-Early Literacy from Birth to School-

Chapter Four

Key Terms


Environmental print-Print that surrounds children in their every day lives, such as traffic signs, restaurant signs, charts, and labels.


Invented spelling-Spellings children use early in their reading and writing development as they begin to associate letters and sounds.

Language-experience Activities-Activities using the natural language of children and their background experiences to share and discuss events’ listen to and tell stories’ dictate words, sentences, and stories; and write independently.

Literate environment-An environment that fosters and nurtures interests in and curiosity about written language and supports children’s efforts to become readers and writers.

Print Knowledge- Refers to a child’s understanding of the nature and uses of print. A child’s print awareness is closely associated with his or her word awareness or the ability to recognize words as distinct elements of oral and written communication.


Shared reading-Strategy allowing all children in a classroom or small group to participate in the reading of a story, usually through the use of a big book with large print and illustrations.

Vocabulary-The panoply of words we use, recognize and respond to in meaningful acts of communication.

 -Key Ideas-

Alphabet knowledge-Ability to name and write the 26 letters of the alphabet.

Core language and literacy skills-Skills children must have in order to become successful readers. To learn to read and write easily, children need to develop experience  with these skills within a print-rich environment. These skills are:

  • Oral Language Comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Alphabet Knowledge
  • Developmental writing
  • Print Knowledge

Design of classroom environment-Environment  should be rich with print, representing language familiar to children and resulting from daily activities and thematic inquiry. the environment itself becomes a “teacher”, providing opportunities for children to learn from their own and with peers. Some supportive environment areas:

  • Book Area
  • Listening Area
  • Computer Area
  • Writing Area

Developing early literacy skills- Through:

  • Exploration of Print Through Language Experiences
  • Reading to Children
  • Allowing Children to Immerse themselves in Literacy


Phonological awareness-The ability to hear, recognize, and play with sounds of our language. It’s the recognition that sounds in English can be broken down into smaller and smaller parts: sentences, words, rhymes, and syllables. Phonological awareness is auditory; students can do most phonological awareness activities with their eyes closed. Phonological awareness includes knowing that:

  • Sentences can be segmented into words
  • Words can be segmented into syllables
  • Words can be segmented into their individual sounds
  • Words can begin or end with the same sounds
  • The individual sounds of words can be blended together
  • The individual sounds of words can be manipulated (added, deleted or substituted)

Phonological awareness is an encompassing term that involves working with the sounds of language at the word, syllable, and phoneme level; it is an umbrella term that includes:

  • Rhyming- Matching the ending sounds of words, called rimes, like hat, cat, bat, rat
  • Alliteration- Producing groups of words that begin with the same initial sound like two tall trees
  • Sentence Segmenting- Understanding the sentences are composed of separate words
  • Syllable blending and segmenting- Blending syllables to make words and segmenting words into syllables help students distinguish distinct units of sounds. /mag/ /net/ ; /kick/ /ball/
  • Phonemic awareness- This is the most complex phonological skill. It is the ability to segment words into sounds, blend them back together, and manipulate the sounds to make new words. /c/ /a/ /t/ ; /sh/ /i/ /p/.


How to promote oral language development:

  • Make conversation with children during every available opportunity
  • Use physical proximity and eye contact when listening and speaking
  • Acknowledge things children say by continuing the topic with your own comments
  • Share stories about your day’s experiences, humerus encounters, and childhood memories
  • Ask questions that require more than just “yes” or “no”
  • When giving children instructions give and explanations of why they need to do it
  • Read nursery rhymes aloud
  • Encourage conversation between children

Developmental writing-Child’s first attempt at spelling words and composing texts. It is very important because it develops understanding of how words work to communicate meaning.


Oral language comprehension-  Is the ability to speak and listen with understanding. It includes Grammar; word meanings, and listening comprehension.

How reading develops-Through observing and interacting with adults and other children as they use literature in every day activities. Through these experiences children are able to construct their own concepts about the function and structure of print. They discover print is useful and they can engage in meaningful literacy activities.

How writing develops- Through exploring with a pencil, pretending to write, inventing messages, copying of an important word like one’s name, writing labels, messages or special words in favorite story books.

Phases of literacy development

1.Awareness and Exploration (Birth-Preschool)

  • „Child explores their environment and builds foundations for learning to read and write
  • „Child becomes curious about print and print-related activities
  • „Children demonstrate Logographic knowledge by identifying labels, signs, cereal boxes, and other types of Environmental print.
  • Child begins to pretend-read during their preschool years
  • „Child engages in paper-and-pencil activities that include various forms of scribbling and written expression
  • „Children identify some letters and letter-sound relationships and write some letters or approximate letters to represent written language

2.Experimental Reading and Writing  (Kindergarten)

  • „Children experiment with oral and written language
  • „This phase reflects their understanding of basic concepts of print, such as left-to-right, top-to-bottom orientation
  • Children enjoy reading and begin to engage in sustained reading and writing activities
  • „Children continue to recognize letters and letter-sound relationships
  • „Children become familiar with rhyming
  • „Children begin to write letters of the alphabet  and high frequency words

3.Early Reading and Writing (First Grade)

  • „Children begin to read simple stories and can write about topics which they have prior knowledge and strong feelings
  • „They can read and retell familiar stories
  • Begin to develop strategies for comprehension, such as predicting
  • „Writing shows awareness of punctuation and capitalization knowledge
  • „Beginning to develop accurate word identification skills through their increasing knowledge of letter-sound patters
  • „Ability to read with fluency becomes more evident
  • „Recognition of an increasing number of sight words
  • „Begin to engage in writing about topics that are personally meaningful to them

4.Transitional Reading and Writing (Second Grade)

  • „Students read with greater fluency and use cognitive and metacognitive strategies more effectively when comprehending and composing
  • „Children demonstrate an ever-increasing facility with reading and writing in all facets of activity through:
  • Word identification strategies
  • Sight word recognition
  • „Reading fluency
  • Sustained silent reading
  • „Conventional spelling
  • „Proofreading what they have written

5.Independent and Productive Reading and Writing (Third Grade)

  • „3rd grade marks the beginning of their journey into independent and productive learning as they use reading and writing in increasingly more sophisticated ways
  • Extend and refine their literacy skills and strategies
  • Begin to learn how to meet the variety of literacy purposes and audiences they will need to address is various life situations
  • Develop as independent readers and writers

Application to the Classroom

  • Have a rich literacy design for a classroom environment. Have words and letters posted throughout the classroom.
  •  Have centers/areas that encourage creativity and quiet time of children having the ability to work independently or in other situations in a group
    • Book Area
    • Listening Area
    • Computer Area
    • Writing Area