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Introducing Letter Knowledge To Preschoolers: Why and How Presentation by Marilyn Astore Capital Service Region Language and Literacy/School Readiness.

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Presentation on theme: "Introducing Letter Knowledge To Preschoolers: Why and How Presentation by Marilyn Astore Capital Service Region Language and Literacy/School Readiness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introducing Letter Knowledge To Preschoolers: Why and How Presentation by Marilyn Astore Capital Service Region Language and Literacy/School Readiness Network Meeting February 9, 2005

2 2 Why Should Preschoolers be Introduced to Letter Knowledge? The best predictor of beginning reading achievement is a childs knowledge of the names of the letters. (Adams, M.J., p. 61) A child who can recognize most letters with thorough confidence will have an easier time learning about letter sounds and word spellings than a child who has to work at remembering what is what. (Adams, p. 63)

3 3 Children who automatically see the letters as wholes will see words as patterns of letters. (Adams, p. 63) …In general, the names of the letters are quite closely related to their sounds. (Adams, p. 63) Letter names provide relevant information about the sounds they represent (e.g., the /t/ in tee, /k/ in kay), and beginning readers appear to use this information in reading and writing. (Whitehurst, G.J & Lonigan, C. J., p.17)

4 4 …Letter knowledge appears to play an influential role in the development of phonological sensitivity, both prior to and after the initiation of formal reading instruction. Higher levels of letter knowledge are associated with childrens abilities to detect and manipulate phonemes…. (Whitehurst, & Lonigan, p. 17; Lonigan, C.J, p. 27) Likewise, Burgess and Lonigan (1998) found that preschool childrens letter knowledge was a unique predictor of growth in phonological sensitivity across one year. (Whitehurst, & Lonigan, p.17; Lonigan, pp. 27-28)

5 5 …As important as ones language and background knowledge are, they are not enough when learning to read. Children must become familiar with the symbols that are used in print; they must understand the special code that is used in their written language. (Bishop, A., Yopp, R.H., & Yopp, H.K., p. 35)

6 6 Among pre-reading skills studied by researchers, that which consistently predicts later success in reading is accurate, rapid letter naming. (Snow, C., Burns, S., & Griffin, P.) …Knowledge of the alphabet suggests that children have had exposure to print. In many cases, it is the tip of the iceberg. That is, children who know the alphabet know a great deal else in addition. They are likely to have had significant experiences with print. The more exposure to print, the more comfortable children are with engaging in reading activities themselves. (Bishop, Yopp, & Yopp, p. 35)

7 7 How Can Preschoolers Develop Letter Knowledge? The best way to share…alphabet knowledge with those who have not been privy to this information is to teach it directly in as naturalistic, fun and game-like manner as possible. (Delpit, L.D., p. 105) The alphabet is learned the same way that other concepts and vocabulary about print and sound are learned through hands-on exploration among all of its facets: letter names, letter sounds, letter formation, what letters look like, and the equivalence between upper and lower case forms. ( Invernizzi, M., p. 149)

8 8 There is a lot more to alphabet knowledge than singing the alphabet song though it is an excellent place to begin. ( Invernizzi, p. 149) For children to acquire letter recognition, letters must be matched: uppercase to uppercase, lowercase to lowercase, and finally uppercase to lowercase. ( Invernizzi, p. 149)

9 9 In addition to recognizing the letters, children need to engage in alphabet tracking activities, in which they touch the letters on alphabet strips or posters while the ABC Song is being sung. Alphabet tracking activities can also include constructing the alphabet with Link Letters or letter puzzles. Games that help children grasp this matching concept include: Bingo, Concentration, and Alphabet Eggs. (Invernizzi,) These types of activities can be found at the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) website: (Go to Alphabet RecognitionPre Kindergarten). (Invernizzi,)

10 10 Letter reading is another key element of alphabet instruction. This activity also approximates real reading. Alphabet books featuring alliteration provide worthwhile opportunities for letter reading activities. Curious George Reads the Alphabet (Rey, 1963) and Dr. Seuss ABC (Seuss, 1963) are two excellent examples. (Invernizzi,)

11 11 A highly engaging activity that involves young children in recognizing and naming letters is having the whole class do Alphabet Cheers. As a child points to the letters in his/her name on a large card, the class cheers, e.g., Give me an S, give me an A, give me an M! Sam! etc. Building a childs name with letter tiles, cutting it out of play dough and matching it letter-for-letter with another set, as well as encouraging him/her to write the letters (e.g., on the easel, in clay, cornmeal, shaving cream, sand, finger paint, etc.) are all worthwhile, multisensory and child- centered approaches for building alphabet skills.

12 12 What other purposeful and playful activities support the development of Letter Knowledge in a Preschool Program? Share ideas with your colleagues…

13 13 References Adams, M.J. (2000). Beginning To Read: Thinking and Learning About Print (pp. 61, 63). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Bishop, A., Yopp, R.H. and Yopp, H.K. (2000). Ready for Reading: A Handbook for Parents of Preschoolers (p.35). Delpit, L.D. (2000). The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other Peoples Children. In D.R. Bear, M. Invernizzi, S.A. Templeton and F. Johnston (Eds.), Words Their Way (p.105). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Invernizzi, M. (2003). Concepts, Sounds, and the ABCs: A Diet for Very Young Children. In D.M. Barone and L.M. Morrow (Eds.), Literacy and Young Children: Research-Based Practices (p.149). New York: The Guilford Press.

14 14 References (continued) Lonigan, C.J. (2004). Development and Promotion of Emergent Literacy Skills in Children At-Risk of Reading Difficulties. In B.R. Foorman (Ed.), Preventing and Remediating Reading Difficulties: Bringing Science to Scale (p. 27). Baltimore: York Press Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S. and Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Whitehurst, G.J. and Lonigan, C.J. (2001) Emergent Literacy : Development From Prereaders to Readers. In S.B. Neuman and D.K. Dickinson (Eds.), Handbook of Early Literacy Research (p.17). New York: The Guilford Press.

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