Friday, September 13, 2013

Pre-K Literacy Goals

"The process of becoming literate is not a one-time event that begins when children start formal schooling and reading instruction in kindergarten or first grade. Rather, the acquisition of literacy occurs as part of a developmental continuum that begins early in life, as early as birth and the first attempts at communication between a parent and child." -- Birth to Five Literacy Plan, Oregon

As stated in the above quote, preparing children for kindergarten is a process that begins many years before entry into formal schooling. Young children need opportunities to be active in learning, which will help them develop emergent skills for kindergarten. According to the Birth to Five Literacy Plan of Oregon, these are the emergent/readiness skills that pre-k children need to acquire:
  • Recognizing letters of alphabet
  • Identifying beginning sounds of words
  • Identifying primary colors
  • Counting to 20
  • Writing own name
  • Amount of time read prior to kindergarten
  • Accumulated experience with words also lists goals for  pre-k children -- important skills that they should obtain prior to kindergarten. These goals are worked on in many preschools across the United States. Here some that are listed on the website:
  • Simple sentence structure
  • Ways to handle a book
  • Numbers and prewriting skills, shape identification, letter recognition, sounds and rhyming
  • Oral language skills
  • Vocabularies
  • Conversations with other children and adults
  • Proficiency in language
  • Literacy skills related to writing and reading
  • Letters of the alphabet
  • Listening to comprehension
  • Motivation to read
  • Print awareness
  • Ways to use and appreciate books
Being knowledgeable about the skills that pre-k children need to acquire gives a sense of purpose to the time and type of literacy activities that parents/guardians provide for their children. The amount of time in literacy activities in the early years greatly affects the the child for the rest of his or her life: "...a poor reader at the end of first grade has an .88 probability of being a poor reader at the end of fourth grade" (Juel, 1988, Birth to Five Literacy Plan of Oregon) A poor reader in the elementary years leads to the likelihood that the child will eventually drop out of high school due to not meeting the basic expectations or state standards. High school drop outs often become engaged in negative behavior such as drug abuse, teen pregnancy and can get arrested for poor choices.*

The bottom line: Parents/guardians must consistently engage their children in quality, meaningful and engaging activities to boost literacy skills. Being a literate individual prior to kindergarten greatly affects ones academic achievement for the rest of his or her school career, and ultimately success in life.

Keeping these goals and skills in mind for young learners, I will provide parents, guardians and educators with resources and advice this month.

Go read with your children! :)

*Many thanks to the Birth to Five Literacy Plan for excellent information for my blog post

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