Sunday, May 20, 2018

Early literacy.


Early literacy research states that:

• Early literacy development is a continuous developmental process that begins in the early years;
• Early literacy skills develop in real-life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people.
Therefore a broad, deep and rich curriculum as advocated should ensure an environmentally rich literacy context, which gives children many opportunities for:
• Movement and developmentally appropriate experiences of both large and fine motor skills;
• Exploration of three dimensional props and books; and
• Real experiences of books, rhymes .

The development of early language and literacy begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child's earliest experiences with books and stories. Young children come into contact with a range of materials including books, paper, and crayons. Together with the adults in their lives they are the important building blocks for language, reading and writing development. Current research demonstrates the critical role of these early experiences in shaping brain development. 

For our students who have complications in the early years, whether that be medical issues, complex family dynamics or other situation that have limited the normal development of language we need to find ways to build on their language development. Opportunity is needed to build their developmental stages and experiences before we expect these learners to gain an understanding of formal literacy.

Learning to communicate and to read has changed dramatically and most recently due to digital technology. Vygotsky (1987) states that learning is a social phenomenon and emphasises that the learner must be involved in the whole activity as a meaningful context rather than discrete parts. This view supports the holistic approach to learning literacy based upon the fundamental assumption that reading and writing are learnt from whole to part (Goodman, 1986); (Goodman and Goodman, 1979). Learners should understand and experience the purposes and functions of language before learning to manipulate its constituent parts. Oral and written language have to be learned in meaningful and enjoyable circumstances, and thus children construct language as they use it. So in holistic approaches the child has the lead and the approaches vary between individuals in multiple contexts and via multiple interpretations. Harste et al., (1984), Cambourne and Turbill (1987) suggest that certain conditions support this approach with children, such as immersion in print, demonstration of how print and books are used, and encouraging children to explore through approximate and practical ways of using reading and writing meaningfully whilst giving supportive and instructive feedback.

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