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The Root is Love Group

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Ryan Mitchell
Ryan Mitchell

Emergent Literacy And Language Development: Pro... ##TOP##


Purpose: This study examined the efficacy of a professional development program for early childhood educators that facilitated emergent literacy skills in preschoolers. The program, led by a speech-language pathologist, focused on teaching alphabet knowledge, print concepts, sound awareness, and decontextualized oral language within naturally occurring classroom interactions.




Emergent Literacy and Language Development: Pro...



Conclusion: These findings suggest that professional development provided by a speech-language pathologist can yield short-term changes in the facilitation of emergent literacy skills in early childhood settings. Future research is needed to determine the impact of this program on the children's long-term development of conventional literacy skills.


Recently the Florida legislature passed House Bills 7011 and 419 requiring that all Florida VPK instructors complete three 5-hour emergent literacy courses and a student performance standards training course approved by the Division of Early Learning by July 1, 2022. The courses in the following link meet these training requirements,


The goal of emergent literacy instruction is to teach the building blocks that will, in later grades, provide children the foundation needed to become proficient readers, writers, and communicators. Emergent literacy building blocks, or skills, include print knowledge, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and oral language. Preschoolers who learn these skills are less likely to develop future reading problems and more likely to read with ease, understand what they read, and succeed in school.


The Regional Educational Laboratory Program website provides multiple resources for educators and leaders to engage in a professional learning model focused on the four emergent literacy building blocks that are evidence-based, collaborative, and practice-relevant.


As early childhood education moves front and center in the public policy debate, more attention is being paid to early literacy. Early childhood professionals have long recognized the importance of language and literacy in preparing children to succeed in school. Early literacy plays a key role in enabling the kind of early learning experiences that research shows are linked with academic achievement, reduced grade retention, higher graduation rates and enhanced productivity in adult life. This report synthesizes the body of professional knowledge about early literacy and offers research-based recommendations.


How young children acquire early literacy and its oral language foundation has gained the attention of educators and policymakers. Research establishes four major principles of early literacy acquisition:


Learning to read and write is an ongoing process from infancy. Contrary to popular belief, it does not suddenly begin in kindergarten or first grade. From the earliest years, everything that adults do to support children's language and literacy is critical.


One national effort to produce early language and literacy standards is the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Performance Criteria for early childhood programs. These standards provide guidelines for the content that children are learning, the planned activities linked to these goals, the daily schedule and routines and the availability and use of materials for children.


Because oral language and literacy are so highly interrelated, the National Center on Education and the Economy produced a comprehensive standards document on speaking and listening for preschool through third grade to accompany a previously published document that only focused on standards for reading and writing.13


Although most educators and policy makers agree that a strong start in early literacy is critical, there is less agreement about how this is best accomplished. A major concern is ensuring that the curriculum addresses the overall learning and growth of the young child by continuing to stress the physical, social, emotional, and overall cognitive development of children and at the same time, strengthening the academic curriculum. Some express concern about what they perceive as an over-emphasis on early literacy and the creation of a curriculum imbalance. They caution against early literacy curricula that focus too narrowly on literacy skills and neglect consideration for all the domains of development that interact to promote children's personal and academic growth. Indeed, the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and language development of young children are actually major factors that influence early literacy development.16


In the area of literacy, both federal and state expectations have emphasized evidence-based practice to guide curriculum adoption and the evaluation of curriculum effectiveness. Evidence must be grounded in scientifically based research, a term used across a variety of fields that requires the application of systematic and objective procedures to obtain information to address important questions in a particular field. It is an attempt to ensure that those who use the research can have a high degree of confidence that it is valid and dependable. Whether a curriculum is homegrown or commercially prepared, those who develop and use it are expected to support their claims with a research base. Key components of an early literacy curriculum grounded in evidence- based early literacy research include: (1) oral language development, which includes vocabulary and listening; (2) an understanding of the alphabetic code, which includes phonological/phonemic awareness and knowledge of the alphabet; and (3) knowledge and understanding about print and its use.


Oral Language. Oral language develops concurrently with literacy development, and it includes listening comprehension, verbal expression, and vocabulary development. Oral language development is facilitated when children have many opportunities to use language in interactions with adults and each other and when they listen and respond to stories. Young children build vocabulary when they engage in activities that are cognitively and linguistically stimulating by encouraging them to describe events and build background knowledge.


Children should be immersed in language-rich environments in order to develop phonological awareness and similarly, it would be difficult to master the ABCs without lots of exposure to the alphabet (in books, on blocks, on refrigerator magnets, in cereal, in soup, in attempts to write, in having their messages written for them, etc.). Knowledge of the ABCs and phonological awareness do not usually just happen from exposure for most children, however. Parents, teachers, and older siblings often intentionally teach children the alphabet, and studies have shown that it is possible to teach phonological awareness to preschoolers and kindergarten children in ways that do not interfere with a comprehensive and rich curriculum focus but do improve later literacy.17


Studies of the relationship between early literacy development and school achievement have had a profound impact on the early literacy curriculum as an intervention process for children considered to be at risk for failure. Risk factors include exhibiting a developmental disability (e.g. oral language impairment, mental retardation, hearing impairment), having a parent with a history of a reading disability, speaking a language or dialect that differs from the local academic curriculum, and/or living in a household in which experiences with oral and written language are infrequent.18 For children in such circumstances, a preventive intervention may be required to encourage timely attainment of the skills and abilities needed for later school readiness and achievement.


Issues related to a child's linguistic and cultural background represent a continuing and growing challenge for early literacy educators and curriculum developers. Latinos, for example, are now the largest minority group in the countrya group that is growing at a faster rate than the population as a whole.19 Even for many Englishspeaking children, the school language (or dialect) and culture may differ greatly from that of their homes. Teachers of young children need to keep in mind that a child's prekindergarten classroom may be the first setting of sustained contact with a new culture and will help set the stage for early success or failure with formal schooling.20 Effective educators seek to learn as much as they can about the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the children.Whenever practical, programs specifically focus on the development of both English and the child's home language. In general, the curriculum is implemented in ways that foster respect for what children bring to the learning situation and provide continuity between the child's experiences at home and those within the early childhood program.


The need for highly capable teachers is a constant theme in the literature on early childhood education. This is particularly true in the area of early literacy. National reports and government mandates have raised expectations for the formal education and training of early childhood teachers, especially in Head Start and in statefunded prekindergarten programs.23 Today's early childhood teachers are expected to implement a more challenging and effective curriculum in language and literacy and to assess and document progress in increasingly complex ways.24 Rising expectations coupled with an expanding number of early childhood programs have led to a major crisis in staffing, both in terms of the number of early childhood teachers and in the quality of their preparation. In response, several states have established P-3 (prekindergarten through third grade) certification programs and launched incentive efforts to encourage teachers and caregivers to upgrade and expand their knowledge and skills.


Whether pre-service or in-service, the demands regarding what early childhood teachers need to know and do have changed dramatically. Described in broad terms, teachers of young children need to know the importance of oral language competencies, early literacy experiences and family literacy in learning to read. They need to be able to foster a wide range of language and literacy related dispositions and competencies, including a love of literacy and the development of vocabulary, oral language abilities, phonological awareness, and print-related knowledge. They must be able to use a variety of instructional methods that are age and developmentally appropriate and have the ability to adjust those methods to the specific needs of individuals. They must be skilled in the ability to use multiple methods of monitoring children's literacy development and interpreting assessments in order to make sound instructional decisions. 041b061a72


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