Emergent literacy is the term used to describe the reading and writing experiences of young children before they learn to write and read conventionally. Playing with letters and words, listening to stories, and exploring books are all ways to boost literacy in early learners. Here are seven fun and effective emergent literacy to use in the preschool classroom.
1. Oral Language: Chip Clip Poems
A great way to develop oral language and comprehension is by singing and playing rhyming games. Chip Clip Poems are a fun way to practice those skills (with bonus skills of counting, numbers, addition, and subtraction!). When oral language is presented in a natural, playful way through songs and fingerplays, the concept is both fun and appropriate for preschool students.
2. Rhyming: Puzzle Pieces
Rhyming is an essential pre-reading skill in English. Research shows that children that can rhyme read much more quickly and easily. Conversely, research shows that one of the red flags for reading disabilities is the inability to rhyme early on. Students need lots of experience with and exposure to rhymes – in books, songs, games, and more. Puzzles are a great way to start practicing rhyming because not only do the words rhyme, but the shapes match up and help those that are still learning.
3. Phonemes: Editable Name Songs
Phonemes refer to individual sounds that make up words. The most important words to start with in preschool are the student names. Names are a springboard for all literacy learning. When presented in a song, students hear the sounds of their name and begin to recognize their name in print.
4. Sentences: Word Replacement
Young students are just beginning to understand the difference between letters, words, and sentences. Doing word replacement activities helps them segment spoken sentences into a series of individual words.
5. Syllables Sorting
Research has proven that the speed with which a child learns to read correlates to how much phonological awareness they receive before and during formal reading instruction. Syllable splitting skills progress toward the end of the phonological awareness spectrum. Clapping hands to segmented words is a great way to practice recognizing syllables.
6. Concepts of Print: Pocket Chart Activity
Developing Concept of Word is the #1 watershed event for emergent readers that leads them right into becoming beginning readers! The goal is to have students point to each word as they read with one-to-one matching. It is important to remember the main focus is not to have the students sound out or spell the words. If the emergent reader stumbles on a word, tell them the word and encourage them to move on.
7. Alphabet Knowledge: Peek-A-Boo Game
Preschool children need LOTS of exposure to letters in order to master the alphabet. As the alphabet is made up of similar lines and curves, students must be able to discriminate from one letter to the next visually. Peek-A-Boo games like this one encourage students to focus on those lines and curves and their placement to guess the letter.
More Resources on Emergent Literacy
- Some fascinating research on Emergent Literacy from Save the Children – long but definitely worth a read!
- Information about Emergent Literacy for students with special needs from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
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