The purpose of this article is to review various research studies and to identify essential elements of effective early literacy classroom instruction. Before children learn to read, they need to international literacy day essay aware of how sounds work.
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Teachers should integrate phonemic awareness instruction in the curriculum to help children learn to read and spell. The instruction can start with having children categorize the first phonemes — the smallest functional unit of speech — in words and then progress to more complicated combinations. Phonics skills must be integrated with the development of phonemic awareness, fluency, and text reading comprehension skills. Developing skill in blending and manipulating phonemes has been found to permit many children to develop strong reading abilities who were otherwise struggling. Phonemic awareness can also be integrated into beginning writing instruction.
While a child writes, the teacher can name the letters or comment about the strokes used to form the letters. When teachers take dictated messages from children, such as when writing a thank-you letter to a parent or guest, they can provide explicit demonstrations of phoneme segmentation. During the infant and toddler years, children need many one-on-one interactions with caring adults to support their oral literacy development. Parents can talk to very young children and respond to their attempts to engage with simple language and frequent eye-contacts. Young children also need teachers to play with, talk with, sing to, and with whom to do finger plays and other learning games. Children need materials to support their literacy development.
When children have ready access to writing tools with which to express themselves in symbolic ways, they are motivated to learn and use literacy. Books, papers, writing tools, and functional signs should be visible everywhere in the classroom so that children can see and use literacy for multiple purposes. For toddlers, teachers can provide simple art materials such as crayons, markers, or papers for them to explore and manipulate. For preschoolers, teachers can draw children’s attention to specific letters and words in the environment whenever it is appropriate. Besides accessible writing tools, children also need time to explore literacy. In the free-choice time period, children can engage in literacy-related play by sharing and sending messages to friends in a writing center. The early childhood curriculum should be intellectually engaging and challenging in a way that expands children’s knowledge of the world and vocabulary.
Investigating real topics or events that are meaningful to children should be a primary feature of the curriculum. When children investigate, they have opportunities to ask questions and use their literacy skills to explore their worlds. Teachers can establish time each day for students to present their thoughts in symbolic ways. Children can also work in small groups with peers having different skills so they can learn from each other. Teachers can share cardboard books, nursery rhymes, books with photographs, or drawings of animals, people, and brightly colored objects. In preschool, children need daily exposure to high quality books. In kindergarten and the primary grades, children also need to experience and engage in stories and informational texts daily.
When reading to students of all ages, teachers should speak with inflection in order to convey meanings. Background and contextual information regarding the literature being read is also useful for students’ comprehension, vocabulary building, and decoding. Students not only need to listen to books, they also need to have chances to read independently. Library corners need to be in the central part of the classroom with comfortable furniture that encourages children to read by themselves. Varying levels and varieties of reading materials, such as novels, biographies, informational books, magazines, and newspaper articles should be provided to broaden children’s reading experiences. Many teachers like to encourage children to do book talks about the materials they are reading, finding that this method significantly promotes conversations and reading interests among the children. Opportunities for children to read to audiences, including peers, parents, or even stuffed animals should be provided since this has been found to increase reading accuracy and fluency.
Reading can also be a regular part of children’s out-of-school time so that parents can be involved in supporting children’s reading habits at home. In literacy-rich classrooms, some children are able to learn the skills and strategies necessary for reading and writing through engagement in meaningful activities. However, it is important for teachers to adjust teaching strategies according to children’s needs. Learning to read and write is a critical achievement in life. Research reveals conclusively the link between early literacy and later academic and career success. To ensure that every child becomes a competent reader and writer is a responsibility shared by teachers, families and communities.