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EDUC 479

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My Reading Routines

I can remember my parents reading to me every single day as a child. My mom was a stay at home mom and so she read to me many times throughout the day if I wanted her to. My mom has also told me that I would read to myself long before I knew how to really read. I would sit in my room with a book and make up a story by looking at the pictures or I would read a book that I had memorized. My mom has also told me that I had a favorite book as a child "Go Dog Go" by P.D. Eastman. She said I wanted to read that book all the time. Her and my dad would try to skip pages in the book because they were so tired of reading it to me, but I always knew if they had skipped a page. I can also remember my dad reading to me at night before I went to bed. He would either read me a few books that my brother or I had picked out or tell a story. He was a really good story teller. I really enjoyed the time my parents took to read to me as a child. Reading with my parents are some of the best memories I have of my childhood. I know that I would not have such a love for reading now if it had not been for my devoted parents. I hope that I can provide the same great experience with books for my children that my parents provided for me.

Developing Literacy Centers Article Reflection

I learned some really great information reading this article. I always wonder what "good" literacy centers are made up of. I always hear of various trends, but often times these things come and go. I think there is a core set of centers and activities that seems to always find their way back into the education world. I think this article does an excellent job of describing exactly what you should have in your classroom if you are in an early childhood setting. An effective reading area that is comfortable, has good lighting, and tons of age appropriate books, books from that represent a variety of cultures, literacy manipulatives, writing center, literacy props, alphabetic awareness materials, and oral skills materials. These are just a few of the key things that make up a good early literacy classroom. There is much more that can be done to enhance the environment. This article also had many ideas about how to enhance your classroom library and reading area. This is something I am always interested in reading about since I am a reading major. I really like the ideas that the author presented for creating an effective reading area. The ideas included a quiet well lit area large enough for five or six students, comfortable, enticing, engaging, well organized and well stocked with quality books. These are just a few things that are necessary to create a good classroom library and reading area.

Learning to Read and Write Reflection

I agree with the author of the article when they say that as an early childhood educator we cannot just take the practices that may work in an older grade and adapt them for younger children. Children go through so many specific developmental stages, especially in early childhood, it is important that we implement teaching methods that will support these important developmental stages. I really enjoyed reading about the recent research that has been done in early childhood education. Many of the findings are somewhat obvious to me since I have some background knowledge in the area. However, to someone who is new the the field it is very important information to know. The finding that stood out to me the most was that children who are learning English as a second language need to first have a strong foundation in their primary language. It makes sense when I think about it though because how can anyone be successful in a second language if they don't know much about their first language. The recommendations of the NAYEC for adequate policies and other resources were very interesting and helpful as well. I think those tips are great to know. I think that they will be very helpful for me when I get my own classroom. I hope to be in a K-3 classroom and these tips will really help me to be the best early childhood educator I can be. I know that I have to be well educated and keep up on my education in order to be the best teacher I can be. Reading articles like this one will really help me to do that.

Breaking the Letter a Week Tradition Article Reflection

I was very interested to read this article about moving away from the traditional letter a week way of teaching the alphabet. I was taught using this common practice in kindergarten. I remember singing songs and doing activities all week that had to do with the letter we happened to be studying that week. I don't remember much else about how effective it was though. I can really understand why that trend is going away however because we now have a major whole language movement coming through the education field. The article suggests a variety of ways to teach children the alphabetic principle besides the traditional letter a week way. I really think that the ideas they suggest are valid. Some of the strategies include kid watching, language watching, using environmental print, playing with the alphabet, songs, chants, poetry, and alphabet books. Many of these strategies are used in the letter a week way of teaching, however they don't only encompass one letter at a time. These strategies focus on all the letters at once. Research has suggested that the alphabetic principle can be learned naturally with minimal guidance. It has proven that children do not necessarily need to learn all the letters and sounds of the alphabet at once before they can learn to read. It says that classroom teachers need to immerse their students in authentic reading and writing opportunities. Through these opportunities children can make connections and generalizations that help them learn the letters and sounds through a natural process.

EWU Children's Center Visit

I really enjoyed the visit we took over to the EWU Children’s Center. I was somewhat disappointed when we got there because I did not see many of the characteristics of a good early literacy environment that we had discussed in class. I saw very few books in the classrooms. I also was disappointed in the amount of print on the walls of the classrooms. I know that one really important factor in providing a good early literacy environment is a print rich environment. That means there needs to not only be a lot of books, but there needs to be words on the walls as well. I also thought the rooms lacked character and interest. The walls seemed pretty sparse in the majority of the rooms. I am not saying that all the rooms were the same and all of them we bad. However, I think they could all use some improvement in one area or another. One aspect I thought was excellent in almost all of the rooms was the fact that they had the children’s art work on display. I think it is really important that we display the work that the children in our classroom do. Whether it is art or writing, I think it gives children a sense of pride when they see their own work displayed on the walls of a classroom or on a bulletin board. I also realize that it is easier said than done to provide an amazing early literacy environment. It takes a lot of money for one. And money is one of the many things that are lacking at most of these child care facilities.

School Readiness Reflection

Knowing whether or not a child is ready for school can be though. In our society we seem to think that age is a good determiner of readiness. In my opinion age is not the most appropriate way to determine readiness for school. Emotional and behavioral development seems to be much more appropriate. Since all children develop at different times there is no way that we can say age six is when all children are ready to go into kindergarten. Another factor that must be thought about is the fact that not all children have the opportunity to go through a pre-kindergarten program. Those that have will be ready for kindergarten far sooner than those tho have not had the same opportunity. I do however still understand the point that is made by the NAYEC. Their position is that children must enter school based on age. I understand that this is the only way that many students will receive a high quality education. Mastery of skill may not be the best way to prove readiness for kindergarten because how are some of these students supposed to ever be able to master these skills without the opportunity for high quality education. One thing that I struggle with is the fact that I have seem kids in my placement classroom come into first grade that are definitely not ready to be in first grade. They should still be in kindergarten. It makes me wonder if these kids would have been held back one more year before entry into kindergarten if they would be better off. Most of them are so far behind it is going to be hard for them to catch up. However, there is no way to ever know what would have been better for them. I guess we just have to trust that our teachers will provide a good education for all their students regardless of their readiness for kindergarten.

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Elements of Early Literacy Reflection

We talked about the various elements of literacy in class today. It was a great topic because I know how important it is to know the elements of literacy if I am going to be teaching it. The elements included language and vocabulary development, strategies to figure out words, developing comprehension of text and concepts about books, writing, spelling, and literacy development, motivating reading and writing, and organizing and managing the literacy program.

The information we discussed was extremely helpful. I was able to think about how I would apply all of these elements in my classroom. I know that these things can be adapted for many grade levels and they are important to incorporate in all classrooms in some form or another. All students even if they know how to read should be exposed to language and vocabulary development all throughout their education. Students should also be exposed to strategies for both developing comprehension and figuring out words they do not know. These elements should be seen in classrooms of all ages. Developing reading skills and practicing those skills does not and should not stop at elementary school. it should continue throughout the child's school career in my opinion.

I know that when I was in school my teacher past elementary school did not put any focus on any of the elements we talked about in class. I don't think that should be the case. We need to continually develop the skills of our students so they will be successful readers for their entire lives. I am really looking forward to incorporating many of these things into my classroom. I am also looking forward to hearing each of the groups present on the topics in further depth. I am hoping to get even more ideas from the presentations.

Organizing and Managing a Literacy Program Presentation Reflection

The group presentation about organizing and managing a literacy program was really interesting. I really enjoyed how the group members cam around individually to each of the tables and shared their part of the presentation with us. It was much more personal and I think I learned a lot more than if they would have just stood up there and talked about their topic.

The talked about preparing the physical environment to increase learning. Most of the information they talked about I already knew so it was just reiterated. They also talked a lot about integrating projects with other content areas. I found this part very interesting. I really liked learning about building reading into all the content areas. Reading is not just reading. We use reading in every single subject so it is important to teach it that way. Tailoring instruction to meet the needs of individuals is another topic they discussed that was very informative. They talked about appropriate centers and how to make sure you are meeting the needs of each student. Guided reading groups, center activities, and making time for one on one instruction were all some tips they gave us to make sure we meet the needs of each student in our class.

I really liked how one of the group members brought in her grandmother in order to get across the point of having multicultural perspectives in the classroom. I think it is extremely important for there to be lots of different cultures in the classroom. Bringing in a family member to read to the class is extremely beneficial for students. It is a very easy way to incorporate many cultures in the classroom.

Involving the families of students in the classroom and in the literacy program is very important. Keeping students informed about what is happening in the classroom will help the students learn. It will keep the parents on the same page as the teacher and it will be much easier for the students to succeed.

Group Presentation Summary and Self Assessment

Our group presented on the topic of language and vocabulary development. It was really interesting to get to investigate this topic. It is such an important element in literacy because we as educators need to know how to get help our students acquire language and vocabulary. There are many important activities that are great to use in the classroom. These activities are really good for students because they are fun and they are extremely educational. They really benefit the students' ability to acquire language and vocabulary. I know that I want to work in the primary grades, and many of the students will have acquired a lot of language already, but vocabulary acquisition will be very important. The students will be learning new words each day and they will be exposed to a lot more language than they are probably used to. It is very important that all teachers, especially in the early childhood field and younger elementary grades, know how to build the language and vocabulary of their students.

I was really pleased with our presentation on the subject. We all worked really well together and were all on the same page about how we wanted to present the information and the information we needed to present. Everyone did their equal share and I think everyone did a really good job in presenting their information. I think I did well presenting my portion of the information. I felt like I presented everything I needed to and I did so in a good way. I think I deserve to get a 4.0 on the presentation. I was very well prepared and I did all the research to make sure the information I presented was recent and accurate.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Presentation Reflection

I really enjoyed the presentation about phonemic and phonological awareness. It was very informative. They gave me some really good ideas that I will be able to use in my classroom. They talked a lot about the alphabetic principle. The alphabetic principle is when students learn how to connect sound to print. This is a very important step for young children to make. It is essential to the reading process that students can make that connection.

The group gave the class some great ideas about how to help students learn their letters and sounds. They talked a lot about having an alphabet discovery table. It was great to hear all the ideas that the group had to share about the types of things to have on the discovery table. It was also interesting to hear their ideas about what types of activities to have the students do with the various items on the table.

I also learned a lot about phonics. They shared some really good information about how to teach phonics to young children. I really enjoyed hearing their opinions. Phonics seems to be such a touchy subject in education with the whole language and phonics debate I thought they did a great job of presenting the information objectively. I really liked how they talked about teaching patterns, not rules. Most students will benefit more from learning the patterns than the rules. Students will remember the patterns much more than the rules.

The group did a great job presenting the information. I learned a lot from their presentation.

Developing Comprehension Presentation Reflection

I really enjoyed listening to the presentation about developing comprehension. The group shared some really good information with the class. They showed many great examples of how we can develop the comprehension of our students in many different ways. I really liked the idea of a prop box. They showed us some really great ideas for items to have in the classroom and things for students to look at so they can better understand a topic.

Another great point I enjoyed in the group presentation was the story board they showed us. I think it worked really well with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The pieces they had to put on the board were great visuals for the students. I really liked how the group member showed us how to set up the board so that it was in sequential order and how to put the food so it showed the increasing number of items. I think she did a great job of modeling the use of a story board for us.

I also learned how they shared with us how to implement an art project. I really liked the fact that they said we should not show the students the finished art project. We need to allow the students to use their imagination and creativity and create whatever they wish.

I learned a lot from this groups presentation. I really liked how the group modeled for us how to implement many of the tips they shared with us.

Literacy Development Presentation Reflection

This group did a good job of presenting about literacy development. They did a good job of having the class do things instead of just listening to what they had to say. I really liked the way they started out the presentation. They had us draw a picture using the opposite hand than we usually use. It was really interesting because it was easier for me to draw using my left hand than to write with my left hand. My group was given markers and non-lined paper. It was nice to not having to worry about staying in the lines. I can see why some people say we should not give young children lined paper. It confines the children to a small amount of space and does not allow them to focus on what they are actually writing. They are too worried about staying within the lines.

The group also talked about a lot of the things the other groups had mentioned. They discussed having lots of books in the classroom, having a print rich environment, and reading aloud everyday. They reiterated a lot that had already been talked about by the other groups. However, hearing it again emphasized how important many of the points were.

Motivating Reading and Writing Presentation Reflection

This presentation on motivating reading and writing was really good. They talked a lot about reading aloud. They said that reading aloud is the single most important activity to build successful readers. I totally agree with this statement. I think that reading aloud to our students is extremely important. It gives our students language development, vocabulary development, as well as modeling for reading. Students gain so much information and development through being read aloud to. The group said that reading aloud sparks the child's imagination, allows children to create mental pictures, gives students background knowledge about various subjects, promotes discussion, and introduces children to a variety of literature genres.

The group also discussed the importance of dramatic play. It is important that we not forget the impact of play and the use of imagination on reading and language development. We need to allow our students to have fun and use their imagination and creativity when they are learning. We need to make sure that we foster their creativity and imagination so they do not lose it. There are many different ways to do so. One of the ways to group shares with us is through well designed literacy centers. We have to make sure the students have a variety of opportunities to learn and express themselves through these centers.

I learned a lot about motivating reading through this group's presentation. They presented a lot of great information to us.

Competition and Extrinsic Motivators Reflection

In class today we talked about using extrinsic motivators and competition in the classroom. We had a discussion about whether or not using either of the two was beneficial or harmful. The discussion was very interesting because everyone has a very different opinion about each and I think our opinions stem from the way we were brought up and whether or not our parents or teachers used either. I think that both extrinsic motivators and competition need to be used with caution. I don't think they are horrible, but I don't think they should be used frequently either.

With extrinsic motivators, we have to be careful when we use them. We want students to want to do well in school and behave well without needing to receive something in return for their good behavior. It is really a fine line to walk when you use "prizes" in the classroom. Students need to learn that they have to do somethings not because they get something, but because it is rewarding within itself.

As far as competition goes it is also a fine line. I think competition can be really good, however if it is used improperly t can really harm some students. Some students can get too competitive and have to win at all costs and the students who lose may get hurt by the fact that they cannot win. It is a really tough thing to think about.

I think both competition and extrinsic motivators can be beneficial if used the right way. However, they can be harmful as well. If I use them in my classroom I know I will have to be very careful and make sure that I do not overstep the boundaries. It is a really fine line to walk when dealing with both competition and extrinsic motivators.

Philosophy of Early Literacy

I believe that early literacy is a very important part of early childhood education. It is something that cannot be taken lightly. All teachers need to know all about early literacy in order to help their students build the language and vocabulary they need.

One of the main things needed in order to  promote early literacy is have an environment that is print rich. There needs to be lots of words, letters, and print at eye level for the students all around the classroom. There need to be lots of age appropriate books in the classroom as well. Students need to have books readily available to them. There also needs to be labels on most classroom items. This helps students make the connection between an object and the word that goes with it.

Another way to promote literacy in the classroom is to read aloud every day. One of the best things we can do for our students is read aloud to them. Through reading aloud we model reading, introduce students to literature genres, promote discussion, and encourage creativity. Reading aloud is extremely important and we should never push it aside to make time for something else. Reading aloud is one of the most important things we can do each day.

We can also promote literacy in the classroom by making sure our students have many different opportunities to learn and in many different ways. We need to make sure that we individualize our instruction to make sure that we are reaching each one of our students. Not all students learn in the same way or are motivated in the same way. As educators we must make sure that we modify our instruction to match the needs of our students.

There are many ways to promote literacy in the classroom and as early childhood educators we must try to implement all of them. We have to make sure all of our students have an opportunity to learn and be successful. We must give them the help they need and deserve.

Final Reflection

I really learned a lot in this class. I made sure to take notes in class and always pay attention. I was very pleased with how much I learned about early literacy. Being a reading major, I came into this class thinking I already knew all I was going to learn about literacy. However, I was pleased that by how much I learned. I did not know how much a difference there was between early literacy and literacy in general.

I came to class everyday and I learned a lot each day in class. It was a nice difference from the classes I am used to. I have written a reflection from each day in class and a reflection of each presentation I listened to in class. I think I deserve to get a 4.0 in this class because I have done everything that has been asked of me.

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Learning to Read and Write

School Readiness

Extrinsic Motivators Article

Children and Competition Article