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Emergent Literacy Learning And Teaching Education Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 1915 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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First, with reference to recent theory and research, discuss some of the key ideas underpinning effective emergent literacy teaching. Then select one of the aspects listed above and explain what is involved and how teachers can incorporate the specific knowledge and skills in meaningful and enjoyable ways.

Literacy is the use of language, and for emergent literacy people it is the ability to be able to read, write and comprehend information. As young children begin the emergent literacy teachings they begin to learn and acknowledge that not all children are the same. There are many key ideas underpinning effective emergent literacy teaching which could include multiculturalism within the home and school environment, reading aloud to children and socio-dramatic play all contribute towards a young child’s learning. Print awareness is a vital aspect that a young child needs to understand, because it is a basis that a young child needs to build upon to be able to understand the concepts of reading and writing.

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Multiculturalism at home (socio- cultural)

Australia is a multicultural society. Many young children are brought up with different families from different countries such as African America or indigenous Australians. When it comes to learning how to read and write this all begins at home and through social interaction with the peers within the classroom. The socio-cultural perspective on literacy is that it relates to the importance of cultural practices in the home and in other social groupings such as school and preschool settings. Within this view, some children go to school with experience and attitudes that are closely aligned to what is needed in school literacy context due to prior knowledge. (Fellowes and Oakley, 2010) Effective emergent literacy teachers are able to come and appreciate the importance of finding out about, valuing and building upon literacy practices that occur in the home. For example, young children may speak a different language at home, whereas when the children come to school they are to speak English. This child may not be able to speak English fluently and could be in ESL classes to increase their confidence in learning and speaking the English language. Fellowes and Oakley (2010) state that Barratt- Pugh has 6 elements of socio-cultural view on literacy some ideas presented were children learn about the nature of literacy and how to ‘do’ literacy by participating in a variety of activities within the home and in the community. Another factor that was introduced within Barratt-Pugh which states ‘literacy practices are valued differently, depending on the social and educational context. Multiculturalism within the classroom is important because it allows for children to feel as though they belong. This is because young children are able to realise that they are not all the same. Teachers are able to implement multiculturalism within the classroom by following the curriculum when teaching the students.

Socio-dramatic play

Play is important within young children. This refers to play involving acting out scripts, and plays adopted from cartoons, books or creating their own environment to play such as hospitals and shops (Fellowes and Oakley, 2010). Early childhood environments use socio-dramatic play because young children are active learners and use oral language as they talk to determine the roles that children will play such as a shop keeper and shopper. Young children are able to make the set and write labels to be able to play. This allows children to be able to use their imagination and create their own idea of a shop. (Fellowes and Oakley, 2010) Play relates to literacy because young children are inclined to write shopping lists out and use oral language to talk. Students may use sophisticated language such as ‘hi, how are you today?’ before serving a customer. Play underpins effective emergent literacy teaching because the teacher is rephrasing concepts that the children may have learnt throughout the week. For example, young children may have been learning about words with a specific sound during the week and when they begin to play the teacher could give specific information such as use words that start with ‘S’ in the shop such as spaghetti or salt. The information stated above can be backed up with Vgyotskys theory because it states that it is important for young children to have a social interaction with other peers and adults for the best development of cognition. (Marsh, 2010)

Reading aloud to children

Reading aloud to children helps underpin effective emergent literacy teaching. This provides an ideal context to develop children’s oral language ability and can allow for discussions with the teacher. (Fellowes and Oakley, 2010) By having discussions about the book the children’s oral language is then further discovered. Parents are more inclined to read to their children at home before they go to bed because it is a positive way for children to understand and follow what is happening in books. Even if children are unable to read they will be able to determine what might happen in the book by looking at the pictures. Children that are able to determine the images will be able to follow the story when either a parent or teacher is reading. When teachers read aloud to children they begin by asking the students questions on what they think the story will be about and throughout the story questions like ‘what do you think will happen next?’. (Fellowes and Oakley, 2010) According to Fellowes and Oakley (2010) Cambournes theory of the seven conditions of literacy learning says that ‘children are immersed in oral language from the day they are born. Children also need to be immersed into written language to be able read and write’. Adults and teachers are the peer instructors into teaching children how to read and write. When young children are being read to they are more inclined to understand the concepts of reading. Children that are being read aloud to have a higher chance with being able to read compared to students that do not have an adult reading to them. An effective teacher would be able to acknowledge this and work more with the students that are struggling with reading to bring them to a similar level with other students in the class.

Concepts of print

Print awareness refers to a child’s understanding of the nature and use of print such as understanding a book. Print awareness begins at home at an early age when parents read to their children before they go to bed or any spare time during the day. Within this, the parents may justify that when children read they are to read from left to right. Young children are to understand that within print awareness there is four main points which include: book handling, directionality, concept of word, concept of letter and punctuation. These four things are able to underpin effective emergent literacy teaching because they are able to teach young children the basis or reading to enhance their vocabulary and confidence.

Book handling

Book handling relates to how a book is to be held when reading such as how to open and close a book, how to turn the pages of a book and how to look after a book. Children are generally taught this at home through prior knowledge, if children have not read at home or interacted with books they do not know the right way to look after and handle books. An effective teacher would be able to underpin this by assessing students by watching them when the children have been given a book. A teacher may be able to incorporate this in knowledgeable and enjoyable ways through reading to the children daily and showing the children how to hold and handle a book. By reading to the children daily the children will be able to remember the correct way to hold and handle a book. Skills that children attain from this will be kept with them forever because books are used throughout their entire life.

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According to Fellowes and Oakley (2010) directionality refers to the direction in which books are read such as left to right, top to bottom, and left page to right page. Teachers need to be aware that all children in the class are from different cultures which all could have different reading skills. For example, children from a Chinese background will read from right to left. This could mean that children coming from different cultures to school may read a different way compared to other peers in the class. A teacher can incorporate this into their teaching by reading books to the children regularly but during the reading the teacher may have a pointer or use their fingers to slide across the page to show where the teacher is reading from. This is able to show children the children the correct way to read.

Concept of word

Concept of word refers to the acknowledgment of each words separated by a space and that there is one correspondence between spoken and written words. (Fellowes and Oakley 2010) Within concept of word, young children are to recognise where the print (writing) is on the page and where the illustrations are on the page. Young children should be able to point to words on the page, read their own name, and recognise their name in various formats such as different fonts. (Gately, 2006) An effective teacher can incorporate this into their teaching by scaffolding. In scaffolded writing, students dictate a sentence that they would like to write. The teacher draws a line to represent each of the words that are to be written. Then the student uses the drawn lines to write each word of the sentence. For example, the student may dictate the sentence, “We had lunch.” The teacher draws a line for each of these words: “_____ _____ _____.” After the lines are drawn, the teacher and student point to each line and say out loud each word while tapping the respective lines. This can be done until students are able to remember the words for each line. The students are then to attempt to write each word on a line drawn in the correct order. The focus of an activity like this is to acknowledge were words start and finish. (Gately, 2006)

Young children are active learners. Multiculturalism is a major contributor towards underpinning effective emergent literacy teaching as it is able to recognise the diversity within the classroom. Socio- dramatic play is also a main contributor towards underpinning effective emergent literacy teaching because it allows children to interact and role play different ideas such as shops, this also allows for the children to interact with other students in the class or early childcare centre. Parents and teachers are to read aloud to children because it allows for the children to understand the concept of reading and how to handle and look after books. Concepts of print is an important factor towards young children in emerging literacy because young children should be able to learn how to read and know what the meaning behind words and language skills such as leaving gaps between words. All these things are effective in underpinning effective emergent literacy teaching because it is a wide range of information that can be developed and given to students that are all different within a classroom.


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