Sunday, September 26, 2010

Focus on Literacy: An Overview

Pin It Now! I love reading!  When I was teaching, literacy was one of my passions and a huge focus in my room.  I have taken several master's classes on different literacy components and would love to one day have my master's in literacy. I have done tons of research and incorporated lot of the things I learned into my classroom.  I now use that knowledge in order to help develop Avery's pre-reading skills.

A little background information, current research has shown that effective literacy programs must contain 5 critical components that are referred to as The Big 5.  I thought this chart did a good job of explaining them:

What it is

How it’s taught
Phonemic Awareness
The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words
·  Focus on sound
·  Identify & blend:
o   Onsets (initial consonant or consonant clusters)
o   Rimes (vowel and consonants that follow the onset)
·  Segment, blend and manipulate sounds
Phonics and word study (decoding strategies) involve the systematic instruction of letter-sound relations to read and spell words accurately and quickly.
· Practice knowledge of letter-sound correspondences
· Decode and read words
· Manipulate, categorize, and examine the similarities and differences in words
How children acquire an understanding of new words and concepts
· Provide key experiences
· Promote wide reading
· Lead discussions through questioning
Reading quickly, accurately, and with expression
· Practice reading words automatically (accurately and quickly with little attention or effort)
· Increase speed (or rate) of reading while maintaining accuracy
· Practice reading with expression

The process that enables readers to make meaning of text, and to communicate meaning about what was read
· Read text aloud
· Communicate to others about what they read
· Promote thinking and extended discourse through questioning and discussions

Although it is not included in The Big 5, print awareness (learning how to use a book, understanding that spoken words can be written, knowing that we read left to right) is another important early literacy skill.  

Although Avery is only 1 year old, it is never too young to begin working on The Big Five.  A lot of it at this age is just talking to her and modeling things but it still makes a big difference.  I don't want to make this post too long and it would if I went into too much depth on each one, so instead I am going to spend the next few weeks going over each one in more detailed posts.  If you have any specific questions let me know and I will try to address them.  Happy reading!!


  1. Liz, I am so happy you're doing this! I'm really looking forward to your future posts about each one of the Big 5. And if anyone is interested in further reading on the topic I have "Beyond Bedtime Stories: A Parent's Guide to Promoting Reading, Writing, and Other Literacy Skills From Birth to 5." by Bennett-Armistead et al. It's a decent book. A lot of seems pretty common sense to me, but there are some creative ideas in there as well.

  2. Agreed! The earlier the better. I love watching little babes turn the pages of books. You can just see the recognition setting in.

  3. I agree! I'm looking forward to reading more about it. My little guy is only 18months and we read several times every day.... he loves it. =)

    I left you an award on my page.

  4. I'm looking forward to this! Literacy always came really easy to me personally, but I totally admit I struggled with teaching it for some reason!

  5. Oh good! I'm glad you all are interested! Like I said it has been a passion of mine and a main focus in my classroom. Now I love working with Avery on it all, just at a little lower level : )

  6. We have the "Your Baby Can Read" series of books, DVDs, cue cards and it is AWESOME! Rylen can't seem to ever get enough!!
    Let's hope his love for literacy continues to grow over time :)