Friday, April 3, 2009

Early Literacy

"Children who have not developed basic literacy practices when they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years." -National Adult Literacy Survey, 1993

What is Early Literacy?

Early literacy is what children know about reading and writing before they learn to read and write. This reading readiness begins at birth. The experiences throughout the early years (before starting school) profoundly affect the development of literacy. Research shows that children need to have six basic skills as a foundation prior to learning how to read.

The Six Pre-Reading Skills:

Sue has posted this information earlier in the comments, but here's another overview with Mary Kuehner and Jefferson County Public Library's terminology in purple quotations:
  • Print Motivation "Love Books"- is an interest in and enjoyment of books.
Why is it important?

Children who get pleasure from books will want to read more and will learn to read more easily.

  • Phonological Awareness "Play with Sounds" - is the ability to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words.
Why is it important?

Being able to hear rhymes, beginning sounds, ending sounds, and syllables is critical to later reading success.

  • Vocabulary "Learn New Words" - knowing the names of things.
Why is it important?

Children need to know the meaning of words in order to understand what they are reading. The more words they hear and know, the stronger their reading comprehension.

  • Narrative Skills "Tell Stories" - is the ability to describe things, sequence events, and tell stories.
Why is it important?

Good narrative skills will lead to good comprehension! Writing abilities will be supported as well.

  • Print Awareness "Use Books" - is noticing print everywhere and knowing how books work.
Why is it important?

It relays the message that print is meaningful and that books are made up of words and pictures. We read from front to back and left to right. We hold the book upright and turn pages in order.

  • Letter Knowledge "Know Letters" - knowing letters look different and that each letter has a name and makes sound(s).
Why is it important?

To read written words, children must know how to quickly identify and decode letters.

"According to the National Academy on an Aging Society, 73 billion dollars is estimated annual cost of low literacy skills in the form of longer hospital stays, emergency room visits, more doctor visits, and increased medication."
- "Toward a Literate Nation," Luis Herrera, Public Libraries, Jan/Feb 2004

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