Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Negotiating Critical Literacies With Young Children

            Are reading books, preparing lesson plans, and doing activities are most important things for children’s literacy? I think those are important, however, sometimes children learn literacy from themselves as they have critical thinking. When I read Chapter 3 of the book, Negotiating Critical Literacies With Young Children, I was surprised and smiled because I could see that the children were learning real thing from the real world. The chapter 3 was about there is a boy, Curtis and he wanted to go French Café which was just for older students who were attending in French class at his school. Therefore, he decided to agreements from his classmates, Junior Kindergarteners, and Senior Kindergarteners for going the café next year. He and his classmates started to make petition letter and Speaker’s Corner tape. In this part, I realized that the teacher just did not help them go to the café; however, she supported children’s ideas.
           “Children need opportunities to learn the relationship between the circulation of knowledge through language use and the power associated with certain forms of language (p. 96).” We often observe that young children say, “It’s mind” even thought things are not belonged to them. As children have a concern about French café, they will learn problem solving, consequences, collectivism, how to change their social position with reasonable ways, and how to address their feeling about things that they thought it was not fair. Children will create opportunities for changing and when it works, they will get full sense of accomplishment. Having this kind of real experience is very important for children’s literacy because they will learn interaction, communication and more professional language skills. Before the children had this issue, they might had no idea what the word, “petition” means but as they do that, they learned what it is with full of understanding.
           As I mentioned above, in my opinion, like the book, teacher would better step back from children and just observe what they are going to do. If they seem they need some helps, teachers can support children’s idea.

Maria , V. (2004). Negotiating critical literacies with young children. (1 ed., p. 96). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Early Technoliteracies

Today, lots of schools and teachers use technology in their school for literacy. With using technology, children learn many things in easy and effective ways. They can write, watch, read, draw, paint, and even speak. For writing, if children have some mistakes in their grammar or spelling, the computer automatically fixes it. For watching, children can watch anything they want and for reading, children just select which book they want to read and just click the title. In drawing and painting parts, I observed that my nephew had a great art game CD and when he clicked any color he want to use and click wherever he want to put, then the section was filled in the color he chose. How awesome is that! Because when I was a preschooler, I did not have that kind of technology, I was kind of surprised even though I have technology recently. Children also can talk to computer with their avatar. As the time has been changed, children’s learning style also will be changed. Children are learning their literacy in more understandable and accessible ways with just clicking. Technology provides useful information to children.
I agree with the technology is one of the biggest and important part for children to learn literacy. However, I am sometimes concerned if children focus and obsess on technology too much, it would be worse than that they do not have technology. Therefore, teachers, caregivers, and parents should manage their children to use technology in appropriate ways with relevant time. Also, teachers and parents should not forget about real materials and environments have more authentic meaning for children sometimes. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sociodramatic Play and Literacy

          We often can observe that children do pretend play in their school a lot. In my opinion, sociodramatic play is one of the most important activities in children’s school life because it has lots of influences for children’s language and literacy. Sometime, sociodramatic play affects children’s real life so teachers, caregivers, and parents should not ignore it in children’s daily routine.
           As children do sociodramatic play, they will have new experiences more and they will explore their ideas and thoughts in creative and spontaneous ways. Pretend play is also important because it is one of the ways that children can express themselves freely. If the child wants to be a doctor, he may want to do doctor in his pretend play. Furthermore, with this play, children may consider what they want to be in the future and this activity gives encouragement for children. Children also can learn several relationships such as teachers and students, doctors and nurses, employee and employer, mom and dad, and so on. Lastly, children’s language and vocabulary skills will be really developed. The might learn new vocabulary from their peers or situations.

           To sum up, because pretend play helps children develop social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills, teachers should provide more opportunities to children to have more experiences.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Take-home Literature Packs

           Let’s do “take-home literature packs!” It is a great way to engage to children’s books for family members and the children. The reason take-home literature packs is important is that it can make the family members and child to have more ideas and be interested in books. For families, it firstly gives opportunities to explore and interact with various children’s books in fun ways. The families also can have a great time with their child and make the child to develop the reading and writing abilities. For children, the packs will give really good experiences for intending the world knowledge. As children are doing the packs with their family, they can learn about collaboration and connecting with the family members.
           One of the great examples of take-home literature packs is “alphabet.” Because knowing and learning alphabet is very important to children to have the basic skills of reading and writing. If the child does not know how to read alphabets or write alphabets, his or her reading and writing skills will be stopped.


Eating the Alphabet, by Lois Ehlert
: As using fruits and vegetables for instroducing each alphabet, children will have fun with learning alphabets.

Alphabet City, by Stephen Johnson
: Alphabets are hiding in the urban and children will find where the alphabets in the city.


1) Using magnetic letters on a cookie sheet or the refrigerator, name the letters, put them in alphabetical order, spell names of family members, and spell as many words as you can.

: The colorful magnetic alphabet will be better for children to be interested in learning alphabets.

2) Create an ABC book. Write one letter per page, and then draw pictures to illustrate.

: With this book, children may be asked to fill the blank with appropriate alphabet sticker. For example, if the book shows the child a picture of apple and a word of "__ pple," s/he will fill "a" in the blank. This will help children to learn about alphabets quickly and interestingly.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are Wordless Picture Books Important to Children?

YES! It is important for children’s literacy. Wordless picture books are related to visual literacy and it helps children develop their oral language and in writing skills. As children have wordless picture books, they can learn more vocabulary, useful sentences, fluency on writing, and story-telling skills. Not only children’s prediction skill will be developed but also they will be easily interested in reading wordless book. The reason they will enjoy reading the books is there is no limitation or stated stories so children can make any stories whatever they want.  Students sometimes struggle with finding ideas or topic for writing or storytelling. Wordless picture books are will be really good for every child such as language beginner, ESL students, child with special needs, and even language competent children.

Tuesday by David Wiesner 

Flotsam by David Wiesner 

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs 

All in a Day by Mitsumasa Anno

For some activities for wordless picture books, teachers can ask comprehension and critical thinking questions, for examples, where, who, what, how, and why. Children also should be taught grammatical structure such as using the past, the plural, and so on. Having students find all the words that begin with a particular sound will be good for reviewing phonic. Having a lesson for synonyms and antonyms is also a good activity. Lastly, practicing putting sentences in the correct order will enhance children’s sequencing skills.  
        Teachers also have some important roles for children to have wordless picture books. They can set up recording area so children can check and develop their oral language skills. Sharing stories with other classmates or parents can encourage children to be proud of themselves and also other classmates will learn various interpretations of the stories. Finally, teachers should forget to give a lot of praises and attentions to children.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Every Child Is Unique

Every child has their own characteristics in their preference of genre of books, learning styles, connections, and so on. Children could learn literacy from books with voice and books with illustrations.
Voice has a power for children’s literacy because it has tone. When children read books with hearing narrator’s tones, they can be attracted and focus on the story well. Also, children can read aloud books and they can hear their voice. This is another great way of using voice for early children.
The other way children can be attracted to books is having illustrations in their reading. Illustration books are so important to children because children often READ illustration. There are a lot of book with great illustrations and less text and children actually loves those kinds of books and still understand the story of the book.  
As children have two options, they can have the extra works such as connections (about personal, previous knowledge) to the book, predictions, evaluation (about books, characters), learning new words, dramatic play, and so on.
For helping children to have better ability and interest, respecting each child’s learning styles so children can have confidence. Also, showing positive feedback and appreciation can lead children to have self-esteem and accomplishment. Remember! Teachers should interact with each child individually because it will be more effective and beneficial for developing children’s literacy abilities. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Collaboration in Early Literacy

Do you think collaboration in early literacy is important? Why? Collaboration is so important because it develops children oral language and because it develops children’s literacy. In the other words, when children are allowed to collaborate with another, they will learn things effectively, quickly, and joyfully. There are two main areas for developing children’s collaboration, collaboration in writing and collaboration in reading.
            Collaboration in writing can lead children to generate their ideas, select the words to express them, order the words in phrases and sentences, and figure out what letters to use to represent them. That is why it is an important factor for children. Dictation is a great way for practicing collaboration and as children do that, they can express their thoughts and ideas in their mind on paper with writing words. Once children are done with it, teachers should provide responses such as providing a model to copy, repeating the child’s words, attaching the works in the classroom, and praising the children’s works.
            Collaboration in reading can be practiced with predictable books. Not only children love predictable books, but also the books help children have guessing skills and engage in reading easily. Also, predictable books can lead to develop reader’s knowledge. In this area, teacher should make sure the predictable books have patterns so children can easily understand and engage. Rhythm, rhyme, and repetition will be helpful.
            To close, in my opinion, teachers should always create supportive environments for language learning for children. Many writing and reading activities will enhance children’s enthusiasm and purpose of learning. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How can children express their language?

Language can be defined in many ways. In my view, the purpose of using language is that we want to communicate with others and express our feeling and thoughts. Likewise, young children also use language for expressing content.  Children’s language may be carried in oral and written language.
The oral language is the first expressive system and also a great way of communication for showing children’s thinking. Children’s language has meaning with “sounds and sound combination” or “words and word combination.” Children often may express their language with gestures facial expression, too. They learn language as they observe, notice, and copy their mothers, teachers, or other adults. When caregivers try to communicate with young children with language, they should pay attention to what they try to say because their oral language is unique.
In the written language part, as children are getting older, they a lot of time express the meaning that children want to carry. Children firstly start to write basic things, for example, their name, “mommy,” “daddy,” In our class, we read a textbook, “i already know how to read” by Martens and read about Sarah. She is a great example for the children’s written language. She all the time wrote sentences in her unique way and draw pictures.
            The most important thing in my reading even thought there are two ways for expressing children’s language, we should think about the connection between oral language and written language. In the classroom, teachers should practice some activities for connecting between talking and writing/drawing.  For example, children may be asked that they choose one of their happiest memories and re-tell the story. Then, they also write and draw based on their own story. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Learning Language from Whole and Experiences

“When language is whole and used in context, children have multiple cues from which to draw in understanding how language works (Martens, p. 92).” For children’s literacy, we should consider that children learn languages as a whole. We do not write, speak, or listen languages with one word or sound. When the language has a meaningful harmony, it is easy to understand and learn for children. So in my opinion, teachers should try to help children to integrate their language with their own way.
“Every learner has a unique personal and social literacy history shaped by his or her personal and social literacy experiences (Martens, p. 93).” When I read this sentence, I absolutely agreed with the point. Experiences are really important and meaningful for children’s literacy. Everyday children’s lives have special meanings and they learn their language and literacy from their life experiences. Therefore, as an educator, providing experiences and opportunities will really help to develop children’s literacy. Teachers also have a responsibility for discovering and connecting their experiences to literacy. As well as that, when children have chances to read, write, and listen the literacy in their everyday lives, they can invent and expand their literacy with a valuable skill.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Connection between Home Literacy and Nursery Literacy

In the article, it reminds us to think how much connecting between home literacy and school literacy is important to children. As children create a new world, “third space,” they relate and practice literacy at home and school.
Once they create the “third space,” they will engage in finding their own interest. For finding connection between family literacy and nursery literacy, children should share their differences, similarities, and experiences at nursery. I believe teachers have an important job for children. Teachers should give children to create an opportunities for using their cultural experiences and recourses.
Firstly, teachers should know what the history and background of the child and what s/he needs right now and what are some concerns about him or her. For finding those things, communicating with families may be really important. Home literacy and nursery literacy should not be separate because bilingual children can be confused.  
And then, teachers should introduce or present about cultural literacy to other children so other children can absolutely understand and learn about the other world. This way will provide an opportunity to children to understand about their classmates and meet new worlds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Literaycy and Multiple Symbols for young children.

              Multiple symbols can be replaced to children’s literacy and languages. When children use sign systems such as art, music, drama, and mathematic are the great ways to express children’s thoughts and languages. As discussed in the article, “Drawings are likely to contain more information than their written texts (Graves, 1983).” (p. 301) For example, many children prefer to draw his/her father has red glasses and mother has curly brown hair with apron than they talk or write about their family. For another example, I saw a lot of children describe a train as chuchu train and it is much easier to remember for young children. When they play with a train, the children make a sound like “chu-chu.” This is another way to learn a language.
           When I read this part of the article, I thought I do not have to push them to learn language from writing or speaking. I can lead them to learn language with multiple symbols. I also thought family can help children to learn the language with family activity such as drawing something together or sing or make sounds about any subjects. This way will help children to have more information and develop their ideas.
             The important things for families are participating and paying attention to children's sign systems so the family members can catch up what their child really need and say now.