Teaching literacy in your preschool classroom includes both reading and writing. Children learn that letters are symbols, that these symbols create teaching humor preschool and those words can be written on paper and then read to gain meaning.
However, this is a process of baby steps. A child must break the code by being exposed to and being able to use each of the steps. That is where we come in! It is our job to present these steps while teaching literacy to our preschoolers. The best way for teaching literacy is to incorporate into all aspects of your early childhood classroom making it a print rich environment.
Teaching literacy happens in how you set up the room! Create a print rich environment in your preschool classroom. When you create your center signs and shelf labels include words as well as pictures. Be sure to include various languages that suit your group of children and support their primary home language as well. Create your daily schedule in the same manner, using words and pictures. Place your visual schedule at the children’s eye level. The children will be able to “read” and “tell” time by looking at this schedule and knowing which activity is coming next.
I am not a fan of flashcards for the purpose of “show, repeat, memorize” as a way to learn letters. I do, however, love them displayed in different areas of the environment where children can see them throughout the day. I know they look adorable as a border of sorts at the top of your classroom walls. However, why are they way up there? They are more for decoration or for the benefit of visiting parents. Sorry, but this is the only benefit to having them 5-7 feet high on the walls!
If the purpose is for visual teaching- teaching literacy- then the children need to see them each day and therefore you need to place them at eye level! Use them as a border around the middle of your walls! They will still look adorable and the children will benefit from them! Place alphabet strips at child eye level at your writing center. ABC or Alphabet Interest Learning Center. Place alphabet cards at your magnetic easel with magnetic letters for the children to match. I often can find these cards and strips in the teachers’ section of the Dollar Store in the summer or at Amazon.
Here are some of my favorites! Alphabet Desk Strips – Laminate and use at your Writing Center! Pocket Chart Alphabet Cards- These are GREAT for free use in a Wall Pocket Chart! Nature Themed English Alphabet 5×7 Wall Cards for Your Middle of the Room Border!
Teaching Literacy Through Name Recognition and Formation What is the first word that most children learn to recognize, read and write? This is the BEST place to start! Use their name often and everywhere throughout your classroom! Before we talk about ways to incorporate their names in the classroom, let’s talk about the age-old question: Do we print their names using lower case letters or print it in all upper case? Here is my philosophy on this question. Throughout our lives we will NOT see our names printed in all upper case letters.
As teachers, we should print their names the way in which the children will see them- with the first letter capitalized. Most children who are printing their names do use all upper case. And let’s face it, upper case letters are SO much easier for them to make because most of these letters are blocked with straight lines. Lower case letters have more curves and are more challenging for children’s fine motor skills.
Let them print their names the way that they know. We made labels before the children started school with a picture of an object to represent the child as well as his name. Or sometimes we used photos of the children instead. Nearly a dozen labels were created for each child. Okay, now let’s look at ways to use their names throughout the classroom!