Schooling is becoming impossible without emergent literacy since it usually greatly influences the latter success of students in reading and writing. Emergent literacy relates to the knowledge of the alphabet, print, and oral knowledge, as well as the phonological awareness. Students that are at the stage of emergent literacy learning are taught purposes and conventions of print, the primary stages of writing and reading, including knowledge on how to communicate with effectiveness by means of spoken and written word.
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Thus, every skill or subskill related to emergent literacy are crucial for the future reading skills to be acquired in a much more effective manner since they are the primary skills necessary for fluent reading. Thus, emergent literacy teachers should design their lessons in accordance with the above-mentioned skills in order for the future literacy learning to be efficient (Wheater, 2011, p. 3).
The designed lesson for emergent literacy learning will include two levels of objectives – the listening/speaking and the reading/writing objectives. On the level of listening and speaking, the emergent literacy learner should be able to use language to express opinions related to the discussed topic, follow the directions given by the teacher when it comes to oral assignments, as well as listen to the read text to learn new information on the topic. On the reading and writing level, the emergent literacy learner will find words given by a teacher in the text, retell main points from the read in the class text, write down or draw images related to recognizable words.
According to Rog (2007), emergent literacy writers are aware of the fact that the symbols on the pages do convey some messages; however, they are yet unable to grasp the connections between the sounds and the letters from the alphabet (p. 2). Thus, for students to learn how to draw connections between written word and the heard sound, they will be asked to scribble and draw down images, words, or letters that they associate with the text read by the teacher during the class. Then, students will explain why they chose the images or words for the text they heard.
Emergent literacy in learners occurs when they are able to make sense of what they are reading or writing. Thus, for this objective, students will be given a written text that has already been presented to them in previous lessons. Students are to point out words and word combinations they are familiar with or that intuitively make sense. The task will help develop memory as well as the intuitive understanding of unknown words given in a familiar context. Then students will be asked to copy the words into their notebooks.
The last task for reading/writing section of the class will be made from two parts: reading and retelling. Sentence by sentence students will read a familiar text the teacher has already read to them previously. After reading students will be asked to retell the points from the text they understood or remembered.
The listening and speaking section of the lesson will be tightly integrated into the previously discussed writing and reading assignments. While completing the given tasks, students will be asked to express their opinions about the text they are asked to retell. In addition, the listening skills will be developed through students carefully following the instructions given by the teacher. If there are any questions on related topics, the students are welcomed to ask them.
Upon the implementation of the lesson, it is evident that the promotion of literacy learner’s processing in writing and reading was conducted through the use of already familiar text. Because students become more aware of their reading abilities through the regulation what they are actually reading (Reutzel & Cooter, 2015, p. 333), reading and discussing familiar and controllable information developed the sense of confidence and the strive for achieving success in the tasks given by the teacher. Furthermore, developing an ability of students to reflect upon the learned text, ask questions and express their opinions relates to the hypothesis that literacy is a cultural phenomenon that grows as the society itself expands its need for language (NCTE, 2008, par. 4).
The effectiveness of the lesson can be evaluated by the data collected in the course of the lesson. For instance, only two students out of fifteen had difficulties with the task of drawing associative images in words to the text read by the teacher. This shows that the ability of students to draw schematic images that relate to what they hear drives their understanding and thus the development of literacy. On the other hand, only seven students were able to clearly retell the text they were reading together. This shows that this type of task may be too complicated for emergent literacy learners.
For the reason of not many students being able to complete the task of retelling, this part of the lesson could have been differentiated into three parts: reading, questioning, and then retelling. By giving students time to properly reflect and ask the teacher questions about some point they did not understand, the retelling part of the task could have been much more effective. When it comes to the two students that did not know what images come to their mind when listening to the text, they could have been called to the blackboard and asked to draw images with the help from the entire class. By hearing what other students imagine when they listen to the text, students that had difficulties will then be able to draw their own parallels.
Overall, the lesson was successful since it included a multi-faceted approach to literacy teaching with the involvement of the tasks that called for complete engagement from the teacher and emergent literacy learners. The majority of the tasks were successful; thus, there is a ground for involving new techniques for literacy teaching. For example, the approach proposed by Camp (2000) involving pairing fiction and non-fiction text for boosting the engagement from students (p. 400) will be a beneficial strategy. By finding a non-fictional counterpart to the fictional text already read in the class, the teacher will be able to present a new vocabulary for students thus broaden their spectrum of understanding.
The fact that not many students were able to complete the retelling assignment shows the teacher that the students were not at the most appropriate for them stage. Meeting students at the stage where they are confident will show teachers what to teach and how to make modifications in instructions to engage the entire classroom as well as boost excitement (Purcell & Rosemary, 2007, p. 11). In further teaching, strategies to boost excitement in the classroom will be implemented to increase the effectiveness of given assignments.
Camp, D. (2000). It takes two: Teaching with twin texts of fact and fiction. Reading Teacher, 53(5), 400-408. Web.
NCTE. (2008). On reading, learning to read, and effective reading instruction: An overview of what we know and how we know it. Web.
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Purcell, T., & Rosemary, C. (2007). Differentiating instruction in the preschool classroom: Bringing emergent literacy instruction and developmentally appropriate practice. In L. Justice & C. Vukelich (Eds.), Achieving excellence in preschool literacy instruction (pp. 221–241). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Reutzel, D., & Cooter, R. (2016). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction: Helping every child succeed (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Rog, L. (2007). Marvelous minilessons for teaching beginning writing, K–3. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.