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Experiences that support early language and literacy learning

A great book I recommend for early education professionals to read is “Literacy Beginnings” by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas.  Fountas and Pinnell are well respected educators who have published various books about literacy learning. This book is focused on literacy experiences in the preschool classroom; and as such, can be used as a professional development guide for teachers who want to learn more about this topic.

This post is designed to serve as framework for a PD lesson for early educators who want to dive deeper into the chapters of this book. This post will focus on Chapter 5, titled “Using a Framework for Language and Literacy Learning“.

Read “Literacy Beginnings” – Chapter 5

The chapter starts off talking about essential learning experiences that need to be included in a prekindergarten classroom to support children’s development.  Some of these occur daily, whereas others occur over the course of a week. Activities such as circle time, outdoor play, projects (inquiry), choice time, reading and writing time are explained in this chapter. But then the authors talk about those activities that promote language and literacy.

For our exploration, we will focus on the reading activities that are discussed in this chapter.

Literacy Activities

The authors talk about 3 essential literacy activities: Read-Aloud and Shared Reading, Book activities and Library time.

With an interactive read-aloud, teachers read books to the children and talk with them about the story. Teachers can make the story interactive by asking the children questions, talking about new vocabulary, pointing to the illustrations and encouraging discussion.

Shared reading is when teachers and the children read the text together (using big books, flip chart poems or songs or writing a rhyme on the chalkboard).

Book activities are my personal favorite (usually done after one of the above reading experiences). It was great to read in this chapter how children respond to literature by participating in an activity after reading it. 

Library time is when children have the opportunity to explore the classroom library. The authors have recommendations of ways teachers can setup their libraries, and suggest including books that you have read to the class, in addition to having some written by the children. 

Exploring and Sharing Literacy Activities

After reading this chapter, choose ONE of the literacy activities explored and share a way that it can be incorporated into a preschool classroom. The activity can be one that you researched online, or one that you have actually done in the classroom. For example, if you have an idea for a good interactive read-aloud, please share the book and some of the ways you can make that story interactive. Or if you know of a good book activity to help reinforce a story, please share that.

I setup a Padlet below for teachers to share their ideas.  Just click on the pink plus sign (+) in the padlet below to post your idea (which could be a link, photo, video, text, etc).  I added a couple of examples to get started. Let’s fill it up the page with ideas!

Made with Padlet


ISTE standards addressed:

  • ISTE® 3c: Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks. (Standards•S © 2007 International Society for Technology in Education. ISTE® is a registered trademark of the International Society for Technology in Education)

English Language Arts Standards addressed:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest. (© 2018 Common Core State Standards Initiative)

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