There are many ways at home and in the preschool environment to teach literacy which you may not even recognize as early learning. A baby pointing at objects in a book, toddlers singing rhyming words in a song and preschoolers dictating a story to the teacher is all early literacy learning in action.
Playing with Language:
Rhyming words and making up sounds is a part of literacy and is a fun activity. As children start to understand how words and sounds rhyme they naturally begin to make up different sounds to make the rhymes work. They will even start to replace words in a song or story with made up words. An example would be replacing E-I-E-I-O with Le Li Le Li Lo in Old MacDonald's Farm.
A favorite song at preschool is:
Willoughby Wallaby Woo,
An Elephant sat on you.
Willoughby Wallaby Wee,
An Elephant sat on me.
Willoughby Wallaby Weter,
An Elephant sat on Peter.
Willoughby Wallaby Willy,
An Elephant sat on Billy.
The awareness of syllables occurs early. In the classroom during circle time the children will begin to clap out the syllables in their names. We discover Sally has two syllables and Christopher has three and so on. It is fun to move to other familiar words in clapping syllables and then progress to how fast we can clap them out. This is a fun thing to do in the car with children.
Writing begins with the first scribble. Providing plain paper and crayons/markers for drawing encourages creativity AND the development of turning scribbles into objects and objects into letters and letters into words.
In the classroom the teachers will take dictation when they listen to and write down children's oral stories before the children can write down their own. Sometimes the child will draw a picture and tell a story and other times the teacher will provide a picture from a book or magazine and have the child create a story and the teacher will write it for them.
Providing an area in the classroom or home where paper, note cards, index cards, an old typewriter or keyboard encourages children to practice writing while using their imaginations and having fun.
Putting it all into action:
In the MWF and Pre-K classrooms this week the children have been learning about the post office and how a letter goes from one location to another. In the process the children have been writing notes, stuffing envelopes and placing them in a mailbox in the room. Then someone becomes the postal worker, gathers the letters from the mailbox and begins delivering them to the proper locations in the room. The children have been using inventive spelling as well as asking teachers how to spell words. They have even walked to the church mailbox and will be waiting for their mail to arrive at home!
In the T/Th classrooms children have been drawing pictures and placing these in the mailbox as well. As they draw their drawings will begin to turn into letters soon.
Some books which play with language:
Altoona Baboona, Bearnard Waber
Bearsie Bear, Janie Bynum
Cleaning Up Litter, Dr. Seuss
Cock-A-Doodle-Moo, Jez Alborough
Dancing Feet, Charlotte Pomerantz
Duck in the Truck, Lloyd Moss
Fiddle-i-fee, Shel Silverstein
The Happy Hippopotami, Jane Yolen
The Piggy in the Puddle, Jakki Wood
HICCUPotamus, Aaron Zenz