There are many key factors in developing literacy in early childhood education. Literacy is a complex issue, and early childhood education students and teachers should be aware of the different aspects of literacy development. This article will discuss the many aspects of developing literacy in early childhood education.
A very important part of literacy development is vocabulary. Vocabulary is directly related to reading comprehension and the larger a child’s vocabulary the easier it will be for a child to learn how to read (Wortham, 2005). Many children will enter preschool with vocabulary’s that reflect their environment at home, and it is important for a child to be exposed to new words in order to expand their vocabulary. Another part of developing literacy is understanding the connection between spoken words and written words. Learning words is a natural occurrence in early childhood education, but some words must be used with children several times before they become familiar with them.
Understand the alphabet is an important part of developing literacy in early childhood education. Children must understand how letters represent sounds; they must also make the connection between letter and the combination of letters and sounds to make words (Wortham, 2005). A main goal of early childhood education is making sure children can differentiate between letters easily. Letters are introduced to children slowly, and capital letters are emphasized because of they are easier to visualize (Wortham, 2005).
Another important part of developing literacy in early childhood education is developing phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is represented by a child’s ability to listen and understand the sounds of letters. Phonological awareness will promote the child’s ability to “hear the constituent sounds of words to include phonemes, syllables, and words” (Wortham, 2005). Phonological awareness should be taught along with the alphabet so children can understand how they work together (Wortham, 2005). This will help a child understand how letters and sounds come together to make words. Some examples of teaching phonological awareness in early childhood education are splitting words into syllables and rhyming words.
Developing literacy in early childhood education can utilize phonics in the classroom. Phonics help children use letter and phonological awareness to learn how to spell and read words. Phonics helps children match sounds with letters a child hears in the words they are trying to read (Wortham, 2005).
All of these areas of developing literacy are very important in early childhood education. Understanding these areas of literacy is the first step in promoting literacy in early childhood education.
Wortham, S. C. (2005). Early Childhood Curriculum: Developmental Bases for Learning and Teaching (4th Edition) (4 ed.). Alexandria, VA: Prentice Hall.