Early Reading

Early reading
"A person's a person no matter how small"- Dr. Seuss


30 Read Aloud Do’s by Jim Trelease

 12 Read Aloud DON'Ts by Jim Trelease
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Early Readers' Literacy Acquisition 

by Tina Winkle


There are many critical issues concerning early readers’ individual differences in literacy acquisition.
The following are recommendations to address the critical issue of concepts of print.

Critical Issue: Students need to construct concepts of print: words are made up of letters, sentences are made up of words, reading goes from left to right and top to bottom.

Recommendation 1: Use shared reading.
An excellent way to help students construct concepts of print (words are made up of letters, sentences are made up of words, reading goes from left to right and top to bottom, etc.) and other essential understandings is the shared book experience, also known as shared reading(Gunning, 2010, p. 136).
When using the shared book experience, print must be visible to all students. Use a big book, a document projector, an overhead projector, story paper, or the chalkboard to display the text of the story (Gunning, 2010). 

The following are suggested steps for using shared reading with your students:

1. Introducing the Book
- Read the title, author, and illustrator. Discuss each.
- Have students make predictions about the story.
- Look through the story, focus only on pictures and ask students what they see and what they think is happening.
2. During Reading
- Read straight through without stopping if reading the book for the first time. The main purpose is for students to enjoy the book.
- Point to words as you read.
- For a second reading, pause, revise predictions, and ask questions if appropriate.
- If reading for the second time or more, children may read along.
3. After Reading
- After reading twice, work on specific skills:

  • Book characteristics and concepts of print
  • Comprehension skills; ask questions- including higher order questions
  • Reading strategies
  • Any other skills- sight words, phonics, rhyming words, ending sounds of words etc. (Gunning, 2010)

The Reading Rocket website gives the following reasons why teachers should use shared reading:

  • It provides struggling readers with necessary support.
  • Shared reading of predictable text can build sight word knowledge and reading fluency
  • Allows students to enjoy materials that they may not be able to read on their own.
  • Ensures that all students feel successful by providing support to the entire group. (2012)

URL for further reading about shared reading: http://www.hubbardscupboard.org/shared_reading.html

Recommendation 2: Use Environmental Print.
1. Make an environmental print word wall using food labels and categorize them by beginning letter.
2. Have children create their own environmental print labels for the classroom.
3. Create environmental print puzzles using cereal, cookie or other types of cardboard boxes.

  • Environmental print is the first print that children recognize.
  • It helps them connect the knowledge that print can convey meaning.

Recommendation 3: Use strategic writing experiences.
Writing is an integral part to the development of literacy skills in early childhood. Reading and writing are symbiotic.
1. Allow students to "free write" in their journals.
2. Have students reflect on their reading by writing.
3. Incorporate writing into literacy centers

All centers should have a variety of reading and writing materials for students to use.

  • Grocery store--creating signs, writing lists or checks
  • Bank--writing deposit slips and checks
  • Doctor's office--writing prescriptions, appointments, and bills
  • Restaurant--creating signs, writing grocery lists, orders, and receipts
  • Post office--writing letters, addressing envelopes, making stamps, mailing items
(Gunning, 2010, referring to Christie, 1990)

The Types of Writing

  • Modeled--Teacher chooses text and writes in front of children.
  • Interactive--Teacher and children share the writing experience, sharing the pen.
  • Shared/Dictation--Children choose the text and the teacher writes their words.
  • Independent--Children write independently.
(Sloane, 2012).

URL for further reading about writing:


Benson, H.S. (July 2004). Emergent writing. Retrieved
from http://www.pbs.org/teachers/earlychildhood/articles/emergentwriting.html .

Christie, J. F. (1990). Dramatic play: A context for meaningful engagements. The Reading Teacher, 43, 542–545.

Gunning, T. G. (2010). Creating literacy instruction for all students (7th ed.).Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Kirkland, L, Aldridge, J., Kuby, P. (2007). Integrating environmental print across the curriculum, pre-k -3: Making Literacy Meaningful. Cowrin
Press. Thousand Oaks, CA.

Reading Rockets. WETA. (2012). Shared reading. Retrieved from http://www.readingrockets.org/strategies/shared_reading/

Sloane, Shari. (2012). Proceedings from SDE Kindergarten Conference: How to make writing with Kindergartners easy and enjoyable.
Norman, OK:Staff Development for Educators.

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