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In This Issue
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Early Literacy Skills

 
Early reading skills are crucial to the development and growth of young children in the early care environment. There are many factors at play when it comes to building literacy and reading skills in young children. Not all children develop reading skills at the same time in their early lives. There are social and cultural forces at play, such as the fact that children with highly educated parents tend to develop language and literacy skills more readily, not because of genetic factors, but simply because of the kinds of learning experiences and vocabulary they are exposed to during early childhood. It is the job of early childhood educators to teach children the pre-reading and reading skills necessary to succeed in school and in life.

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 to 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. During early childhood, it's more important to focus on the characteristics of fluent readers, not just which letters make which sounds.

One proven and effective method for vocabulary and language development is reading aloud. Read-alouds provide an essential tool for promoting essential early literacy skills. A good read-aloud is a process that includes pre-reading, during reading, and after-reading strategies that promote comprehension and interpretation, helping children to engage with the text, build literary language and background knowledge, and make meaningful connections. Along the way, good read-aloud strategies promote oral communication skills and an appreciation for learning and exploring all that books have to offer.

Reading experts at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development point to six early literacy areas where childcare providers need to focus:

Vocabulary: The more words a child understands and uses, the more likely that child is to become a strong reader. 

Narrative Skills: The ability to understand and tell stories is extremely helpful to children as they learn to read and interpret simple books. 

Phonological Awareness: The ability to hear and manipulate word parts. For example, a young child who can think of 5 words that rhyme with cat has good phonological awareness-he understands the connection between rhyming words.

Print Awareness: This involves the understanding that printed words are used to express important meaning throughout our society. 

Print Motivation: This is, quite simply, a love for books, or for learning in general. This begins with a child's understanding that book time is a special and important time.

Letter Knowledge: There is more to letter knowledge than being able to recite the ABC song flawlessly. Letter knowledge involves the understanding that letters are different and that each letter makes a sound. 

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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Building Literacy 
Article Courtesy of getreadytoread.org.  
 
It is critical to help young children be ready for school by working with them to develop early literacy and learning skills. Because strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects, it is important to identify those who struggle with reading as early as possible. Children who have been read to at home come to school with important early literacy skills. They are prepared to learn to read and write. Children who have not had many experiences listening to books read aloud or talking about books typically start school with poor early literacy skills.
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Early Literacy: What We Know 
Article Courtesy of zerotothree.org

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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The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) and CCEI Announce Partnership  

 
 
Effective immediately, CCEI is the official host of the new Online National Administrator Credential (NAC). The CCEI Online NECPA National Administrator Credential® (NAC)® is approved by the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA) to provide Directors and early childhood professionals the required clock hours of training needed to obtain the National Administrator Credential. The program is broken into ten instructional units. These units focus on the ten areas of competency required to manage a child care center. Each student in the Online National Administrator Credential certificate program receives support from an Education Coach (EC). Each EC is an Early Childhood specialist and has previous experience as an administrator in a child care center, school, or early childhood environment. Learn More 
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This Month's Trial Course: The Read-Aloud Process  
 
CCEI offers Lit101: The Read-Aloud Process: Building the Components of Literacy as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of October. 

This course is about the preparation and skills a teacher needs in order to ensure that read-alouds in the early childhood environment accomplish the literacy building goals of a good early childhood curriculum. One of the jobs as an early childhood educator is to teach children the pre-reading and reading skills necessary to succeed in school and life. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will be able to identify ways to promote phonological awareness through read-alouds, define and identify benefits of the "read-aloud process", identify recommended teacher preparation strategies and good in-class pre-reading activities, and much more.
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