Skip to main content

Overview of Literacy

Understanding Literacy Instruction For Young Children

View the Introductory Overview of Early Literacy -  PowerPoint presentation.

Review the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s position statement  Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children -  from Birth through Age 8.

  • What are the three areas of knowledge that practitioners must consider when making decisions? Pages 9-10 - 
  • What are the twelve principles of child development and learning that should inform practice? Pages 10-15 - 
  • What are the teaching practices that are developmentally appropriate for young children from birth through the primary grades? Pages 17-20 - 

Read The Early Years: Promoting a Promising Start in Literacy Development written by the faculty of the California State University through the Center for the Advancement of Reading and Writing - . Reflect on the following:

  • What do the images in the document convey?
  • What “fundamental understandings” about literacy development and young children are identified?
  • What are the essential components of early literacy programs?
  • Skim each of the vignettes. Select one to read closely and identify (1) where literacy instruction is occurring, and (2) which developmentally appropriate practices identified in Section 2 -  (beginning on page 17) of the NAEYC document are evident.
  • How does the information in this document inform TK?

There are many facets to literacy development, which begins early in life.

View segments from the "Toddling Toward Reading - " episode of the Reading Rockets website and respond using the Video Viewing Guide.

California Context: Learning Expectations

California's educators and public stakeholders identified learning expectations appropriate for preschoolers and for children/youth in the K-12 public school system. View them and consider the questions that follow each.

Read the California preschool language and literacy foundations -   beginning on page 56 of the document available online:

Consider the following:

  • How are the foundations organized?
  • What age groups are addressed?
  • How do the foundations align with what you learned in activities 3 and 4 of this module?

Read the Kindergarten CCSS for ELA/Literacy -  online.

  • Think about how the kindergarten standards build on the preschool foundations.
    (You may find it helpful to view Table 1.3 in the Alignment document.)
  • Select one of the Kindergarten standards in reading.
  • What is a developmentally appropriate way to teach it?
  • What would not be an appropriate way to teach the standard to young learners?
  • Make connections with the information in the NAEYC document.

Using Resources

After reviewing the learning expectations (i.e., the preschool foundations and kindergarten standards), skim sections of the following frameworks for implementation guidance:

  • California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 1 (See especially pages 128-157.)
  • English Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (See especially Chapter 3.)

Final Thoughts

Return to activity you completed at the beginning of the PowerPoint presentation.

Think about the following, depending upon which option you selected:

  • Return to the list of words you generated. What changes would you make to that list now?
  • Reflect on your memories of your literacy development. What might be the same or different for your future students? Who will those students be, and what will that mean for you as their teacher?

Extension (optional)

Visit a TK classroom. Observe and ask about literacy development.

  • Record your observations of literacy development in action. Consider interactions, the environment, instruction, and the curriculum.
  • Talk with the teacher. What does he/she consider crucial for supporting children’s literacy development? How does that fit with what you know about the complexities of literacy development?

This section provides information about using accommodations and adaptions with young children with disabilities.

Accommodations and Modifications:

  • An accommodation is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. These changes are typically physical or environmental changes.
  • Modifications are generally connected to instruction and assessment;, things that can be tangibly changed or modified. Usually a modification means a change in what is being taught to or expected from the student. Making the assignment easier so the student is not doing the same level of work as other students is an example of a modification.