Observation Guidelines: Assessing Emergent Literacy in Young Children (page 2)
Attitudes Toward Books
- Frequent manipulation and perusal of books
- Interest and attentiveness when adults read storybooks
- Eagerness to talk about stories that are read
Martina often mentions the Berenstain Bears books that her father reads to her at home.
Devote a regular time to storybook reading, choose books with colorful pictures and imaginative story lines, and occasionally stop to discuss and interpret characters and events in a story. Make regular trips to the library.
Behaviors with Books
- Correct handling of books (e.g., holding them right-side up, turning pages in the appropriate direction)
- Pretend reading
- Use of picture content or memory of the story to construct a logical sequence of events when pretending to read
- Asking “What does this say?” about particular sections of text
Rusty doesn’t seem to know what to do with the books in his preschool classroom. He opens them haphazardly and apparently sees nothing wrong with ripping out pages.
If children have had only limited experience with books, occasionally read one-on-one with them. Let them hold the books and turn the pages. Ask them to make predictions about what might happen next in a story.
- Recognition of product names when they appear in logos and other familiar contexts
- Recognition of own name in print
Katherine sees a take-out bag from a local fast-food restaurant and correctly asserts that it says “Burger King.”
Prominently label any coat hooks, storage boxes, and other items that belong to individual children. Write children’s names in large letters on paper and encourage them to trace or copy the letters. When children are ready, ask them to put their first name (or first initial) on their artwork.
- Production of letterlike shapes
- Writing in a left-to-right sequence
- Ability to write some letters correctly or almost correctly
- Ability to write own name
Hank can write his name, but he frequently reverses the N and sometimes leaves it out altogether.
Give children numerous opportunities to experiment with writing implements (paper, crayons, markers, pencils, etc.) in both structured tasks and unstructured situations. Guide letter and word formation when children show an interest.
Knowledge About the Nature and Purposes of Written Language
- Awareness that specific words are always spelled in the same way
- Correct identification of telephone books, calendars, and other reference materials
- Pretend writing for particular purposes
When Shakira and Lucie pretend to grocery shop, they write several lines of squiggles on a piece of paper. They say that this is a list of items they need to get at the store.
Encourage play activities that involve pretend writing (e.g., writing and delivering “letters” to friends or classmates). Let children see you engaging in a wide variety of reading and writing activities.
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