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Supporting Literacy Beyond Reading
January 7, 2020
The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, "What are you going through?
-Simone Weil
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In an article included in the Exchange Essentials collection, Language Development, Rachel Robertson writes:

“Literacy development has become a primary focus in education. Much attention has been given to statistics illustrating American children's lack of achievement in this important learning domain. In an effort to increase achievement and encourage competence and success, reading initiatives have blossomed throughout the country. While this is commendable and necessary, it is also important to look at the other areas of literacy development — speaking, listening, and writing — to ensure complete development.

All literacy development begins from birth and each area of literacy development contributes to the development of the others, allowing children with well-rounded literacy learning opportunities to achieve higher levels of comprehension and success. Early childhood educators have a particular responsibility to play a significant role in this endeavor, as the early years are ideal for introducing and supporting all of these skills and competencies.”

And in Literacy: A Beginnings Workshop Book, Dennie Palmer Wolf reminds us of why the conversations children have with each other are essential for their literacy development:

“Because adults have more facts, words, and grammatical rules, we often assume that it is teachers and parents who teach children how to talk. But stand in the doorway of any room in any child care center and you instantly notice how much of the talking, whispering, chanting, yelling, and teasing flows back and forth between children.

Child-to-child talk many not be as elegant or as smooth running as adult-child conversations. But because it takes place between (more or less) equal partners who have a stake in the ongoing activity, peer conversations may teach children some very special language lessons.”





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