Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thinking Thursday: Emergent Literacy #6

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

I think children are storytellers at heart. Storytelling is a great way for little ones to organize their experiences and thoughts by reliving events. It's also a great way to imagine different scenarios, play out different choices and outcomes and practice expressing thoughts and emotions with words. Storytelling is evident during imaginative play, but it's also a sign of early literacy.

Pre-Reading Skill #6
Narrative Skills
Narrative skills is the ability to tell stories and describe things and events. Many of the books children encounter tell a story. There is a beginning, a middle and an end.
As children are able to tell their own stories, they begin to understand the pattern of stories leading to improved reading comprehension. Reading comprehension improves because children are better able to organize the meaning of the words by knowing they are looking for a beginning, a middle and an end.

We can help children practice narrative skills by asking them what comes next when reading a familiar story with them. We can also help them process the story by drawing a picture of some part of it. We can then ask them about the picture and let them use their narrative skills to describe the picture, what came before and what comes next.

But, I think the BEST way to help little ones develop narrative skills is just to listen to their stories. They are constantly telling stories; we don't need to ask for them. Sammi constantly tells me about what happened the last time she was at Grandma's house or what she did with Aunt Maren or what who she played with outside. If I'm quiet and listen, I get the most amazing insights into her life. But if I pry for stories or information, she clams up and I am left wondering about her world.

Little ones figure out that books contain stories. When they know they like stories, they are drawn to books to relive their favorites and discover new stories. As parents, care givers, nurturers we can listen to children's stories and offer our own when the mood is right.

Next week we'll sum up the emergent literacy skills with a guest post by Colleen, the Homeschool Coach.

Have you entered the giveaway for tickets to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum? Click here to learn more and enter! Giveaway ends May 26.


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