There are many ways preschool teachers can support the early literacy and language development of their students. Whether reading the 2013 Caldecott Medal Winner, This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, making snowmen out of socks after reading about snow, or even celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday each March, the list of literacy activities and early childhood books seems endless. But what does the research say?
At ABC Music & Me, we keep tabs on the latest early literacy research and incorporate it into our preschool curriculum. We put together a list of 10 things a teacher can do to instill a love of reading in students while also supporting phonemic awareness and early literacy and language development.
10 ways teachers can support early literacy development (and a love of reading!)
- During storytime, include a mixture of books that you choose as well as books that your students choose. Along with the “Line Leader” for the day, why not also pick one child to be the “Story Student” to help you pick one of the books you will read.
- Throughout the week, provide opportunities for students to “act out” the stories read in the class.
- Add eBooks to your (virtual) bookshelf. Research shows eBooks can be especially motivating to boys and reluctant readers.
- Involve parents. Early literacy development begins at home so why not invite parents to be mystery readers in the classroom each week. Be sure all parents know about the importance of not only reading to their children 20 minutes each day but also the value of letting children see them reading for pleasure.
- If a new vocabulary word is introduced in a story, tell preschoolers what it means and then re-read the page substituting the new vocabulary word with the definition. This increases comprehension and vocabulary acquisition.
- Incorporate sight words into your reading. Ask children to listen for the sight word of the day (or week). Invite children to raise their hands when they hear the word and select a child to find the word on the page.
- Listen to audio stories. After preschool, children will spend up to 75 percent of classroom time listening. Listening to favorite audio stories supports emerging literacy and active listening—vital skills needed for early academic success. Kindermusik International offers audio stories available for download here.
- Clap or tap to the beat of favorite nursery rhymes. This helps preschoolers tune into the rhythm of spoken words.
- Ask open-ended questions during storytime, such as “what will happen next?” or “how do you think the character felt when that happened?”
- Participate in a music class. Phonological awareness, vocabulary acquisition, listening skills, and verbal memory can all benefit when children become actively engaged in a music class. Plus, research even shows that children who participate in music classes are more likely to score higher on reading comprehension tests.
Supplemental preschool curriculum uses music to support early literacy
Created by Kindermusik International, ABC Music & Me is a standards-based supplemental daycare curriculum. All three levels of our toddler curriculum and preschool curriculum boost early literacy and language development while also cultivating turn-taking and sharing, improving coordination, enhancing creativity, and more. Plus, ABC Music & Me involves parents by providing materials for families to use together at home where a child learns best.