Language, Literacy and Communication - Using Photos, Stories and Songs
Jun 11, 2011 Young Learners 2514 Views
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Language, Literacy and Communication Learning Outcomes are designed to encourage the development of fluent communication through speech and to begin familiarising children with the written word to encourage early literacy. Children need a working knowledge of the structure of language and a fairly wide vocabulary in order to be able to make sense of the written word.
We can make books about interesting occurrences and everyday happenings for children to "read". Photographs are excellent for this. The books need to be easy for children to handle and as durable as possible. Captions should be simple with lots of repetition and use of the children's names. As with all labels and captions for friezes use the script used by the local schools or type them. Small photograph albums, the size of a single photograph with pockets to slot in photographs or postcard sized paper with a caption on, are ideal. Stick a photograph on the front and display in the book corner. They can be assembled with the minimum amount of fuss, are guaranteed to be very popular and provide plenty of opportunities for children to achieve the learning outcomes relating to re-telling stories and experiences.
Stories, Rhymes and Songs
The curriculum should be planned to include a wealth of stories, rhymes and songs. These help to promote good language structure, develop memory skills and foster a love of language and books. The auditory skills of identifying and anticipating rhyming words and the thinking skill of predicting what will happen next are necessary skills used in reading. Simple guessing games involving the initial sound of objects and recognising the letter, can also be valuable. Story sessions can begin by identifying the correct day of the week from a list and finding the corresponding word to put on the "weather chart". This is a useful exercise in word recognition as is recording their own and their friends' names. Both lead to early success in reading and are invaluable confidence builders.
Planning the Environment
Interesting activities need to be contemplated by a well planned environment. There should always be pencil and paper within reach for emergent writing to be practised. Different types of paper can always be available but biros and felt pens should be used. All boxes and containers need to be labelled with the word and picture. Captions to friezes are more effective at the bottom where children can read and even touch them. Make use of illustrated labels to give instructions e.g. "4 can play with the water" or "hang your aprons here". Have a message board for such messages as "Please look for Thomas' dinosaur - he has lost it". Popular songs and rhymes could be clearly written and displayed or made into books for children to read. Make the book corner inviting by ensuring that the covers of books can be seen and that there is comfortable seating for children to enjoy books individually or with an adult. Ensure that there is a good range of story and factual books and that they promote positive images of gender, disability, culture and different languages.
Include props to encourage reading and emergent or pretend writing in the imaginative play area. A notepad and pencil by the telephone in the house corner, a diary, old cheque books, calendars, menus, travel brochures, open and closed signs, labelled food containers, the possibilities are endless.
It is important that children practice the fine line, circles and patterns which are produced in emergent or pretend writing. Allowing them to do this in free-play situations is far more interesting for them than doing writing patterns or tracing lines. Once they have the pencil control to do intricate patterns (usually at about the same time as they can draw a recognisable 'man') they are ready to copy letters. They will probably want to copy their own name without any prompting but it is important to ensure that they learn to form the letters correctly.
The earlier a child is exposed to the richness and the purpose and value of writing, the more positive her approach to reading and writing will be. By paying attention to the desirable outcomes this is easily achieved. You will be rewarded, as happened in my group when 4 year old Sean, with great urgency and enthusiasm said "Quick, I've got a story, can you write it down for me?". He dictated it to me, and then proceeded to read it with great pride and accuracy to anyone who would listen. It was his own unique version of Aladdin and he had thought of it as he was playing.