Literacy skills are very important to a child because it forms a basis through which more advanced knowledge can be imparted on them. According to Brandt (46), teachers have the duty of developing the appropriate programs that can enable them to facilitate the learning of literacy skills. A child can only learn other subjects if it is able to read and write. Speaking is also another important aspect of literacy skills that teachers should not ignore.
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The ability of a child to master literacy skills always depends on the approach taken by the teacher. Some children take a short duration to learn literacy skills, while others take longer than the average time. In this essay, the focus will be to discuss the most appropriate approach for a teacher to facilitate the learning of literacy skills among children.
According to the research by Burke (87), teachers should develop proper approaches to teaching literacy skills to children based on what they feel would yield the best results. As a teacher, I understand the importance of making my learning experience memorable and interesting. It is a fact that some children always feel that learning is some form of punishment. This is always common in cases where a child is forced to go to school against its wish.
I believe that the first step in developing a memorable experience for these children would be to develop a friendly environment where a child would consider more interesting than staying at home. The battle must start by changing the mentality of a child that, school is an oppressive environment.
The teacher may find interesting songs and games that can help integrate the children and make them believe that they are one big family. They should be encouraged to sing and tell stories at the initial stages of learning because this is part of learning literacy skills. When children are allowed to sing or tell stories, they will be developing their capacity to speak, which is the basic literacy skill.
The teacher should take time during the integration stage to understand the capacities of different children. This way, it will be a possible plan on how to make them literate within a specific period. Developing a learning environment at this stage would be very necessary. The teacher would develop a program where children would learn new experiences during their singing or storytelling process. The aim of this approach is to make children believe that learning is also as enjoyable as playing.
This is achieved by making the learning process part of their game. The teacher should establish a classroom environment that can support the learning process. To develop an appropriate learning environment, the teacher should find relevant pictures, charts, and images that would enhance understanding of specific issues. For instance, there should be a chart for all the vowels and letters of the alphabet when the reading and writing process begins.
These young learners must be allowed to see what these letters look like in order to have their image when they are mentioned. Having images or drawings of some animals will also expand the memory of these children. For example, when telling a story about hyena, lion, giraffe, and an antelope, it would be necessary to have enough drawings of these animals for all of them.
They will find it easier to internalize the story when they hear the story and see the animals involved (Baines 112). The environment should be free from unnecessary disturbances that may affect the concentration of the learners. When a teacher is satisfied with the environment, he or she can then proceed to the actual learning process. This should take the four stages discussed below.
The first stage would be speaking and listening. It is important to note that at first, the learners were subjected to singing and telling stories to make them feel comfortable within this new setting. However, this stage would involve the advancement of singing and speak as a form of learning. Children would be asked to sing or tell stories in turns. The other learners will need to listen attentively to the story being told. They will then be allowed to ask questions about the story or the song.
The teacher will also ask the listeners questions about the stories. This way, learners will be made to realize that there is a need to engage in participatory listening so that they can respond to the question. The purpose of this stage will be to ensure that all the learners can speak and listen attentively when others are speaking.
The second stage will be reading various literature. The reading process will start with the vowels and letters of the alphabet. At this stage, the teacher will need to read the letters, and the learners will repeat the same in a chorus (McKay 71). This should be done for several weeks until the teachers are satisfied that the learners understand letters of the alphabet and the vowels.
This should be followed by short, simple sentences. The teacher will read the sentences, and the learners will repeat the same in a chorus. It would be necessary to make each child read the sentences and letters just to be sure that none of them is left behind in the learning process. When the teacher is convinced that this process is successful, he or she may proceed to the next stage.
The third stage would involve the writing of what has been read. The teacher will write letters or short words on exercise books, and the learners will be expected to reproduce the same. At this stage, the teacher may need to give learners individual attention. The choice of short sentences was made because of the limited mastery skills of the learners. The short sentences they read will be the same sentences they will be required to write in this stage (McKay 81).
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The final stage will be an assessment process. The assessment must be based on the learning objectives. The teaching plan will have specific objectives that must be achieved at every stage of the learning process. The assessment should be conducted at two levels. At the end of each of the first three stages mentioned above, there must be an assessment to determine if the intended objective has been achieved. The assessment may also help identify slow learners who may need specialized attention from the teacher.
This may be in the form of homework or class assignments given to the learners on a daily basis. The second level would be an assessment at the end of a term or end of the year when all the literacy skills will be tested. Learners should be able to have an understanding of the literacy skills as defined in the teaching plans when they are given their end-year exams.
Baines, L. A Teacher’s Guide to Multisensory Learning: Improving Literacy by Engaging the Senses. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2008. Print.
Brandt, D. Literacy and Learning: Reflections on Writing, Reading, and Society. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.
Burke, A. Ready to Learn: Using Play to Build Literacy Skills in Young Learners. Markham: Pembroke Publishers, 2010. Print.
McKay, P. Assessing Young Language Learners. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.