Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Early Readers: Independent & Unique

There is no formula for learning how to read and write. We cannot say the same words, read the same books, and ask the same things of every child and expect every one to respond by becoming an instant and fluent reader. To me, this is what makes early literacy so fascinating to observe. What a privilege to be a part of this exciting time in a child's life, when he or she is becoming an independent and unique reader and writer!
Advice for parents and teachers:
~Provide plenty of choices and variety in the books in your home or classroom.
~Encourage children to choose books they want, write what they want, and draw what they want.
~Give plenty of time for choosing books, planning for writing, and actually reading, writing, and drawing.
~Make a point of asking children to share their thoughts about a text or their own work.
~Be supportive of new ideas and methods, even if they do not make sense to you as a reader at first.
~Refer to children as "readers" and "authors" - this will help them understand themselves in these roles.
~Appreciate this time in your children's lives . . . It will not last forever, and later you will treasure these favorite books, written stories, and precious memories.

Above all, be creative and facilitate creativity with your children! Let their voices be heard - you will see and hear so many different ideas, and this is what early literacy is all about.


  1. I think it is important to provide a variety of books at home and in the classroom. Children may not enjoy certain types of books. Having a variety of books may inspire a love of reading that would not have happened before.

  2. I like your all points but I really think "making a point of asking children to share their thoughts about a text or their own work" is really good idea. As children share their opinions and works, they can learn another way to interact with the book they have read. They will also learn how they respect their peers' thoughts and what they can learn from their peers.

  3. Hillary, I love your suggestions for teachers! I think you truly understand how to engage a child in literature. Another point I'd like to add to your call for variety in the books is that they change often. I think in many early childhood settings the books are constant through the entire year. There is no reason to provide the exact same books to children. Repetition in reading is valuable, and possibly children can choose which books they would like to keep, but diversity is priceless! This is a great way to keep the library interested, and ensure it's visited all year round.

  4. Great point, Cayla - thanks for the suggestion!

  5. These suggestions are great for both teachers and parents to remember when working with young children who are learning how to read. Being supportive throughout the entire process is one of the most important and helpful things we can do as teachers!

  6. I really like your suggestion "Refer to children as "readers" and "authors" - this will help them understand themselves in these roles." It is so important to encourage children during this critical period in their literacy development and this is one great way to do it!