Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten

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9780130148285: Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten
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To answer the question of what reading and writing activities are best for young children, a well-known early childhood author has joined forces with a literacy expert to explore the development of literacy in the preschool environment and its ongoing support through kindergarten. The result is a pragmatic, research-based book whose paradigm shift focuses future teachers on the use of “cultural characters” from picture books as the keys to an entire curriculum of literacy activities. Based on the latest theories of naturally emergent literacy, this book examines ways to create a literacy-friendly learning environment, using music and art as natural languages, and even strengthening finger muscles for writing through other hands-on activities. A three-part division of early literacy content—emergent speaking, emergent writing, and emergent reading—devotes three chapters to each section. For future and practicing pre-school and kindergarten teachers.

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About the Author:

Janice J. Beaty, professor emerita, Elmira College, Elmira, New York, is a full-time writer of early childhood college textbooks and a consultant and trainer in early childhood education from her home in Taos, New Mexico. Some of her textbooks include Skills for Preschool Teachers (sixth edition), Observing Development of the Young Child (fifth edition), Building Bridges with Multicultural Picture Books, Prosocial Guidance for the Preschool Child, and Picture Book Storytelling. At present Dr. Beaty is involved in an early literacy mentoring program with Foster Grandparents in schools and Head Start in Central Missouri and with early literacy in Indian Head Start Programs in the Southwest.

Linda Pratt is the executive director of teache~ education and a professor of education at Elmira College. For over 20 years she has be , teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy education and has been directing the graduate program in teaching literacy, with her primary teaching interest being literacy acquisition and development. Dr. Pratt has given presentations on literacy in the United States as well as in Asia, the Bahamas and Caribbean, Canada, Europe, and South America. She and Dr. Beaty have also coauthored the textbook Transcultural Children's Literature (Merrill/Prentice Hall).

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Here is the textbook early childhood educators have been waiting for. While most early literacy texts treat preschool learning in a chapter or two, this entire text focuses on early literacy in the preschool, leading up to what is expected in kindergarten. Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten presents a unique approach to exploring literacy with preschool and kindergarten children. The current recognition that learning to read and write can emerge naturally in young children when supported by appropriate teaching methods and materials has led the authors to develop a fresh approach by using classroom learning centers, children's literature, and "cultural characters" to involve children in their own learning.

We now know that literacy begins at birth. Right from the start infants try to communicate with those around them through crying and cooing, smiling, and babbling. As toddlers, they pay close attention to their caregivers, striving to imitate the sounds they hear. By the time they are preschoolers, ages 3 through 5, young children are fully engaged in emerging into early literacy: listening, speaking, and exploring their own experimental reading and writing. By kindergarten, they are ready for more formal instruction in reading and writing while continuing their own natural emergence.

To support such development, this text presents ideas to involve teachers, student teachers, and their children in a unique "cultural character early literacy method" that uses children's picture books as lead-ins to activities for engaging children in speaking, listening, writing, and reading. These books introduce children to the multicultural world around them in a meaningful way through cultural book characters children can identify with—such as Suki, the Asian American girl who worries about whether her mother will remember to pick her up at the day care center in Will You Come Back for Me?; the Caribbean boy in Hue Boy who tries desperately to grow taller but can't seem to do it until his father returns; or the Anglo girl Anna and her Navajo friend Juanita, who build the biggest bridge in preschool when they finally put their blocks together in Building a Bridge.

Teachers and student teachers learn to use puppets, dolls, character cutouts, chopsticks, unit blocks, drums, painting and weaving, tape recorders, computers, role plays, flannelboards, and story reenactments to bring these book characters to life. Children take it from there, converting their adventures with these multicultural characters into accomplishments in speaking and listening, mock writing, book making, and storytelling, to name a few.

The text is divided into four parts: Part 1, "Getting Started with Early Literacy," which defines the cultural character approach and helps teachers choose picture books with exciting cultural characters that can lead children into literacy activities; part 2, "Emergent Speaking," with chapters on the foundations of early literacy, music as a natural language, and speaking and listening in prescho9l; part 3, "Emergent Writing," with chapters on developing eye-hand coordination, art as a natural language, and becoming a writer; and part 4, "Emergent Reading;" with chapters on how reading emerges, the home book experience, and becoming a reader in kindergarten. A topical book index from Acceptance and Adoption to Worry and Writing helps readers choose from among the 200 books described in this text. Making plans for children with curriculum webs and using accomplishment cards to evaluate individual gains give teachers powerful new tools to integrate cultural education into every curriculum area.

Both teachers and student teachers can implement this approach with ease using helpful checklists such as "Choosing Cultural Character Picture Books," "Learning Center Checklist," "Spoken Language Checklist," "Eye-Hand Coordination Checklist," "Preschool Writing Behaviors Checklist," "Preschool Reading Behaviors Checklist," and "Choosing Predictable Cultural Character Books." In total 93 engaging cultural characters from 24 different cultures shown in 200 current picture books are presented. Acquiring the books is made easy through the bookstores, publishers, and Web sites listed or inexpensively with the 60 paperback books listed from Scholastic in appendix A.

Much of the information in this text has never before appeared in print, including many of the ideas for using cultural characters to lead children into literacy activities, as well as the in-depth survey of types of reading instruction used in kindergartens across the country. The information presented has been carefully researched. The photographs of children using cultural characters in literacy activities should stimulate even more original ideas by readers. Altogether Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten should help teachers and student teachers to solve the problems of "What kinds of reading and writing activities are really appropriate for such young children?" and "How do I go about implementing them successfully?"

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9780137056989: Early Literacy in Preschool and Kindergarten (3rd Edition)

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ISBN 10:  0137056982 ISBN 13:  9780137056989
Publisher: Pearson, 2010

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