What Young Children Need to Know About Literacy
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the International Reading Association (IRA) (Neuman, Copple, & Bredekamp, 1998) developed a position statement addressing the literacy goals for young children. This statement was to clarify what was appropriate for young children to know and how it should best be taught.
For three- and four-year-olds, the goal is to provide opportunities that allow them to “explore their environment and build the foundations for learning to read and write” (Neuman et al., 1998). In order to accomplish this, children can:
- enjoy listening to and discussing storybooks
- understand that print carries a message
- engage in reading and writing attempts
- identify labels and signs in their environment
- participate in rhyming games
- identify some letter and some letter-sound matches
- use known letters or approximations of letters to represent written language (especially meaningful words like their name, and phrases such as “I love you”)
For five-year-olds, the literacy goals are to “develop basic concepts of print and begin to engage in and experiment with reading and writing” (Neuman et al., 1998). In order to accomplish this, children can:
- enjoy being read to and retell simple narrative stories or informational text
- use descriptive language to explain and explore
- recognize letters and letter sounds
- show familiarity with rhyming and beginning sounds
- understand left-to-right and top-to-bottom orientation and familiar concepts of print
- match spoken words with written words
- begin to write letters of the alphabet and some high-frequency words
Each child is unique and has unique experiences. However, in laying a sound foundation for literacy, young children should have access to the opportunities described by the NAEYC/IRA.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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