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In This Issue
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Get Caught Reading Month


 
May is "Get Caught Reading Month", so it is the perfect time to review some basic concepts and strategies for promoting early reading skills. The early years are absolutely critical for literacy development, but the sad fact is that many children will struggle with reading and academics the rest of their lives as a result of skills and knowledge they did not develop during the early years. The good news is that there are many proven strategies and methods early childhood educators can use every day to help boost children's early literacy skills. The term early literacy refers to the skills and knowledge young children learn prior to actually learning to read. Before they experience formal reading instruction, young children spend the first five or six years of life gradually building up a basic set of early literacy skills. 

When working with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, the primary focus should be on language and vocabulary development, as opposed to letter sounds and symbols. Research shows that by third grade (age 8) most children will learn to decode ("sound out") the written word. However, many of those same children will have trouble comprehending what they are reading. In other words, they may be able to "read" the words, but they won't necessarily be able to understand them because they lack adequate vocabulary and background knowledge.

Future success in reading, not to mention high academic achievement, depends to a large extent on a child's language experiences during early childhood. It is impressive to meet a child in pre-K who already knows how to read. However, actually learning to read is definitely not the main goal of early literacy efforts. There is more to reading than the ability to decipher, or decode, the written symbols of the alphabet.

Typically, the bigger a child's vocabulary, the easier it will be for that child to develop reading fluency. To develop a broad vocabulary, a child needs exposure to a wide variety of topics and forms of language. He or she also needs lots of practice using all those words! And because young children learn mostly through hearing and by imitating others, the adults in a child's life are responsible for giving the child the opportunity to develop a powerful working vocabulary.

Above all, remember that all young children are different and develop at different paces, but all children need to experience frequent, rich verbal interactions with the adults in their lives. Talk to children and encourage them to talk to you. Use a broad vocabulary, including words that young children are unlikely to know.
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What We Know About Early Literacy and Language Development
 
Article Courtesy of zerotothree.com
 
Early language and literacy (reading and writing) development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. The interactions that young children have with such literacy materials as books, paper, and crayons, and with the adults in their lives are the building blocks for language, reading and writing development. This relatively new understanding of early literacy development complements the current research supporting the critical role of early experiences in shaping brain development.
 
View Article 
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Someone's Been Sleeping in My Bed! Supporting Emerging Literacy
 
Article Courtesy of Earlychildhood NEWS

Jennifer, a preschool teacher, had finished reading the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to her class. It was now free play time, and Jennifer watched the children as they spontaneously extended the plot of the story into the classroom. In the kitchen area David and Kenzo were "making a big batch of porridge." Carlos built "baby bear's chair" out of blocks, and then sat on it so that it collapsed. Later, at nap time, David was overheard to say in a deep, father bear voice, "Someone's been sleeping in my bed!" 
 
  View Article  
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This Month's Trial Course: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun
 
CCEI offers LIT100: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun as an online child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of May. 
 
Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEUs upon successful completion. CCEI professional development courses are available to account holders with an active, annual individual or center-based subscription, or can be purchased individually.
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