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Literacy for Young Children

Literacy for Young Children
A Guide for Early Childhood Educators

March 2008 | 256 pages | Corwin
This resource presents assessment and instructional activities that are evidence based, practical, and easy to implement. This comprehensive text demonstrates how to link assessment and instruction practices for every component of literacy learning and helps teachers become informed decision makers about purposeful literacy instruction. Addressing the Early Reading First areas of phonological awareness, print knowledge, and language development, the book also covers parent involvement, integrated curriculum, and suggestions for working with children with special needs and English language learners. Using vignettes of four children representing diverse backgrounds, the authors weave together theory and practice and describe how instructional strategies are implemented in classroom settings. Each chapter contains figures and graphic organizers and includes sections on instructional strategies, assessment, and diversity
About the Authors
Introduction: Why Early Literacy?
Early Reading First

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Overview of This Book

Chapter 1. Children's Development and Literacy Learning
How Children Develop and Learn

Child Development: The Foundation for Literacy

Introducing Rebecca, Juan, Michael, and Annie

Foundations for Learning to Read

Supportive Classroom Environments


Chapter 2. Language Development and Diversity
Role of Oral Language in Literacy Development

What Does Research Say About How Children Acquire Language?

Benchmarks of Oral Language Development for Preschool Children

Assessing Oral Language Development

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Oral Language Development

Language Diversity


Chapter 3. Phonological Awareness Development in Preschool Children
What Is Phonological Awareness and What Is Its Role in Literacy Development?

What does Research Say About How Children Acquire Phonological Awareness?

Indicators of Children's Development of Phonological Awareness

Assessing Phonological Awareness

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Phonological Awareness

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 4. Alphabetic Principle
What Is the Alphabetic Principle and What is Its Role in Literacy Development?

What Does Research Tell Us About the Alphabetic Principle?

Assessing the Alphabetic Principle

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Understanding of the Alphabetic Principle

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 5. Writing
How Are Reading and Writing Connected in Early Literacy Development?

What Does Research Say About Emergent Writing Development?

Assessing Writing

Research-Based Instructional Strategies to Support Emergent Writing

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 6. Comprehension: Making Meaning
What Is Comprehension?

What Helps Children Comprehend?

Assessing Comprehension

Research-Based Instructional Strategies

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 7. Sharing Books With Children
The Importance of Book Sharing for Children's Early Literacy Development

What Does Research Say About Storybook Reading With Children?

Selecting High-Quality Children's Literature

Developing Classroom Libraries

Research-Based Instructional Strategies for Sharing Books With Children

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 8. Integrating Literacy Across the Curriculum
Integrated Curriculum

Planning an Integrated Unit


Chapter 9. Literacy in the Real World
Language and Literacy in Communities

Infusing Home and Community Literacy in the Classroom


Chapter 10. Helping Parents Facilitate Children's Literacy at Home
Why Parents Become Involved

Parental Beliefs

Types of Parental Involvement

Why Parental Involvement?


Chapter 11. Bringing It All Together
Preschool Programs Make a Difference

The Physical Environment

The Interactional Environment

Assessing Your Literacy and Language Environment

Planning Whole and Half Day Programs


Children's Books Referenced

Additional Resources for Teachers
Helpful Websites


"A comprehensive and comprehensible book that provides a framework for a productive, engaging, literacy-developing classroom. This text provides a complete schema to support and enable novice teachers and affirm the experienced teacher with an overview for developing literacy in early childhood."

Judy A. Leavell, Associate Professor
St. Edward’s University

"Griffith and her colleagues have written a valuable book for literacy instructors. The attention to detail and the inclusion of research-based instructional strategies will make this book an excellent resource for all teachers and coaches in grades preK and K."

Ruth Short, Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee

"This book merges the five big ideas in reading with developmentally appropriate practice to create a practical guide that will enhance literacy development in any type of preschool setting. The references, resources, and examples will help teachers bring these ideas to life in their classrooms."

Addie Gaines, Principal
Kirbyville Elementary School, MO

"A great resource for any early childhood teacher! The book provides concrete examples of how to implement best practices in an early childhood classroom. By connecting all the big ideas in literacy, the authors have set a standard for best practice!"

Emma McGee Barnes, Literacy Facilitator
Hawk Ridge Elementary School, Charlotte, NC

"This clear, concise text allows the reader a look into the classroom and an opportunity to relate to students and teachers in specific and meaningful ways to address literacy and its many important parts."

Teresa P. Cunningham, Principal
Laurel Elementary School, Laurel Bloomery, TN

"A major strength of this book is the focus on addressing the needs of each child as an individual, supporting his or her literacy development through both the physical and the interactional environment. I look forward to using this book in my literacy methods courses."

Elizabeth Willner, Associate Professor
Oklahoma City University

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

Priscilla L. Griffith

Priscilla L. Griffith is the Ruth G. Hardman Chair in Education and a Professor in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches undergraduate and graduate level literacy education courses. Priscilla has worked in language and literacy, and teacher education for over three decades. She has applied her expertise in these areas as an editor of professional journals including The Reading Teacher and Action in Teacher Education, as a consultant for school districts, and as a classroom teacher. She has worked with Pre-K teachers in Early Reading First classrooms. In addition,... More About Author

Sara Ann Beach

Sara Ann (Sally) Beach is a professor of literacy education at the University of Oklahoma where she is coordinator of the reading program and teaches undergraduate and graduate literacy courses. Her professional experiences include teaching children from kindergarten through fifth grade and teaching teachers around the world to use reading and writing as a tool for thinking. Beach has worked with preschool teachers on Early Childhood Professional Educator and Early Reading First grants. Her research focuses on children’s development as literate people and the classrooms that provide opportunities students to become critically literate.... More About Author

Jiening Ruan

Jiening Ruan is associate professor of reading/literacy education in the College of Education at the University of Oklahoma, where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in reading and literacy education. She also directs the University of Oklahoma’s Reading Clinic and Reading Specialist Certification Program. Ruan’s research interests focus on literacy development of children from diverse backgrounds and on the effectiveness of technology integration in literacy education. Ruan holds master’s degrees in elementary education and in reading education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in curriculum and... More About Author

A. Loraine Dunn

Loraine Dunn is a professor in early childhood education at the University of Oklahoma where she teaches early childhood classes, oversees the child development laboratory, and makes student teaching placements. Her research has focused on child care program quality, developmentally appropriate practice, and children’s learning and development. Recently, Dunn served on a team that developed the Early Steps to Literacy project funded by an Early Childhood Educator Professional Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Dunn began her career teaching in a child care center serving children living in poverty. She later served as... More About Author

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