Early Literacy –Six skills by six years of age
Literacy is reading and writing and also more than it. It is communicating, it is understanding and creating. Literacy development holds a greater significance and research encapsulates that early experiences with literacy benefits overall language development at later levels in life.
At Junior Delhi School,we believe that a supportive environment makes early literacy approachable, attainable and aids the children to become skillful and literate. We support our preschoolers with efficient strategies to develop their early literacy skills with well-designed activities like storytelling, role plays, group tasks and shared reading and writing to mention a few.
Early literacy and literacy in general involves development of network of interconnected skillswhich we will further explore in the article ahead. As we discuss early literacy skills , it is also indispensable to take into account the perspective of Emergent literacy which believes that children start reading , scribbling, trying their hands initially at writing even before they enter formal education at school. Complementary to this, the awareness and development of fine motor and gross motor skills enables them to reach and take advantage of the environment that stimulates their literacy at early stages.
The following section states six literacy skills that children can attain by six years of age.
- From using Invented spellings to learning gradually about Traditional Spellings- Children are explorers and their exploration makes them creative. Even before we teach them spelling, their effort at literacy learning starts well before adults guide them. They invent their own spellings of words they listen and read often. These are hence, not errors but the steps to literacy development. We at Junior Delhi School, appreciate this skill of our learners which enable them to become independent and increases their self- esteem.
- Phonological Awareness- the awareness of phonology i.e sounds of the alphabets is important skill that enables the children to not just develop oral language development, also significantly develops in them ability to read fluently, write words appropriately and in their overall language knowledge. Junior Delhi School, hence promotes and motivates educators to build strong foundations for it by carefully spending time on phonological awareness in learners.
- Vocabulary – Vocabulary learning is another important skill that the kids are able to and significantly need to attain early in their lives. It comes from reading exposure, language listening and speaking at school, home, with friends and present day Media. In order to consider literacy, Vocabulary goes hand in hand with both reading and writing. The better reading exposure, better is the Vocabulary and hence it translates into efficient writing as well. It is not expected from children to master vocabulary, but purposefully develop it as a literacy skill for themselves.
- Reading for Pleasure - another significant literacy skill the early learners must achieve not just for reaching a milestone but for themselves is ‘Reading for pleasure’. It is another thing that Junior Delhi School immensely focuses on by using story- telling and Narratives by blending it amongst other activities.
Significant research has proven that amiable and pleasurable reading experiences creates better readers, develop in children the love for reading and more significantly motivates them to have strong literacy skills.
The DEAR (drop everything and read) program which is part of Junior Delhi School curriculum is a step to achieve the objective of helping children develop reading capacity and build their literacy skills.
- Prediction and Imagination- While reading and comprehension is important literacy skill for learners, so is prediction and imagination. At Junior Delhi School, facilitators employ a variety of techniques to develop the skill of prediction and imagination in students while reading through various tasks like questioning, Title and picture prediction.
- Writing as a way to express- An important skill of literacy , we as adults must try to develop in children is their ability to express themselves in writing , even if it means only a few lines, drawings, scribbles in the early years of life should be appreciated. Making them express in written form on the most favorite topic of theirs. We should motivate them to go beyond writing the conventional ‘MySelf".