Write a Critical Response Reviewing the Research Discussed in the Article and Relate it’s Implications to the Early Literacy in Children: English Essay, OUM, Malaysia


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The role of literacy in early childhood education

Working with families as partners in early literacy

What the best and wisest parent wants for his child, that must the community want for its children.

John Dewey

The link between supportive parental involvement and children’s early literacy development is well established. Snow, Barnes, Chandler, Goodman, and Hemphill (1991) and others have shown that children from homes where parents model the uses of literacy and engage children in activities that promote basic understandings of literacy and its uses are better prepared for school. Parent education is an integral component of virtually all early childhood programs.

However, its effectiveness varies widely. More and better research is needed to help us understand what kinds of parent involvement programs are most effective for target populations and what level of treatment intensity, training of providers, and attention to other program components are required (Barnett, 1998; St. Pierre & Layzer, 1998). The following are some considerations for planning the content and implementation of a successful early childhood parent education program.

Literacy learning starts early

Learning to read and write is an ongoing process. Contrary to popular belief, it does not suddenly begin in kindergarten or first grade. From the earliest years, everything that adults do to support children’s language and literacy counts (Hart & Risley, 1995).

Those who care for and educate young children should know the following. First, oral language and literacy develop together. What children learn from listening and talking contributes to their ability to read and write, and vice versa.

For example, young children’s ability to identify and make oral rhymes and to manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words is an important indicator of their potential success in learning to read. Phonological awareness begins early with rhyming games and chants, often on a parent’s

Second, children who fall behind in oral language and literacy development are less likely to be successful beginning readers, and their achievement lag is likely to persist throughout the primary grades and beyond (Juel, 1988).

Third, it is not enough to simply teach early literacy skills in isolation. Teaching children to apply the skills they learn has a significantly greater effect on their ability to read (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000).

Young children learn the uses of print in their lives as they observe adults read, make lists, and make use of literacy as they go about their everyday lives

Key implications for parents and educators

Know that a child’s capacity for learning is not determined at birth and there is great deal parents and educators can do about it (National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2000).

Be aware that there are many informal and enjoyable ways that language and literacy skills can be developed in the home.

Provide opportunities for children to use what they know about language and literacy to help them transfer what they know to new situations.

Oral language is the foundation for literacy development

Listening and speaking provide children with a sense of words and sentences, build sensitivity to the sound system so that children can acquire phonology
local awareness and phonics, and are how children demonstrate their understanding of words and written materials. Those who care for and educate young children should know the following three things.

First, children reared in families where parents provide rich language and literacy do better in school than those who do not. Language-poor families are likely to use fewer “different” words in their everyday conversations, and the language environment is more likely to be controlling and punitive (Hart & Risely, 1995).

Second, exposure to less common, more sophisticated vocabulary (i.e., rare words) at home relates directly to children’s vocabulary acquisition (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001).

Third, there is a strong relationship between vocabulary development and reading achievement.

Key implications for parents and educators

  • Take time to listen and respond to children.
  • Talk to and with children not at them.
  • Engage children in extended conversations about events, storybooks, and a variety of other print media.
  • Explain things to children.
  • Use sophisticated and unusual words in everyday talk with children, when it is appropriate to the conversation.

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