentally appropriate and evidence based. Families play a key role in providing emergent literacy experiences for their children within natural learning opportunities. Early interventionists can support families in providing emergent literacy experiences that meet the unique needs of children with disabilities.

After completing this session, participants will

  1.       define emergent literacy and identify the components of emergent literacy: oral language, phonological awareness, concept development; knowledge of the conventions of print/braille and of print/braille intentionality, alphabetic knowledge, and environmental factors.
  2.     describe recommended early intervention practices for facilitating emergent literacy as collaborative and family centered, developmentally appropriate, and evidence based to achieve functional outcomes within naturally occurring learning opportunities.
  3.     describe the importance of families and caregiving environments in promoting emergent literacy.
  4.     discuss the potential impact of visual impairment on emergent literacy and  strategies for facilitating emergent literacy in children with visual impairments.
  5.     describe strategies for promoting emergent literacy in children with visual impairments and additional disabilities, including those who use alternative and augmentative communication systems.
  6.     discuss emergent literacy interventions including play; routines-based literacy; responsive literacy environments; shared storybook reading, especially dialogic reading, storybook preview, and storybook sounds; storytelling; and dialogue.

Handout F: A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool

Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2003). A child becomes a reader: Birth through preschool (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation.

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool

Second Edition

Spring 2003

Proven ideas from research for parents

Produced by RMC Research Corporation, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Authors

Bonnie B. Armbruster, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fran Lehr, M.A.

Lehr & Associates, Champaign, Illinois

Jean Osborn, M.Ed.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Partnership for Reading

Bringing Scientific Evidence to Learning

National Institute for Learning

National Institute of Child Hearlth and Human Development

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This publication was produced under National Institute for Literacy Contract No. ED-00CO-0093 with RMC Research Corporation. Sandra Baxter served as the contracting officer’s technical representative. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Institute for Literacy. No official endorsement by the National Institute for Literacy of any product, commodity, service, or enterprise in this publication is intended or should be inferred.

The National Institute for Literacy

Sandra Baxter, Interim Executive

Lynn Reddy, Director Communications Director

To order copies of this booklet, contact the National Institute for Literacy at EdPubs, PO Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Call 800-228-8813 or email . This booklet can also be downloaded at The Partnership for Reading Web site, www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading.

The National Institute for Literacy, an independent federal organization, supports the development of high quality state, regional, and national literacy services so that all Americans can develop the literacy skills they need to succeed at work, at home, and in the community.

The Partnership for Reading, a project administered by the National Institute for Literacy, is a collaborative effort of the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to make evidence-based reading research available to educators, parents, policy makers, and others with an interest in helping all people learn to read well. 

The Partnership for Reading acknowledges editorial support from C. Ralph Adler and design support from Diane Draper, both of RMC Research Corporation.

Contents

Introduction 3
The building blocks of reading and writing 4
Infants and toddlers (birth through age 2) 6
What to do at home 6
What children should be able to do by age 3 9
Preschoolers (ages 3-4) 10
What to do at home 10
What to look for in daycare centers and preschools 12
What children should be able to do by age 5 13
Some helpful terms to know 14
Bibliography 15
Suggested reading for parents and caregivers 16
Resources for parents and caregivers 17

Introduction

When does a child learn to read? Many people might say, “in kindergarten or first grade.” But researchers have told us something very important. Learning to read and write can start at home, long before children go to school. Children can start down the road to becoming readers from the day they are born. Very early, children begin to learn about spoken language when they hear their family members talking, laughing, and singing, and when they respond to all of the sounds that fill their world. They begin to understand written language when they hear adults read stories to them and see adults reading newspapers, magazines, and books for themselves. These early experiences with spoken and written language set the stage for children to become successful readers and writers.

Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and caregivers, this booklet is for you. It gives ideas for playing, talking, and reading with your child that will help himbecome a good reader and writer later in life. You don’t need special training or expensive materials. For your baby or toddler, you can just include some simple, fun language games and activities into the things you already do together every day. For your preschooler, you can keep in touch with your child’s teachers so that you know what he is learning in school and support that learning at home.

This booklet contains:

  • A short summary of what scientific research says about how children learn to read and write
  • Things you can do with your children from birth through age 2 to help them become readers
  • Things you can do with your children between the ages 3-4 and what to look for in quality daycare centers and preschools to help your children become readers
  • A list of helpful terms. Throughout the booklet, these terms appear in bold type.
  • Ideas for books to read and organizations to contact if you would like more help or information

Remember, keep it simple and have fun. Make these activities part of the warm, loving relationship you are already creating with your child. 

To make this booklet easier to read, we sometimes refer to a child as “he” or “she.” However, all of the information about how children learn to read applies to both boys and girls.

The building blocks of reading and writing

From several decades of research, we have learned a lot about how children learn to read and write. This research tells us that to become skilled and confident readers over time, young children need lots of opportunities to:

  • build spoken language by talking and listening
  • learn about print and books
  • learn about the sounds of spoken language (this is called phonological awareness)
  • learn about the letters of the alphabet
  • listen to books read aloud

Talking and listening

Remember the old saying “children should be seen and not heard”? Research tells us that for children to become readers, they should listen and talk a lot.

By the time children are one year old, they already know a lot about spoken language—talking and listening. They recognize some speech sounds. They know which sounds make the words that are important to them. They begin to imitate those sounds. Children learn all of this by listening to family members talk. Even “baby talk,” which exaggerates the sounds and rhythms of words, makes a contribution to children’s ability to understand language. Children who do not hear a lot of talk and who are not encouraged to talk themselves often have problems learning to read.

The information in this booklet comes from many research studies that examined early literacy development. The reports and books listed at the back of this booklet offer more research-based information about how children learn to read and write.

Print and books

Even though books don’t come with operating instructions, we use them in certain ways. We hold them right side-up. We turn the pages one at a time. We read lines of words starting at the left and moving to the right. Knowing about print and books and how they are used is called print awareness.

Print awareness is an important part of knowing how to read and write. Children who know about print understand that the words they see in print and the words they speak and hear are related. They will use and see print a lot, even when they’re young—on signs and billboards, in alphabet books and storybooks, and in labels, magazines, and newspapers. They see family members use print, and they learn that print is all around them and that it is used for different purposes.

Sounds in spoken language

Some words rhyme. Sentences are made up of separate words. Words have parts called syllables. The words bag, ball, and bug all begin with the same sound. When a child begins to notice and understand these things about spoken language, he is developing phonological awareness—the ability to hear and work with the sounds of spoken language.

When a child also begins to understand that spoken words are made up of separate, small sounds, he is developing phonemic awareness. These individual sounds in spoken language are called phonemes. For example, the word 'big' has three phonemes, /b/, /i/, and /g/.2 Children who have phonemic awareness can take spoken words apart sound by sound (the name for this is segmentation) and put together sounds to make words (the name for this is blending). Research shows that how easily children learn to read can depend on how much phonological and phonemic awareness they have.

The ABC’s

Singing the alphabet song is more than just a fun activity. Children who go to kindergarten already knowing the shapes and names of the letters of the alphabet, and how to write them, have an easier time learning to read. Knowing the names and shapes of letters is sometimes called alphabetic knowledge.

Reading aloud

Reading aloud to children has been called the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for success in reading. Reading aloud, with children participating actively, helps children learn new words, learn more about the world, learn about written language, and see the connection between words that are spoken and words that are written.

2 A letter between slash marks, /b/, shows the phoneme, or sound, that the letter represents, and not the name of the letter. For example, the letter b represents the sound /b/.

Infants and Toddlers (Birth Through Age 2)

What to do at home

Talking to and reading to infants and toddlers are two good ways to prepare them for

later success in reading.

Talk to your child

  1. Begin talking and singing to your child from birth. Your baby loves hearing your voice. Play peek-a-boo and pat-a-cake. Recite nursery rhymes or other verses that have strong rhythms and repeated sounds. Sing lullabies and other songs.
  2. Let your baby know that you hear her babbles, coos, and gurgles. Repeat the sounds she makes. Smile back. When you respond to her sounds, she learns that what she “says” means something and is important to you. Sometimes, you can supply the language for her.
    • Parent Talk 
      • When your baby stretches her arm toward her bottle and says, “Ga-ga-ga,” say, “Oh, you’re ready for some more milk? Here’s your milk. Isn’t it good!”
  3. Play simple touching and talking games together. These games help a child learn what different parts of the body are called.
    • Parent Talk 
      • Ask “Where are your toes?” Then touch your child’s toes and say, “Here are your toes!” Repeat several times, then switch to fingers or ears or eyes or the nose.
  4. Point to familiar objects and name them. When a child hears an object called the same name over and over, he learns to connect the spoken word with its meaning.
    • Parent Talk
      • “Here’s your blanket. Your very favorite blanket. What a nice, soft blanket!”
  5. When your child begins to speak, build his language. A child starts talking by using single words and short sentences. You can help by filling in missing words and using complete sentences.
    • Parent Talk 
    • Child: “Cookie" 
    • Parent: “Oh, you want another cookie? OK, you can have just one more.” 
    • Child: “Go car.”
    • Parent: “Yes, we’re all going to go in the car. But first, you have to put on your coat.”
  6. Encourage your child to talk with you. Ask questions that show you are

interested in what she thinks and says. Ask her to share ideas and events that

are important to her. Ask her questions that require her to talk, rather than just to

give yes or no answers. Listen carefully to what she says.

• Parent Talk

“What would you like to do next?”

“What do you suppose made that big noise?”

7. Answer your child’s questions. Listen to your child’s questions and answer

them patiently. Take time to explain things to him as completely as you can.

Keep answering questions that your child asks again and again, because

children learn from hearing things over and over.

Read to your child

1. Make reading a pleasure. Read to your child in a comfortable place. Have her

sit on your lap or next to you so that she can see and point to the print and the

pictures. Show her that reading is fun and rewarding.

2. Show enthusiasm as you read with your child. Read the story with

expression. Make it more interesting by talking as the characters would talk,

making sound effects, and making expressions with your face and hands. When

children enjoy being read to, they will grow to love books and be eager to learn to

read them.

3. Read to your child often. Set aside special times for reading each day, maybe

after lunch and at bedtime. The more you can read to him, the better—as long as

he is willing to listen. Reading times can be brief, about 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Talk with your child as you read together. Comment about what’s happening

in the story. Point to pictures and talk about what’s happening in them. When

your child is ready, have him tell you about the pictures.

• Parent Talk

“See the cat under the tree?”

“Look, the family is getting into a car. I wonder where they’re going?”

“What’s happening on this page?”

5. Encourage your child to explore books. Give your baby sturdy books to look

at, touch, and hold. Allow her to turn the pages, look through the holes, or lift the

flaps. As your child grows older, keep books on low shelves or in baskets where

she can see them and get them herself. Encourage her to look through the books

and talk about them. She may talk about the pictures. She may “pretend” to read

a book that she has heard many times. Or, she may pretend read based only on

the pictures.

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A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 7 of 17

Reading together

Even six-week-old babies like the feeling of closeness when a parent,

grandparent, or other caretaker reads to them. When children find out that

reading with a loving adult can be a warm, happy experience, they begin to build

a lifelong love of reading.

Reading aloud also helps children learn specific things about reading and words.

• About books . . . how to hold them. How to turn the pages one at a time.

• About print . . . there is a difference between words and the pictures. You

• About words . . . every word has a meaning. There are always new words to

• About book language . . . sometimes book language sounds different from

• About the world . . . there are objects, places, events, and situations that

6. Read favorite books again and again. Your child will probably ask you to read

favorite books many times. You might get tired of reading the same books, but

children love hearing the same stories again. And it helps them learn to read by

hearing familiar words and seeing what they look like in print.

Good books for infants and toddlers

• Board books are made from heavy cardboard with a plastic coating. The

How books have words and pictures to help tell the story.

read words and look at pictures.

learn.

everyday conversation.

they have not heard about before.

• Cloth books, which are printed on cloth, are soft, strong, and washable.

• Touch-and-feel books invite children to explore them with their fingers. They

• Interactive books have flaps that lift or other parts that move. Toddlers love

• Books with interesting language, rhythm, and sounds such as books with

• Books with predictable patterns and repeated language such as those

pages are easy for very young children to turn. Board books are sturdy and

can stand hard wear by babies, who tend to throw them, crawl over them, and

chew them. Board books can be wiped clean.

contain objects with different textures or contain holes or pages of different

shapes.

them, but these books tend not to hold up well under rough treatment.

rhymes, songs, and poetry.

that retell traditional nursery rhymes or songs.

What children should be able to do by age 3

The following is a list of accomplishments that you can expect for your child by age 3.

This list is based on research in the fields of reading, early childhood education, and

child development. Remember, though, that children don’t develop and learn at the

same pace and in the same way. Your child may be more advanced or need more help

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A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 8 of 17

than others in her age group. You are, of course, the best judge of your child’s abilities

and needs. You should take the accomplishments as guidelines and not as hard-and-
fast rules.

A three-year-old child . . .

• Likes reading with an adult on a regular basis

• Listens to stories from books and stories that you tell

• Recognizes a book by its cover

• Pretends to read books

• Understands that books are handled in certain ways

• Looks at pictures in a book and knows that they stand for real objects

• Says the name of objects in books

• Comments on characters in books

• Asks an adult to read to him or to help him write

• May begin paying attention to print such as letters in names

• Begins to tell the difference between drawing and writing

• Begins to scribble as a way of writing, making some forms that look like letters

The main sources for this list of accomplishments are Preventing Reading Difficulties in

Young Children and Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally

Appropriate Practices for Young Children. For more information about these sources,

see Suggested Reading at the end of this booklet.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 9 of 17

Preschoolers (Ages 3 and 4)

At ages 3 and 4, children are growing rapidly in their language use and in their

knowledge of reading and writing. They are learning the meanings of many new words,

and they are beginning to use words in more complicated sentences when they speak.

They know more about books and print. They are eager to write. They may even be

showing an interest in learning to read.

Many three- and four-year-old children attend daycare centers or preschool for part or

most of the day. The information in this section of the booklet will help you and your

child, whether your child stays at home all day or attends a daycare center or preschool.

What to do at home

Continue to talk and read with your child, as you did when he was an infant and toddler.

Also, add some new and more challenging activities.

Talk and listen

1. When you do something together—eating, shopping, taking a walk, visiting

a relative—talk about it.

2. Take your child to new places and introduce him to new experiences. Talk

about the new, interesting, and unusual things that you see and do.

3. Teach your child the meaning of new words. Say the names of things around

the house. Label and talk about things in pictures. Explain, in simple ways, how

to use familiar objects and how they work.

• Parent Talk

“That’s a whale! It’s a great big animal, as big as a truck. It lives in the ocean.”

“This is a vacuum cleaner. We use it to clean the floor. See how it cleans up

the spilled cereal?”

4. Help your child to follow directions. Use short, clear sentences to tell him

what you want him to do.

• Parent Talk

“Give me your hand, please.”

“Please take off your mittens and put them on the table. Then I’d like for you

to bring me your jacket so that I can hang it up.”

5. Play with words. Have fun with tongue twisters such as “Peter Piper picked a

peck of pickled peppers” and nonsense rhymes such as “Hey Diddle, Diddle,” as

well as more modern nonsense rhymes.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 10 of 17

Read together

1. Keep reading to your child. Read her a lot of different kinds of books. Reread

her favorite books, even it you get tired of them before she does.

2. Read predictable books. Your child will begin to recognize the repeated words

and phrases and have fun saying them with you.

3. Read poetry and other rhyming books to your child. When reading a familiar

rhyme, stop before a rhyming word and ask your child to provide the word.

4. Ask your child what she thinks will happen next in a story. Get excited when

she finds out whether her guess was right.

5. Talk about books. Ask about favorite parts. Help your child relate the story to

his own life. Answer his questions about characters or events.

6. Build a library, or book collection, for your child. Look for books at

bookstores, garage sales, used bookstores, and sales at the library. Suggest that

people give books to your child as birthday gifts and on other special days.

Teach about print and letters

1. Help your child learn to recognize her name in print. As she watches, print

the letters of her name, saying each letter as you write it. Display her name in

special places in your home. Encourage her to spell and write her name.

2. Point out words and letters everywhere you can. Read street signs, traffic

signs, billboards, and store signs. Point out certain letters in these signs. Ask

your child to begin naming common signs and find some letters.

3. Teach your child the alphabet song.

4. Share alphabet books with your child. Some alphabet books have songs and

games that you can learn together.

5. Put magnetic letters on your refrigerator or other smooth, safe metal

surface. Ask your child to name the letters as he plays with them.

6. Play games using the alphabet. Ask your child to find letters in books,

magazines, newspapers, and other print.

What to look for in daycare centers and preschools

If your child attends a daycare center or preschool, look for these important

characteristics of teachers, classrooms, and instruction.

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A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 11 of 17

Teachers

In quality daycare centers and preschools, teachers . . .

• Keep a well-run, orderly classroom that also encourages children to

• Use many creative ways to help children learn language and learn the

Classrooms

In quality daycare centers and preschools, classrooms have . . .

• Lots of books and magazines that children can handle and play with

• Areas for many different activities, such as art, science, housekeeping,

• Plenty of print on labels, signs, and posters

• Writing materials, including paper, pencils, crayons, and markers

• Magnetic letters, or letters made of foam, plastic, wood, or other durable

Instruction

In quality daycare centers and preschools, teachers . . .

• Read aloud to children frequently, from many different kinds of books

• Talk with children throughout the day and listen carefully to what they say

• Play games such as “Simon Says” and “Mother, May I?” that require children

• Give children opportunities to build their knowledge by exploring their

• Help children learn the meanings of new words by naming colors, shapes,

• Teach about the sounds of spoken language by reading aloud books with

• Teach children about print by pointing out and using the print that is all around

• Teach the letters of the alphabet

• Encourage children to scribble, draw, and try to write

What children should be able to do by age 5

The following is a list of some accomplishments that you can expect for your child by

age 5. This list is based on research in the fields of reading, early childhood education,

and child development. Remember, though, that children don’t develop and learn at the

same pace and in the same way. Your child may be more advanced or need more help

than others in her age group. You are, of course, the best judge of your child’s abilities

and needs. You should take the accomplishments as guidelines and not as hard-and-
fast rules.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 12 of 17

participate in and enjoy learning

knowledge and skills that will help them become readers

writing, and perhaps computers

material so children can pretend write and play

to listen carefully

interests and ideas

animals, familiar objects, and parts of the classroom

interesting sounds, chanting, and rhyming; by having children say or sing

nursery rhymes and songs; and by playing word games

them

Spoken language

A five-year-old child . . .

• Understands and follows oral (or spoken) directions

• Uses new words and longer sentences when she speaks

• Recognizes the beginning sounds of words and sounds that rhyme

• Listens carefully when books are read aloud

Reading

A five-year-old child . . .

• Shows interest in books and reading

• Might try to read, calling attention to himself and showing pride in what he can

• Can follow the series of events in some stories

• Can connect what happens in books to her life and experiences

• Asks questions and makes comments that show he understands the book he

Print and letters

A five-year-old child . . .

• Knows the difference between print (words) and pictures and knows that print

• Recognizes print around him on signs, on television, on boxes, and many

• Understands that writing has a lot of different purposes (for example, signs

• Knows that each letter in the alphabet has a name

• Can name at least 10 letters in the alphabet, especially the ones in her name

• “Writes,” or scribbles, messages

The main sources for this list of accomplishments are Preventing Reading Difficulties in

Young Children and Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate

Practices for Young Children. For more information about these sources, see

Suggested Reading at the end of this booklet.

do (“See, I can read this book!”)

is listening to

is what you read

other places

tell where something is located, lists can be used for grocery shopping,

directions can tell you how to put something together)

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 13 of 17

Some helpful terms to know

Daycare providers and preschool teachers might use some of the following terms when

talking to you about how your child is learning to read. You will find that many of these

terms are used in this booklet.

• alphabetic knowledge Knowing the names and shapes of the letters of the

alphabet.

• big books Oversized books that allow for the sharing of print and illustrations with

children.

• blending Putting together individual sounds to make spoken words.

• developmental spelling The use of letter-sound relationship information to

attempt to write words.

• emergent literacy The view that literacy learning begins at birth and is encouraged

through participation with adults in meaningful reading and writing activities.

• environmental print Print that is a part of everyday life, such as signs, billboards,

labels, and business logos.

• experimental writing Efforts by young children to experiment with writing by

creating pretend and real letters and by organizing scribbles and marks on paper.

• invented spelling See developmental spelling.

• literacy Includes all the activities involved in speaking, listening, reading, writing,

and appreciating both spoken and written language.

• phonemes The smallest parts of spoken language that combine to form words. For

example, the word hit is made up of three phonemes (/h/ /i/ /t/) and differs by one

phoneme from the words pit, hip and hot.

• phonemic awareness The ability to notice and work with the individual sounds in

spoken language.

• phonological awareness The understanding that spoken language is made up of

individual and separate sounds. In addition to phonemes, phonological awareness

activities can involve work with rhymes, words, sentences, and syllables.

• pretend reading Children’s attempts to “read” a book before they have learned to

read. Usually children pretend read a familiar book that they have practically

memorized.

• print awareness Knowing about print and books and how they are used.

• segmentation Taking spoken words apart sound by sound.

• spoken language The language used in talking and listening; in contrast to written

language, which is the language used in writing and reading.

• syllable A word part that contains a vowel or, in spoken language, a vowel sound

(e-vent, news-pa-per, pret-ty).

• vocabulary The words we must know in order to communicate effectively. Oral

vocabulary refers to words that we use in speaking or recognize in listening.

Reading vocabulary refers to words we recognize or use in print.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 14 of 17

Bibliography

Anderson, R.C., Hiebert, E.H., Scott, J.A., & Wilkinson, I.A.G. (1985). Becoming a

nation of readers: The report of the commission on reading. Champaign, IL: Center

for the Study of Reading; Washington, DC: National Institute of Education.

Dickinson, D.K., & Tabors, P.O. (2001). Beginning literacy with language: Young

children learning at home and school. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Gopnik, A., Meltzoff, A.N., & Kuhl, P.K. (2000). The scientist in the crib. New York:

Harper Perennial.

National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence-based

assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for

reading instruction. Washington, DC: National Institute of Child Health and Human

Development.

Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in

young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 15 of 17

Suggested reading for parents and caregivers

Here are some books that can provide you with more information about early reading

and writing.

Apel, K., & Masterson, J.J. (2001). Beyond baby talk: From sounds to sentences,

a parent’s guide to language development. Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.

Armbruster, B.B., Lehr, F., & Osborn, J. (2001). Put reading first: The research

building blocks for teaching children to read: Kindergarten through grade 3.

Washington, DC: National Institute for Literacy (available online at

www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading)

Burns, M.S., Griffin, P., & Snow, C.E. (Eds.). (1999). Starting out right: A guide to

promoting children’s reading success. Washington, DC: National Academy

Press.

Hall, S.L., & Moats, L.C. (1998). Straight talk about reading: How parents can make

a difference during the early years. Chicago: NTC Publishing Group.

Neuman, S.B., Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2000). Learning to read and rrite:

Developmentally appropriate practices for young Children. Washington, DC:

National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Ramey, C.T., & Ramey, S.L. (1999). Right from birth: Building your child’s foundation

for life. New York: Goddard Press.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency

Affairs. (2002). Helping your child become a reader. Washington, DC: Author.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency

Affairs. (2002). Helping your preschool child. Washington, DC: Author.

CEL Module 07/27/05 S4 Handout F

A Child Becomes a Reader: Birth Through Preschool Page 16 of 17

Resources for parents and caregivers

The following government groups can provide you with useful information about

learning to read.

The Partnership for Reading

www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading

Even Start Family Literacy Program

www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/CEP

ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education

www.ericeece.org

National Parent Information Network (NPIN)

www.npin.org

ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication

www.indiana.edu/~eric_rec

National Institute for Literacy (NIFL)

www.nifl.gov

No Child Left Behind For Parents

www.nochildleftbehind.gov/parents/index.html

Partnership for Family Involvement in Education

www.pfie.ed.gov/

If you have children attending kindergarten or grades 1-3, look for the booklet

A Child Becomes a Reader: Kindergarten through Grade 3.

www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading

To order copies of this booklet, contact the National Institute for Literacy at

EdPubs, PO Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398. Call 800-228-8813 or email

. This booklet can also be downloaded at The Partnership for

Reading web site, www.nifl.gov/partnershipforreading.

The Partnership for Reading

Bringing Scientific Evidence to Learning

National Institute for Literacy

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Second Edition

Spring 2003

Session 4: What Is Emergent Literacy?

Handout E: A Model of Oral and Written Language Development

EIVI Training Center. (2005). A model of oral and written language development. Chapel Hill, NC: Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH. 

Adapted from Koppenhaver, Pierce, Steelman, & Yoder (1994). Used with permission.

Concept development graphic

 

The communicative context includes the verbal and nonverbal interactions of children and adults. It includes receptive communication such as listening, watching signs, and reading, as well as expressive communication such as speaking, signing, using assistive or adaptive communication devices, and writing. All of these communicative acts are related and develop in an interrelated manner. The nature of the communicative context and the interactions occurring within it dictate whether or not children will become familiar with the characteristics of language and the concepts that connect spoken and written language. The situational context refers to the physical characteristics of children’s living and learning environments. The situational context includes the availability of literacy and communication materials, opportunities for literacy and communication experiences, and the literacy and communication skills of adults and other children in the living and learning environments. 

The sociocultural context specifically refers to the societal and cultural values, expectations, beliefs, and resources regarding communication and literacy. For example, middle-class Americans may value storybook reading with their children, while some Native Americans may place a greater value on oral storytelling. 

The opportunities afforded children are influenced by their interactions with others; the physical environments in which they are living and learning; and the attitudes, expectations, and beliefs society holds for them as potential learners.

Consider the following example:

When 30-month-old Amber and her mother return from their trip to the grocery store, Amber’s grandfather has arrived for a visit. Amber is feeling a little full from tasting so many good samples that were available at the store.

While her mother puts away the groceries, Amber brings her grandfather one of her braille-print books about different types of food. She sits on her grandfather’s lap with the braille-print book resting on her legs. Her grandfather reads the rhyming print in a singsong voice as he skims his fingers over the braille dots. Amber periodically places her hand on her grandfather’s as it moves across the page. She chimes in frequently with the repetitive line when her grandfather pauses at the end of each page.

Amber also enjoys interacting with her grandfather when he asks, “Is that your favorite food?” As always, Amber responds “No” to everything except chocolate ice cream—her true favorite.

This communicative and literacy experience can be viewed in terms of the communicative context, the situational context, and the sociocultural context. The communicative context included the use of a special reading voice, i.e., the singsong rhythm, reading a braille-print book, and the fact that the grandfather related the book to Amber’s life. The situational context included the child’s independent access to braille books, the visit to the grocery store where the child had hands-on experiences with the foods mentioned in the book, and a home environment with many adults who were willing and able to support Amber and her literacy learning. The sociocultural context included the mother’s expectation that Amber would go to the grocery store, the grandfather’s understanding of the importance of reading and touching the braille dots, and the community resources that had helped the family acquire the books and learn how to use daily interactions to teach Amber about communication and literacy.

Reference

Koppenhaver, D.A., Pierce, P.L., Steelman, J.D., & Yoder, D.E. (1995). Contexts of early literacy intervention for children with developmental disabilities. In M.E. Fey, J. Windsor, & S.F. Warren (Eds.), Language intervention: Preschool through the elementary years (pp. 241-274). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Session 4: What is Emergent Literacy?

Handout C: Building Blocks of Literacy

Smith, M., & Bishop, V. (2005). Building blocks of literacy. Chapel Hill, NC: Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH.

Reference

EIVI Training Center. (2005). Millie Smith: Early cognitive, communicative, and motor skills impact language and literacy [Video clip]. (Available from Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, CB #8040, UNC, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040)

Session 4: What Is Emergent Literacy?

Handout D: Topics in Early Childhood Literature

Murphy, J.L. (2005). Topics in early childhood literature. Chapel Hill, NC: Early Intervention Training Center for Infants and Toddlers With Visual Impairments, FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH.

Family life

Parents

Brothers and sisters

Extended family

Stepfamilies

Family traditions

Adoption

Marriage and divorce

New baby

Nature

Insects

Animals (birds, fish, snakes, mammals, farm animals, pets, zoo)

Weather

Community

Neighborhood

Transportation

Rescue and firefighting

Growing up

My body

Senses

Getting in trouble

Emotions

Friendships and getting along

Self-help

Love

Bedtime

Diversity

Special needs

New experiences

Doctor/dentist/hospital

Going to school

Basic concepts

Counting

Alphabet

Sizes and shapes

Opposites

References

American Library Association. (2004). Children’s notable lists. Retrieved March 14, 2005, from http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/childrensnotable/Default1888.htm

Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site. (1999). Expanded table of contents. Retrieved March 14, 2005, from http://www.carolhurst.com/toc.html

Children’s Book Council. (2003). Reading lists: Books to grow on. Retrieved March 14, 2005, from http://www.cbc-books.org/readinglists/bookstogrow.html

Koenig, A.J., & Farrenkopf, C. (1997). Essential experiences to undergird the early development of literacy. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 91(1), 14-24.

Handout B: Laying the Groundwork for Literacy

Strickland, D.S., & Shanahan, T. (2004). Laying the groundwork for literacy. Educational Leadership, 61(6), 74-77.

Copyright of Educational Leadership is the property of Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a Listserv without the copyright holder’s express written permissions.  However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Reprinted by permission. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development is a worldwide community of educators advocating sound policies and sharing best practices to achieve the success of each learner. To learn more, visit ASCD at www.ascd.org.

 

Laying the Groundwork for Literacy

By Dorothy S. Strickland and Timothy Shanahan

An increasing body of evidence shows that high-quality early education yields long- lasting benefits (Bowman, Donovan, & Bums, 2000; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). Educators and policymakers have begun to ask essential questions: What skills and abilities do young children require to help them grow into successful readers and writers? How can we prevent reading difficulties? What roles do school and home play in young children's literacy development? The National Early Literacy Panel, in its ongoing synthesis of early literacy education research, hopes to provide some answers. 

In 2002, the National Reading Panel released its influential report, Teaching Children to Read, which synthesized some of the scientifically based reading research on students in kindergarten through 12th grade. But no similar research synthesis existed on the topic of early literacy development in children from birth through age 5. Research dealing with early childhood development (Bowman et al., 2000; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000) did not focus on either literacy preparation or evaluating the specific factors that contribute to successful literacy development (Barnett, 1998; Strickland & Barnett, 2003).

National Early Literacy Panel

The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) was created through the Family Partnership in Reading Project, which is funded by the National Institute for Literacy under the auspices of the National Center for Family Literacy. NELP's mission was twofold: to provide a research synthesis on early literacy development that would contribute to education policy and practice decisions affecting early literacy development and to evaluate the role of teachers and families in supporting children's language and literacy development. This evidence would help the National Center for Family Literacy create literacy-specific materials for parents and teachers as well as staff development programs for family literacy practitioners.

NELP used methodology consistent with that used by the National Reading Panel (NRP) in its synthesis on reading education research. There are some important differences, however. Like NRP, NELP conducted extensive and rule-based searches of the key education databases. But NELP has a broader perspective than NRP, considering early writing and spelling development as well as reading.

For inclusion in the synthesis, studies had to meet some basic selection criteria. Studies had to be published in English in refereed journals and had to report empirical research on children up to the age of 5 (or through kindergarten).

NELP set out to answer four basic questions about early literacy development:

  • What skills and abilities of young children (birth through 5 years) predict later reading outcomes?
  • How do environments and settings contribute to or hinder the development of such skills and abilities?
  • How do the characteristics of children contribute to or hinder the development of such skills and abilities?
  • How do programs and interventions contribute to or hinder the development of such skills and abilities?

Because NRP focused on the performance of school-age children, it included studies that examined word recognition or decoding, oral reading fluency, and reading comprehension. NELP's focus was substantially different. Although some children become readers and writers before entering kindergarten or 1st grade, most are more accurately described as prereaders or emergent readers. Thus, direct measures of reading and writing skills, such as those used by NRP, fail to reveal much about younger children. Preliminary NELP findings provide us with some clues about what skills and abilities of young children predict later reading outcomes.

First, NELP established standards of evidence. For a skill or an ability to qualify as a potentially important precursor to later literacy development, it had to significantly correlate with reading, writing, or spelling development. NELP considered studies that measured one or more skills or abilities during the preschool or kindergarten years and that subsequently provided a direct measure of reading, writing, or spelling skill for these same students. NELP required at least three independent studies for each variable. Also, the average correlation across these studies needed to be large enough (.30) to suggest some potential educational value if the variable was implicated in later literacy learning. Finally, NELP required that the early skills or abilities studied be teachable; there is no point in focusing policy or practice on such theoretically unchangeable characteristics as IQ.

The Findings

NELP found that certain skills and abilities have direct links to children's eventual success in early literacy development. The 11 variables listed in Figure 1 qualified as predictors with sufficient correlation to literacy to merit further consideration: alphabetic knowledge, print knowledge, environmental print, invented spelling, listening comprehension, oral language/vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonological short- term memory, rapid naming, visual memory, and visual perceptual skills. In some studies, the correlations were calculated to measure either the relationship between the preschool skills and the children's decoding ability or the relationship between the preschool skills and the children's subsequent reading comprehension. If the variable met the standard for either the decoding or comprehension outcome, it was included for further study.

Correlations can range from .00 (no relationship) to 1.00 (a perfect relationship). Figure 1 provides a description of how closely measures of early performance related to later reading achievement. Correlations show similarity of performance on the two measures; they do not imply causation. If a preschool or kindergarten variable is both highly correlated and causally connected, then teaching the skills or abilities summarized by that variable would most likely lead to higher literacy performance.

The findings will reassure early childhood professionals that many of their assumptions about predictors of reading success are valid. They may wish to use this information as they plan well-integrated, developmentally appropriate, and engaging opportunities for students to build the foundations for reading and writing.

We examine some of the broader variables below: oral language, alphabetic knowledge, and print knowledge.

Oral  Language

The correlational studies linking oral language to literacy address vocabulary growth and listening comprehension. Few studies measure young children's syntax or grammar development and link performance in this area to later reading achievement.

Oral language development is facilitated when children have many opportunities to use language in interactions with adults and with one another, both one-on-one and in small groups; when they frequently engage in extended conversations with adults; and when they listen and respond to stories read and told to them. These activities enable the students to describe events, build background knowledge, and extend their vocabulary. Because evidence now supports the importance of oral language as a precursor to and an ongoing support for literacy, preschools should provide opportunities for students to

  • Create sounds by singing and participating in music making.
  • Listen and respond to music, stories, and discussions.
  • Listen for various purposes: for enjoyment, to follow directions, to engage in dialogue with others, and to attend to patterns in language.
  • Engage in oral language activities that are linguistically, cognitively, and verbally stimulating.

Alphabetic Knowledge

Knowledge of the letters of the alphabet and phonological awareness (the ability to hear the sounds within words) form the basis of early decoding and spelling ability, and both are closely correlated with later reading and spelling achievement. Young children can learn to name and distinguish letters. They can also begin to develop an awareness of the constituent sounds within words, such as syllables, rhymes, and phonemes.

Children who can hear the sounds in oral language are more likely to benefit from early reading instruction.

To develop phonological awareness, teachers should immerse students in language- rich environments. Given the importance of alphabetic knowledge, preschools should provide opportunities for students to

  • Play with letters, such as those in alphabet puzzles, and engage with alphabet books.
  • Participate in activities in which teachers link the names of letters and the sounds they represent to writing, particularly to the students' own names.
  • Work with rhymes and play language games with letter sounds.
  • Draw and write independently for personal enjoyment.

Print Knowledge

Making sense of print includes an awareness and understanding of environmental print (print that surrounds us in our environment, such as in the supermarket); an understanding of the concepts of print (such as where to begin to read a book or a page and in what direction to read); and the ability to invent the spelling of words. To foster print knowledge, preschools should provide opportunities for students to

  • Observe adults writing as the adults say the words aloud.
  • Contribute ideas and language for others to write down.
  • Participate in discussions about the use of labels and signs.
  • Observe and follow along as adults track print from left to right while reading aloud.
  • Independently browse through books front to back and draw and "write" independently.

Some of these early skills identified by NELP will prove to be crucial in later literacy achievement, whereas others will prove to be more incidental to literacy. Nevertheless, this first synthesis provides significant clues as to what works in preschool literacy education.

Figure 1. Correlations of Preschool Skills or Abilities With Decoding or Reading Comprension Measures

A - Preschool Skill or Ability

B - Decoding Mean correlation

C - Decoding Number of studies

D - Decoding Number of children

E - Comprehension Mean correlation

F - Comprehension Number of studies

G - Comprehension Number of children

A

B

E

C

F

D

G

Alphabetic knowledge

.46

.45

26

6

2,904

668

Print knowledge

.46

.30

11

1

1,203

21

Environmental print

.52

--

4

--

543

--

Invented spelling

.56

.69

9

2

703

104

Listening comprehension

.27

.32

9

3

1,399

536

Oral language/vocabulary

.30

.26

26

8

2,088

1,188

Phonemic awareness

.45

.42

49

13

4,448

1,006

Phonological short-term memory

.26

.38

25

9

2,502

1,281

Rapid naming

.39

.39

18

6

2,032

645

Visual memory

.47

.15

4

1

295

281

Visual perceptual skills

.36

.35

9

4

931

659

References

Barnett, S.W. (1998). Long-term effects on cognitive development and school success. In S.W. Barnett & S. Boocock (Eds.), Early care and education for children in poverty (pp. 11-44). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Bowman, B., Donovan, M.S., & Burns, M.S. (Eds.). (2000). Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Shonkoff, J.P., & Phillips, D. (Eds.). (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Strickland, D.S., & Barnett, W.S. (2003). Literacy interventions for preschool children considered at risk: Implications for curriculum, professional development, and parent involvement. In C.M. Fairbanks, J. Worthy, B. Maloch, J.V. Hoffman, & D.C.

Schallert (Eds.), National Reading Conference Yearbook (Edition 2003, pp. 104- 116). Oak Creek, WI: National Reading Conference, Inc.

Session 5:  Activity E: Role Play With Dialogic Reading

Instructor Guidelines

The purpose of this activity is for participants to learn about dialogic reading, including the memory aids PEER and CROWD, through role-play.

Time needed. 10 minutes to explain for out-of-class assignment. 60 minutes for in-class assignment.

Materials. Handouts M, Dialogic Reading, and I, What Young Children Like in Books

Directions

1. Review the principles of dialogic reading with the participants. Provide each participant with a copy of Handout G, Dialogic Reading.

2. Divide participants into teams of two. Have each team decide who will play the caregiver role and who will play the child role.

3. Have the teams briefly identify visual condition, learning medium or media, and developmental age of an imaginary child.

4. Have each team choose a book appropriate for their imaginary child from a selection of books that you provide. Provide each participant with a copy of Handout F, What Young Children Like in Books, to guide the book selection (Option: You may also have the participants provide the books).

5. Have the teams assume the roles of child and caregiver and share the book using PEER and CROWD and practice for about 15 minutes.

6. If completed as an in-class activity, the teams will role-play in front of the other participants using the dialogic reading techniques. The participants should introduce their imaginary child and describe the rationale for their book selection. In collaboration with the other participants, provide feedback for the role-players specific to dialogic reading in class or via an online discussion.

7. If the assignment is completed out-of-class, the participants will videotape the description of the child, the rationale for the book selection, and the dialogic reading role-play.

Session 5:  Activity F: Creating a Story Box

Instructor Guidelines

The purpose of this activity is for participants to create a story box for young children with visual impairments.

Materials. Newbold, S. (2000). Emergent literacy for young blind children.
Phoenix, AZ: Foundation for Blind Children. (To order copies of this booklet, contact FBC Publications, The Foundation for Blind Children, 1235 E. Harmont Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85020, or call 1-602-331-1470. The cost of the booklet is $10.00.)

Time needed. 10 minutes to assign and 30 minutes for individual presentations after the assignments are completed.

Directions

1. Provide participants with copies of Emergent literacy for young blind children and have them review the section entitled “Tips for Creating Story Boxes.”
2. After participants have reviewed these guidelines, they should select a children’s book appropriate for an infant or toddler with visual impairments.
3. Participants should use the guidelines on pages 22-25 of Emergent Literacy for Young Blind Children in creating a Level I, Real Experience Story Box, or a Level II, Familiar Activity Story Box. Consider the guidelines listed below.

a. Are the story box items thoughtful, creative, and appropriate for infants and toddlers with visual impairments?
b. Do the objects and the story relate to familiar, real-life experiences of infants and toddlers?
c. Is the story box itself in a unique container that provides interest and direct association for easy identification by the child?
d. Are the objects real and authentic?
e. How would this story box promote concept development in young children with visual impairments?
f. Do the items in the story box offer meaningful sensory information?
g. Do the items provide opportunities for active learning?
h. Can the story box easily be re-created by families and easily be used within families’ existing reading routines?
i. Are there family-friendly guidelines and suggestions for using the story box?

4. After participants have created their story boxes, they should use them with infants or toddlers with visual impairments and complete a two- to three-page reflection paper discussing the questions listed below.

a. For what age and ability level is the story box appropriate?
b. What objects were used in the story box and why?
c. How can a family and child use the story box?
d. How might TVIs present the story box to a family and encourage the family to use the story box as well as create story boxes of their own?
e. How does the story box relate to concepts found in children’s daily routines?
f. How might caregivers build on the concepts found in the story box?
g. What activities found in daily routines might the TVI or family use to facilitate the development of concepts related to the story?
h. How did the child respond to the story box?
i. After having used your story box with a young child, what changes would you make? Explain.

5. After all participants have completed this assignment, provide time for them to share their story boxes with other participants in class or via an online discussion. Participants should display their story boxes in person or take digital photographs and describe the rationale for the objects. Have participants describe their experiences with the infant or toddler with visual impairments who experienced the story box.

Reference

Newbold, S. (2000). Emergent literacy for young blind children. Phoenix, AZ: The Foundation for Blind Children.

Session 5:  Activity G: Family Brochure on Emergent Literacy

Instructor Guidelines

The purpose of this activity is for participants to develop a family-centered, culturally sensitive pamphlet that discusses emergent literacy for infants and toddlers with low vision or blindness.

Time needed. 15 minutes to explain assignment

Directions

1. Participants should develop a pamphlet for families of infants and toddlers with low vision or blindness that addresses the questions listed below.

  1. What is emergent literacy?
  2. How might blindness or low vision affect emergent reading and writing?
  3. What are appropriate emergent literacy activities for young children with visual impairments?

2. When developing their pamphlets, have participants consider the following:

  1. accessibility to families of varying educational levels;
  2. cultural sensitivity;
  3. clear, concise information appropriate for a family unfamiliar with early intervention, yet valuable to families who have experienced early intervention; and
  4. written text and pictorial components.

3. Have participants share and discuss their pamphlets with one another in class or via an online discussion prior to your review.

4. When evaluating and grading the pamphlets, consider the following:

  1. accuracy of information,
  2. relevance of content,
  3. language,
  4. aesthetics,
  5. flow of information, and
  6. cultural awareness and sensitivity.