In this video segment from Between the Lions, a chorus of children’s voices captures dozens of fun and practical reasons to write: decorating ...
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- Take a class field trip to a local library and see all the things people there are reading and writing. Get library cards for students.
- Take a neighborhood walk, noting people who are reading or writing in the neighborhood and what they are reading. Ask to take photos, and create a bulletin board, slide show, or photo album (with identifying labels and text).
- Invite parents or other people in the community to talk to the class about the reasons they like to read and write at home. Perhaps they have special treasures to show: photo albums, postcards, favorite magazines, recipes, journals, Web sites, etc.
The songs "I Got a Reason to Read" and "I Got a Reason to Write" were created to highlight one of the key goals of the Between the Lions series: to celebrate the power and pleasure of print. Both songs show children reading and writing in all kinds of purposeful ways, from reading books, signs, and maps to writing letters, lists, and notes. The examples illustrate the importance of reading and writing in everyday life. Words are tools for communicating, and children who know how to read and write gain access to a world of exciting resources.
The four strongest preschool predictors of children’s success in learning to read and write all involve opportunities to interact with words. The four factors that explain the most variation in K–1 performance are:
- how much a child was read aloud to;
- exposure to a print-rich environment;
- vocabulary and language development; and
- the amount of focus on the letters of the alphabet and the sounds in spoken words.
In classrooms that foster early literacy, examples of reading and writing can be found everywhere: in books, wall displays, magazines, and more. Teachers write messages and signs to inform students of the day’s events. Children are encouraged to keep journals that record their developing efforts at writing. Many hours of each day are devoted to the pleasures of literacy as teachers and children read books aloud, and as children read to one another, explore books on their own, and write down their thoughts.
For preschool children in particular, experts urge teachers to set up classroom centers that present aspects of literacy in a developmentally appropriate way. This means that teachers show children the contexts in which people read for real purposes. A library corner would feature comfortable chairs and a variety of books within easy reach. In a writing center, students might keep journals, respond to messages, or use moveable letters and other appealing writing implements. In a science center, students might experiment, observe, and draw or describe the changes they see in an ongoing project. A role-play center might be a grocery store one week, a post office or restaurant the next, etc. In all of these centers, it helps to include the tools and props of literacy that we use in real life: notebooks, pencils, markers, stamps and stamp pads, menus, signs, labels, etc. Effective teachers will often coach individual children in their explorations, demonstrating how we use these tools.
Common Core State Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1 (Grade 1 ): Speaking and Listening
(Grade 1 ): Comprehension and Collaboration
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL2 (Grade 1 ): Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL2 (Grade 1 ): Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- (Grade 1 ): Comprehension and Collaboration
Between the Lions: "Help!"
This media asset was adapted from the Between the Lions show "Help!."
Music and Lyrics by Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee.