Language, Literacy and Universal Education
Describe what your literacy and language program would look like in your kindergarten classroom based on your reading assignments (4 pages)
Upon reading the two specific materials, “The Essentials of Early Literacy Instruction” by Kathleen A. Roskos, James F. Christie, and Donald J. Richgels and “Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children” by The International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of the Young Children, this paper details significant and specific literacy and language development programs which are deemed most effective in the more globally demanding literacy needs of the children at this era. According to Ford (2010), children who have the chance to build their basic foundational skills in language and literacy in early education go to kindergarten ready to learn to read and write.
I strongly believe in developing reading and writing in kindergarten. I affirm that the sooner early learners start to build upon their literacy, the better. As an offshoot to the literacy process started at home, it is important that in kindergarten, the learning is continued through the exposure of the early learners to print in richly illustrated children’s books as soon as they come to school.
In kindergarten, children learn to identify rhyming words. They also listen for the syllables within words and identify the beginning sounds in words. Children also match these sounds to letters. I would like to let my students to perfect these skills while enjoying reading. Hence, in kindergarten, I will expose them to children’s books with striking illustrations and enticing stories and/or information.
As the National Early Literacy Panel (2008) reiterated, the early literacy skills which greatly contribute to the future reading success of children are alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and print awareness. I would like to develop all these three basic skills in my students. These literacy skills are fundamental even before the early learners begin to develop their language skills. In alphabet knowledge, I will further stress on identifying and naming upper and lower case letters and relating letters with the sounds made. In phonological awareness, I will reiterate on the development of my students’ sound manipulation that make up language, free of meaning.
Basically, I would apply the following classroom strategies to enhance my students’ literacy:
1.) Learning instructions that focus on all of the fundamental literacy skills as mentioned above. This should include activities that promote early literacy skills in kindergarten like interactive storybook reading; "pretend" reading and writing; games and other activities to help children identify the letters of the alphabet; interactive experiences with language and print through poems, nursery rhymes and songs. I should emphasize on code-based instruction or instruction that helps children understand the dynamics of spoken language and print (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008).
2.) The utilization of various literacy skills that can transfer across languages (National Early Literacy Panel, 2008). I believed that a kindergarten student who has developed early literacy skills in his/her first language will be more facilitated to hone these same skills in English. Parents who speak and read other languages aside from English will be admonished to help prepare their children for learning to read through the use of home language to accomplish the following: teach rhymes and songs; play word games; and share storybooks. Hence, I will encourage parents to support their children’s reading at home by sending in reading assignments.
The major parts of my literacy program should include the following: 1) daily class reading; 2) reading assignments for home work; 3) reading responses; 4) reading games; and 5) reading journals. Classroom activities for reading, speaking, and writing will be integrated. I shall develop a reading program wherein I will read children’s literature to my early learners as an everyday activity. I shall extend this reading activity with a home-reading program so that the parents are also involved in the literacy development of the students.
One main aspect of my special reading program is a development of a response process to the literatures the children listened to. This classroom activity shall consist of drawing and initially writing of their specific reactions to the books being read. The students under my class shall also be exposed to textual structures and features through drawing and writing of their specific versions based on the patterns seen in the literatures presented to them in class (Roskos, Christie & Richgels, 2003).
Language Development Program
Effective classroom instruction in language development is crucial (Ford, 2010). As Roskos, James & Richgels (2003) reiterated, kindergarten students must have explicit instruction in English vocabulary and they should also have the learning opportunities for English language being spoken and listened to inside the classroom (Roskos, James & Richgels (2003). I shall also stress on the children’s developmental patterns (like phonological and print awareness already mentioned).
I outline the following strategies that I will use in my kindergarten classes below:
1.) Supplying explicit, organized vocabulary instruction. According to the International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of the Young Children (1998), kindergarten students need various exposures to words so as to build a rich understanding of their contexts and meaning. I would like to make a point of teaching my students interesting new words in each classroom activity. My classroom activities will include the following:
- Showing the students thematic vocabulary as it helps early learners to make associations between words and it leads to learning through scaffolding (Roskos, James & Richgels, 2003).
- Reading out loud which includes explanations of aimed vocabulary. For instance, I shall present a dramatic play inside the classroom encircling a carefully selected theme such as being family or having friends, among others.
- I shall see to it that my students get various chances of engaging in social interactions with other children. This will further enhance their language skills (Roskos, James & Richgels, 2003).
2.) To promote social interactions leading to language development, I shall apply the following strategies:
- In classroom group activities, I shall team up English language learners with children who have strong English language skills. I need to ensure that all of my students who speak the same home language (such as Latin or Chinese) are not grouped together (Ford, 2010).
- Supply opportunities for self-directed activities so that the students can enjoy the language activities according to their language skills and interests or inclinations (Ford, 2010).
- Motivate my students to talk by providing prompts when they need help in expressing themselves (i.e. I shall present my student with a fan or crayon as he talks about it).
- Use open questions or questions that will invite different answers in order to help the students widen their own utterances.
Aside from exposing my students to language within their immediate contexts, I shall also arrange the classroom in order that the space supports each type of instructional activity that I will make. Expected classroom routines enable scaffolding as it allows the students to anticipate the unfolding daily classroom activities (Ford, 2010).
1. Google “Universal Preschool”. What did you find? Briefly describe your results.
According to my research, the “universal preschool” is a catch-all term that generally pertains to a system that provides a voluntary and free preschool for every family who wants it. According to the National Education Association (2006), these are its special features:
1. Free and completely regulated. These programs are similar to the normal kindergarten program where all children may attend. The teachers and curriculum are strictly managed. This is a very good choice for many since it ensures that all children have the best available options. Universal kindergarten advocates also highlight the socio-economic diversity and the reduction of the social stigma attached to national education programs such as Head Start.
2. Subsidized and controlled. This is the same as the feature above but this time, it is subsidized. This means that some families will be asked to shoulder a portion of the costs while others will be exempted. The quality control is generic, which means that even those who can pay will get the same quality of education as compared to those who do not pay.
3. Free via matriculation that is offset by tax credits or vouchers. This feature is somewhow unregulated. It enables families to select from any available preschool by giving a “voucher” or tax credit that can be used for matriculation. This makes it free and flexible. This is actually known among people who want religion-based, Montessori or other special learning programs.
4. Free via tuition offset but strongly regulated. This was initially formulated as a compromise that enabled families to select among independent but supervised early education programs. The concept was to provide vouchers to any preschool. However, this needed the receiving school to obey the mandates of the voucher programs as controlled by their state.
Proponents of universal access believe that all children must have fair access to equal and quality education (National Education Association, 2006). They are frustrated by the failure of such programs like Head Start and Kindergarten Readiness which were orginally intended to reach major parts of the population. Income levels are set very low and families go beyond the “target range” and this makes the students attendance erratic.
2. What is your response to current policy issues concerning kindergarten? Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. This paper should be based on your opinions. Please, however, do not forget to support each of you suppositions.
With the economic depression in the United States and in other developing countries and with the onset of highly advanced online educational programs, I am very much supportive of the advocacy to make kindergarten (and even higher education) universal. The literacy gap is very evident (Ford, 2010). This could be well addressed by the free, quality kindergarten education that can be available to everyone regardless of race, religion and other delineations. As it is, the educational systems have been elitist and biased. Some are attuned to only the financial capacities of the families while other educational programs are sectarian and limited in terms of funding. More so, the prospects of the effectiveness of the free, online education have been very attractive.
I strongly support the universal preschool in the absence of higher-quality options. Presently, the initiatives for other low-intensity preschool program have also led to partial positive outcomes and unforeseen long-term impact (Cascio, 2010). Hence, even a highly criticized universal preschool program may be better than the lack of it. Publicly funded kindergarten is conceptually accessible to all the children in the U.S. as they reach age five. However, the younger batches (aged four years old and younger) stay uneven across regions and socio-economic groups. Economically viable families have the option of matriculating for their children in private programs at their own financial costs. State and federal subsidies are open for some low-income families such as the government-funded Head Start program which caters to children from the low-income group (Cascio, 2010).
I believe in the universal preschool program even when the current studies have little forecasts into the relative advantages of universal programs and those aimed at certain groups. I know that there have been various new researches of the short-term impact of universal preschool programs in the U.S. and I am also aware that there has yet to emerge concrete evidence on its long-term effects (Cascio, 2010). Hence, I hope that the universal preschool programs being presented will have a more educational and socio economic effects across families and nations that would later on apply the same programs for their own countries.
Cascio, Elizabeth U. (2010). What Happened When Kindergarten Went Universal? Program on Education Policy and Governance. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from, http://educationnext.org/what-happened-when-kindergarten-went-universal/.
Ford, Karen. (2010). 8 Strategies for Preschool ELL’s Language and Literacy Development. Colorin Colorado Website. Retrieved on June 28, 2014 from, http://www.colorincolorado.org/article/36679/.
National Early Literacy Panel. (2008). Developing Early Literacy. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from, http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/NELPReport09.pdf.
National Education Association. (2006). Full Day Kindergarten: An Advocacy Guide. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from, http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/HE/mf_kadvoguide.pdf.
Roskos, Kathleen, Christie, James, F., & Richgels, Donald. (2003). The Essentials of Early Literacy Instruction. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved on June 29, 2014 from, www.naeyc.org/resources/journal.
The International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of the Young Children. (May, 1998). Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children. Reprinted by International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.