Friday, September 30, 2011

Language Interpretation

According to Judith Wells Lindfors author of Children’s Language, oral language is the child’s first expressive system in these early years, so most of the findings relate to oral language. Children have been immersed in a sea of language that has provided literally millions of opportunities to observe how competent speakers use language and to engage in doing it themselves, however they are able to – through facial expression, gesture, word, word-combinations. Children observe and notice patterns in language.
Whether it’s an infant and mother having a conversation about their day or a five year old and his teacher reading books, they are using language to express themselves and communicate with others. Language is everywhere and children are listening, learning, dissecting, interpreting, and figuring out how they will use it themselves. The way children use language is unique and personal to them.  So if you think you child is making nonsense sounds such as babbling, think again. They have been watching and listening to you use language and they are trying to use it with you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interpreting Environmental Print

Hello Parents! A new topic for discussion this week is environmental print. It is everywhere. How many times have you been driving down the road with your child and they see a McDonald’s sign and scream, “I want a happy meal! Please, please, please can we go?” You didn’t mention McDonald’s or anything it serves, but somehow your child knows that you have driven by there. This is environmental print. They are reading the environment around them and interpreting it in many ways. They see the sign and know that it has something they like. Whether they may not know how to read yet, but there are many signs and symbols that your child can read and know what it says without knowing how to spell it or even what letters it contains. This is another aspect to understanding that your children know more about language than we think they do. Before your children entered my classroom they already knew a whole lot reading, writing and language. They read street signs, labels on cans and cereal boxes, advertisements, buildings, etc.  Before your children learn the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, your children can read and interpret language. Before they can understand the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make, they need to understand the abstract. They need to analyze objects and interpret them in their own ways first to be able to understand apple starts with the letter “a” and makes a long “a” sound. Throughout the year we are going to be focusing on interpreting what we already know in order to better understand written language and learn how to read and write like adults. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Creating a home away from home

Hello Parents! I hope you all enjoyed the first week back with your children. I loved getting to know each and everyone of your children and I think we are going to have a fabulous year together.  I want to encourage parents to communicate with me about anything throughout the year, whether it is about your child or concerns in general.  I want to establish good relationships with all my parents, so please feel free to contact me anytime. Together we can create the best learning environment for your children.
            Another piece of information I would like to share with you is about your child’s cultural background. If your child is fluent in another language I encourage you to share with the rest of the class some words that might be helpful for not only your child, but other classmates as well. We can post words around our classroom on our everyday objects to enrich the student’s lives about other cultures. It’s a way to bring your child’s home life into the classroom. It may make them feel more comfortable to see that they can share the way they communicate at home with others. If you have books at home in your native language please feel free to share them with the class as well. I cannot stress enough how much we are going to read, read, read this year!
Your children are smart, unique little individuals eager to learn and grow. Read tons of books with your child everyday! Children love to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Nothing is more beneficial than creating a nightly ritual of sharing bedtime stories with your child. This sweet and intimate time will foster a love of reading and literacy that is shared between you and your child. Before long, you will no longer be doing the reading! What a wonderful time to experience together with your child.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Remembering Critical Lessons in Early Literacy Research: A Transactional Perspective

Welcome parents! I hope everyone enjoyed their summers. Let’s leap into the new school year together. Your child will be spending tons of time in our room. We will call it our “home away from home.” I hope our days inside the classroom are filled with lots of new, exciting adventures and laughter. We will learn through play. We will be heavily focused on reading. Early literacy development is a very part of a child’s learning journey.  Learning begins long before a child enters the classroom. A research article entitled “Remember Critical Lessons in Early Literacy Research: A Transactional Perspective” discusses three main aspects of early literacy of young children. The main aspects are literacy is individual, literacy is social and literacy is a cultural practice.
Children create their own form of literacy at a very young age based on what they hear and learn from adults, peers, family, etc... Children have their own language and form of communication that is individual and unique to them that contributes to their literacy development. Children learn and grow through a community of peers and family. They communicate with symbols and multiple means of representation to get their point across. Play is a huge part of children growth and development. Children's cultural experiences play a part in their literacy development. Family stories and cultural upbringings are an important part in how children develop language and learn how to read.
While working in a daycare, I have watched many infant and toddlers recite in their own way a story that has been read to them over and over again. They know what comes next in a story; they can repeat moments of suspense, and events that they found hilarious. They point, they draw, and they make noises, and act. Literacy is a part of children’s lives from an early age.
I can’t wait to meet your children and start a great year together. I look forward to learning their unique personalities and learning styles.