Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Emergent Literacy #4

Emergent Literacy #1: Print Motivation
Emergent Literacy #2: Print Awareness
Emergent Literacy #3: Letter Knowledge
Emergent Literacy #4: Vocabulary
Emergent Literacy #5: Phonological Awareness
Emergent Literacy #6: Narrative Skills

We took a break in April from the emergent literacy skills while we waited for the last workshop at the Orem Public Library. It was the last Saturday in April and just as exciting and informative as the first! So now, as promised, we are finishing up the last three skills this month. For a refresher, refer to the list above to check out the skills we've already discussed and for a sneak peek at the ones to come this month! Let's jump right in.

Pre-Reading Skill #4

Vocabulary is, simply put, knowing the names of things. Little ones build their vocabulary by coming in contact with new words again and again. It takes many encounters with the same word for it to stick in a little ones vocabulary. It's one of the reasons they love repetition so much. Each time they hear the same thing again, they strengthen the connection between word and object. So even though it gets tiresome to read the same book time and time again day after day, just remember, it's making a difference in your little ones' vocabulary!

Other ways to build vocabulary include using nonfiction books to learn about different things. We used books on construction vehicles to learn about all the things happening on our street when they replaced the water lines. It served us well because we moved and the are replacing water lines on our new street now! Sammi is in HEAVEN. And the workers are all impressed with Sammi because she knows what's going on. They let her in their lunch circle on Tuesday. So cute to see her all dressed in pink sitting on the grass with the guys in their reflective jackets and hard hats.

Back to literacy and building vocabulary! Find fun phrases in books and repeat them with your little ones. If you're really brave you can add a melody to the phrase and make it a song. One favorite book that we do this with is Trashy Town. The chorus reads "Dump it in, Smash it down, Drive around the Trashy Town." We even added actions.

You can also choose books that will help your child put words to emotions and experiences. This is a great way to help them deal with feelings like anger, frustration, disappointment and sadness as well as joy, excitement and anticipation. When children can put words to their thoughts and emotions, it's easier to stop or even prevent a meltdown or temper tantrum.

The bottom line is that having a good vocabulary will make it easier for little ones to learn to read down the road.

What do your little ones know about that reflects their unique interests?


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