In fact, approximately 82 percent of K teachers, principals and school librarians engage in some sort of social networking, according to a survey by EdWeb and MMS Education.
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Along with a rise in personal use, teachers are also using social media to enable learning and collaboration among students in the classroom. Lesson plans involving social media require safeguarding both student privacy and productivity. In addition, educators must accept that using poor judgment on a public social network — even on a personal account — can have professional consequences. Read on and discover more points to consider as you fine-tune your approach to social media — in your classroom and from your living room.
Education specialists are quick to acknowledge the benefits and drawbacks of social networking for students.
Engaging Families in Early Childhood Education
Jeff Borden, former vice president of instruction and academic strategy at Pearson, notes that social media extends learning far beyond the classroom, allowing students to interact with specialists in various fields. There are also concerns to increasing student access to social media sites, particularly if its use disrupts learning.
Teachers can use social networking to help their students connect and collaborate on a deeper level. These networks can enhance student relationships as well, giving socially anxious or introverted students a comfortable way to interact with their classmates. Many teachers use private networks like Edmodo, where postings are not visible to the general public.
Other teachers use Facebook or Twitter to connect their students to peers and experts outside the classroom. Applications like Twijector can project Twitter streams organized by hashtag onto classroom walls. Students can create a live, interactive stream by Tweeting questions, clarifications, or responses about a topic. Hashtag searches on Facebook or Twitter can link classroom discussions to broader social conversations, helping students see how their learning relates to real-world applications. When used outside the classroom, social media can function like professional development for educators.
In addition, effective early literacy teachers model the reading and writing processes during shared reading and writing. They explicitly comment aloud about what they are thinking as they read and write so as to make the process transparent to children. Studies of the relationship between early literacy development and school achievement have had a profound impact on the early literacy curriculum as an intervention process for children considered to be at risk for failure.
Risk factors include exhibiting a developmental disability e. The key curriculum components are viewed as standard or essential elements of instruction for all children. Nevertheless, children vary in how well any "basic" curriculum will serve them. They differ in what they bring to the preschool setting and what they gain from it.
Some children enter preschool having had the advantage of an abundance of experiences with books and other written materials, visiting interesting places, engaging in creative problem-solving and play, and participating in thought-provoking conversations and activities that serve to expand their general knowledge and intellectual development. For these children, both their linguistic and experiential backgrounds prepare them to benefit from a curriculum that reinforces and expands the rich reservoir of skills and knowledge these children possess.
Other children need more, different, or specifically targeted learning opportunities in preschool. Skillful teachers, and the specialists who advise them, make adjustments within the framework of the curriculum to make instruction more responsive to student needs. Issues related to a child's linguistic and cultural background represent a continuing and growing challenge for early literacy educators and curriculum developers.
Teachers of young children need to keep in mind that a child's prekindergarten classroom may be the first setting of sustained contact with a new culture and will help set the stage for early success or failure with formal schooling. Whenever practical, programs specifically focus on the development of both English and the child's home language. In general, the curriculum is implemented in ways that foster respect for what children bring to the learning situation and provide continuity between the child's experiences at home and those within the early childhood program.
Class size and teacher-pupil ratio are related to how well teachers meet the demand for high quality. The strongest evidence that preschool programs can produce large educational benefits for economically disadvantaged children comes from studies in which programs had both highly capable teachers and relatively small groups of children. Measuring children's early literacy development is an important part of a comprehensive early childhood program.
Assessment is used to measure development and learning, to guide teacher and program planning and decision making, to identify children who might benefit from special services, and to report to and communicate with others. These assessments, in which early literacy is often a major component, reflect an increasingly high-stakes climate in which programs are required to demonstrate effectiveness in improving school readiness and creating positive child outcomes. Concerns about trends in early literacy assessment include the use of assessments that focus on a limited range of skills and the nature of the assessments in use.
Both factors may cause teachers to narrow their curriculum and teaching practices, especially when the stakes are high. For example, the ability to name the letters of the alphabet is usually assessed in a decontextualized manner in which the child is asked to name each letter as it is presented, one at a time. Unfortunately, this can lead to teaching in which the letters of the alphabet are presented in a discrete and decontextualized manner apart from children's names or the application of that knowledge to other meaningful print.
The need for highly capable teachers is a constant theme in the literature on early childhood education. This is particularly true in the area of early literacy. National reports and government mandates have raised expectations for the formal education and training of early childhood teachers, especially in Head Start and in statefunded prekindergarten programs. In response, several states have established P-3 prekindergarten through third grade certification programs and launched incentive efforts to encourage teachers and caregivers to upgrade and expand their knowledge and skills.
Whether pre-service or in-service, the demands regarding what early childhood teachers need to know and do have changed dramatically. Described in broad terms, teachers of young children need to know the importance of oral language competencies, early literacy experiences and family literacy in learning to read. They need to be able to foster a wide range of language and literacy related dispositions and competencies, including a love of literacy and the development of vocabulary, oral language abilities, phonological awareness, and print-related knowledge.
They must be able to use a variety of instructional methods that are age and developmentally appropriate and have the ability to adjust those methods to the specific needs of individuals. They must be skilled in the ability to use multiple methods of monitoring children's literacy development and interpreting assessments in order to make sound instructional decisions. In order to develop the competencies of the type listed above, schools of education must provide pre-service programs that are grounded in current scientific knowledge about how children learn to read and write and the best instructional practices to help them learn.
Obviously, it is not possible to offer prospective teachers all the knowledge they need in a preservice program. Like other professional fields, the knowledge base for learning and teaching is strengthened as new knowledge is gained and meshed with old.
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A fairly recent and promising effort designed to address this issue is the appointment of literacy coaches to the instructional team of teachers, directors and other support staff. Literacy coaches are teachers with special expertise and training, who provide continuing support and guidance to classroom teachers in order to improve classroom instruction.
Thus, teacher education is viewed as an ongoing process involving rigorous pre-service training and experiential opportunities along with continued professional development. The link between supportive parental involvement and children's early literacy development is well established. Snow et. Tabors, Snow, and these have evidently worked to some extent, citing national surveys showing an increase in parent-child literacy activities among families with preschoolers.
These researchers recommend that efforts to promote shared reading with children go beyond giving books to families to include suggestions for how parents might engage in these activities to promote conversation and dialogue. They go further to suggest that it is not the frequency of book reading accompanies book reading alone that is related to children's language and literacy abilities, but the broader pattern of parent-child activities and interactions that support children's language and literacy development.
The challenge to get the message across to all parents, particularly to low-income and low-education parents, that everyday activities of all sorts, accompanied by interesting talk with lots of new vocabulary words, can play an important part in their children's language and literacy development. The policy recommendations offered in this brief emanate from basic understandings and findings from the research on early literacy.
Literacy development starts early in life and is highly correlated with school achievement. All the domains of a child's development, including literacy, are interrelated and interdependent. The more limited a child's experiences with language and literacy, the more likely he or she will have difficulty learning to read. Well-conceived standards for child outcomes, curriculum content, and teacher preparation help establish clarity of purpose and a shared vision for early literacy education.
Early literacy curricula and teaching practices should be evidence-based, integrated with all domains of learning. States and districts should establish standards for early literacy that are articulated with K programs and reflect consistency and continuity with overall program goals. At the same time, programs should be designed to provide comprehensive support for all children, including English Language Learners.
In many instances, this may require major changes in policies involving standards and accountability for children, programs and the professionals responsible for them. Competent leadership in the policy arena is essential. As Roskos and Vukelich aptly state, "What early literacy policy accomplishes in the next decades depends not only on the structures placed on and in settings and programs, but also on the people who act on those structures to create patterns of activity that can either advance, resist or stall change.
I found your article very informative and I would like to use your article for others to read in my group as we support infant and toddlers verbal and non-verbal language development. We also use the five finger strategy. Thank you. I have just recently found your blog and absolutely love the posts.
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Skip to main content. You are here Home. What we know: Literacy development starts early in life and is highly correlated with school achievement. The more limited a child's experiences with language and literacy the more likely he or she will have difficulty learning to read. Key early literacy predictors of reading and school success include oral language, Alphabetic Code, and print knowledge. Increased demands for program accountability are often heavily focused on assessments of children's early literacy development.
Highly capable teachers are required to implement today's more challenging early literacy curriculum. Teacher knowledge, respect and support for the diversity of children's families, cultures, and linguistic backgrounds are important in early literacy development. Policy recommendations: All children should have access to early childhood programs with strong literacy components that include clear adaptations for children with special needs.
Early literacy curricula and teaching practices should be evidence-based, integrated with all domains of learning, and understandable to staff members. Early literacy standards should be established that articulate with K programs and reflect consistency and continuity with overall program goals.
Early literacy assessment should use multiple methods and use the information to improve both teaching and the total preschool program. Standards for early childhood professionals should require staff to meet early literacy instructional standards. Parent involvement programs should have a strong early literacy component that guides parents and caregivers in providing early literacy experiences at home.
Support for English Language Learners should be specified and provided in both the home language and English where feasible.
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Research establishes four major principles of early literacy acquisition: Oral language is the foundation for literacy development. Supporting evidence Children reared in families where parents provide rich language and literacy support do better in school than those who do not. Languagepoor families are likely to use fewer different words in their everyday conversations and the language environment is more likely to be controlling and punitive.
Rare words are those that go beyond the typical 8, most common words in the English language. Understanding the meanings of words is critical to understanding what a child reads.
Good readers combine a variety of strategies to read words. Even when children have strong familiarity with the alphabetic code, they frequently meet words for which the pronunciation is not easily predictable.
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Supporting evidence Background knowledge about the world is built from a child's experiences. The more limited a child's experiences the more likely he or she will have difficulty comprehending what is read. Learning to read and write starts long before first grade and has long-lasting effects.
Supporting evidence Language and literacy develop concurrently and influence one another. What children learn from listening and talking contributes to their ability to read and write and vice versa. Early vocabulary development is an important predictor of success in reading comprehension. Both phonological awareness and vocabulary development begin early with participation in rhyming games and chants, shared book experiences, and extended conversations with adults. Instructional support that relies on the accumulation of isolated skills is not sufficient.
Teaching children to apply their knowledge and skills in meaningful situations has a significantly greater effect on their ability to learn to read. Supporting evidence Knowledge about print is built from children's experiences with books and other written materials. Shared book reading experiences have a special role in fostering early literacy development by building background knowledge about the world and concepts about books and print.
The answers to these essential questions involve consideration of the following five important and related issues: early literacy learning standards curriculum accountability and assessment teacher education and professional development home-school connections Those charged with the responsibility for early childhood education must carefully consider each of these issues. Issue 1: Developing and using early literacy learning standards The growing trend to generate standards for early childhood education may be the best indication of a felt need to specify curriculum content and child outcomes for early education programs.
Issue 2: The early literacy focus of effective curriculum Although most educators and policy makers agree that a strong start in early literacy is critical, there is less agreement about how this is best accomplished. Key components of the early literacy curriculum Oral Language. The literacy curriculum as a program for prevention and intervention Studies of the relationship between early literacy development and school achievement have had a profound impact on the early literacy curriculum as an intervention process for children considered to be at risk for failure.
Issue 4: Teacher education and professional development The need for highly capable teachers is a constant theme in the literature on early childhood education. Issue 5: Home-school connections The link between supportive parental involvement and children's early literacy development is well established. Endnotes Endnotes Click the "Endnotes" link above to hide these endnotes. Preschool education for economically disadvantaged children: Effects on reading achievement and related outcomes. Dickinson, Eds. New York: Guilford Press.
Bowman, B. Eager to learn: Educating our preschoolers. Heckman, J. January Investing in disadvantaged young children is an economically efficient policy. Karoly, L. Early childhood interventions: Proven results, future promises. Pathways to reading: The role of oral language in the transition to reading. Developmental Psychology, 41, Shonkoff, J. From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development.
Strickland, D. Literacy interventions for preschool children considered at risk: Implications for curriculum, professional development, and parent involvement. Fairbanks, J. Worthy, B. Maloch, J. Schallert Eds. Storch, S. Oral language and code-related precursors to reading: Evidence from a longitudinal structural model. Developmental Psychology, 38, Laying the groundwork for literacy. Educational Leadership, 61, Hart, B. Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Dickinson, D. Beginning literacy with language: Young children learning at home and school. Brookes Publishing. Clay, M. The early detection of reading difficulties. London: Heinemann. Duke, N. Assessment of reading comprehension. Stone, E. Silliman, B. Apel Eds. New York: The Guilford Press. Vocabulary processes.