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For me, the most relevant aspect of teaching is fostering children’s interest. I believe motivating the youngest learners to read is crucial for an effective teacher. Tompkins et al. (2012) stress the importance of motivating children as the learners’ interest in reading is the basis of their further learning.
The task with the picture of a mouse is very suggestive (and can be used in classroom) because children understand that writing and reading enables them to share very important ideas (Tompkins et al., 2012).
They form understanding that reading can help them extract new information or express themselves. Previously, I felt I had to make leaners motivated. At present, I have the necessary tools to do this. For instance, I know I can use various texts on topics which are interesting for children, children can read in pairs and groups.
Stages of Literacy
It seems natural that the effective teacher should understand that the youngest learners move through several stages of literacy development. These stages are emergent, beginning and fluent. The effective teachers should be aware of the most common issues the youngest learners may face and understand the methods to address the issues. Annandale et al. (2005) highlight these issues and different ways to help learners cope with them.
For example, the researchers note the one of the most wide-spread issues is the lack of vocabulary (Annandale et al., 2005). Therefore, it is important to pay special attention to development of children’s vocabulary. Of course, I will have to fill in this gap in my knowledge by observing the work of more experienced teachers.
I think it is but natural that the youngest learners should try different literacy roles (meaning makers, code breakers, text users and analysts). Apart from helping learners develop their literacy, these roles make them more interested in reading and writing. Of course, trying the roles, the youngest learners improve their reading and writing skills (Tompkins et al., 2012).
I have learnt a lot about the use of these roles, but I feel I need to have more information on the matter. It is a good idea to observe the way learners cope with different roles and let them try (more often) roles they find challenging.
Tompkins et al. (2012) emphasise that the effective teacher should be able to contextualise words, phonic elements, sentences and entire texts. Contextualisation is ability to use an element in a variety of contexts. For example, a child truly understands a word if he/she can use it properly in different contexts, sentences.
The teacher should be able to effectively transfer the meaning of different elements (phonic units, words, sentences, etc.). It is necessary to add that apart from development of analytical skills, this also contributes to the youngest learners’ motivation.
I understand that contextualisation is an important technique in developing literacy in the youngest learners. This understanding is essential for me as a practitioner as I will be able to develop new ways to contextualise different elements.
Annandale et al. (2005). First steps writing map of development. Port Melbourne: Rigby.
Tompkins, G., Campbell, R. & Green, D. (2012). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Australia.