Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten

Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten

Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten

Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten

Synopsis

Kindergarten is a time for playful and enriching learning activities that support children's literacy emergence while enhancing their social and cognitive development. The routines of a busy, engaged, productive kindergarten classroom are vividly brought to life in this information-packed book. Demonstrated are whole-class and small-group strategies for helping children acquire concepts about print and the alphabet, build phonological and phonemic awareness, learn to read sight words, develop their listening comprehension and writing abilities, and much more.

Excerpt

Kindergarten is a special time in a child's life. It is often the first year that children attend “real” school. Most of us have warm memories of our kindergarten experiences. We remember the stories the teacher read aloud, building with those enormous wooden blocks, and creating the most extravagant art projects. For me (L. M. M.) kindergarten will always be special for a second reason: I began my career teaching kindergarten almost three decades ago. However, things were different then. There was no intentional teaching of literacy skills. As a matter of fact, in some schools, it was forbidden to teach literacy. Some of what we did then looks the same now and should be, and some looks vastly different. In today's kindergarten classrooms, we still utilize blocks and dramatic play centers. We still recite favorite poems, we still teach finger plays, and we still construct art projects. We still teach using themes; we read stories and teach science and social studies related to those themes. However, in addition, kindergarten teachers are expected to provide far more instruction in reading and writing skills than we ever did before.

While we continue to have debates over what is and is not appropriate for young children, the research is clear: Young children can and do learn a great deal about reading and writing at age 5. Kindergarten instructional approaches remain playful; but nonetheless, they are systematic and intentional. Kindergarten teachers are careful to engage children in activities that preserve the joy of reading and writing. However, they are intentional in providing children with opportunities to learn the foundational knowledge that is so critical for beginning to read and write with success. Kindergarten teachers guide children into the wonderful world of literature and discovery; yet they also teach the alphabet, phonemic awareness, concepts about print, and oral language. This book is intended to help teachers become better at meeting the needs of the diverse learners they will encounter as they teach kindergarten and to help students learn the skills in ways appropriate for their age. Kindergartners can learn letters, numbers, colors, sight words, and to do some writing, but instruction must be handled in a way that will enhance their joy of learning. We hope that this book will help teachers to accomplish these goals.

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