Fostering literacy in early years settings

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesEarly literacyFostering literacy in early years settings

Fostering literacy in early years settings

HomeEarly childhood education resourcesEarly literacyFostering literacy in early years settings

In this session, Claire McLachlan from Federation University Australia explores how literacy can be fostered in early childhood settings. Some principles for how early literacy can be readily encouraged are examined, along with research that shows which teacher practices are effective for promoting literacy in a play-based curriculum. Finally, issues related to children’s progression towards the learning outcomes in the Communication strand of Te Whariki and the Literacy Learning Progressions for school entry are explored. 

To help you navigate the webinar easily, there is a list of the key topics covered in the session below, including the time each was discussed. The key ideas discussed in this webinar are also shared in a short insight article. 

Topics discussed in this webinar 

Times shown in minutes and seconds from the start of the video 

2.35What is early literacy and why is it so important? 
6.30The foundational literacy skills children need to develop in early childhood 
10.15How to foster and encourage literacy skills 
22.38Children’s progression through literacy skills 
29.15Using commercial schemes such as Letterland or Jolly Phonics 
31.46Story-reading, songs and rhymes
34.02How to support children who have rich literacy experiences but do not pick up key emergent literacy skills 
37.37Does a teacher’s foreign accent matter?
38.34Bilingualism and literacy development
44.31Is mat-time essential? 
46.22Concluding advice 

Questions for exploring the key ideas from this webinar 

  • What do you know about children’s home literacy experiences, or their skills and abilities in their first language(s)? How might you find out? 
  • How often do you read books to children? Could you increase this number? Do all children have equitable opportunities to hear stories read to them? 
  • What methods and processes do you use to collect information on children’s literacy development? How often do you assess their progress against the learning outcomes in the Communication strand of Te Whāriki?  
  • How well are the children that are near school age progressing towards the Literacy Learning Progressions? Which aspects of emergent literacy might need more attention in your programme? 

Further reading 

Cunningham, A.E., Zibulsky, J., & Callahan, M.D. (2009). Starting small: Building preschool teacher knowledge that supports early literacy development. Reading & Writing,22,487–510.  

Paciga, K. A., Hoffman, J. L., & Teale, W. H. (2011). The National Early Literacy Panel and Preschool Literacy instruction: Green lights, caution lights and red lights. Young Children , 50-57.   

Ministry of Education. (2010). The literacy learning progressions: Meeting the reading and writing demands of the curriculum. Author.  

National Institute for Literacy. (2010). Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. A scientific synthesis of early literacy development and implications for intervention. Author.  

Snow, C.E. & Matthews, T. J. (2016). Reading and language in the early gradesFuture of Children, 26 (2), 57-74.  

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