Pre-K students’ literacy development level can be determined through the use of many informal assessments. One activity I utilize in my classroom is a hands-on activity with letters. Students march around letters in a circle until the music stops. Students will name the letter and sound that letter makes when the music stops.
The results from the large group activity ―Marching Around the Alphabet‖ (Palmer, 1969) encompassed a majority of the students naming every letter and sound they encountered. A few students would run across the circle to look for the beginning letter of their name. In this case, a more formal evaluation should be done to concur that these students know more than one letter.
Another assessment used to determine children’s literacy level is implemented during small group instruction. I play Alphabet Bingo with my students during small group instruction. Alphabet Bingo implemented during small group instruction provides a more formal assessment.
Observation is the primary assessment tool in the Pre-K classroom. Bear (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012b) states that observation allows teachers to keep quiet and take notes, while students provide learning for others. Observation allows teachers to see students in action (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012b). Pre-K students are very active learners!
When selecting texts to connect to student learning, educators should analyze text according to the Literacy matrix (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012a). The Literacy matrix describes text as linguistic, semiotic, narrative, or informational.
These are some important characteristics when deciding which text to select for students: ◦ use of connective words ◦ size of print ◦ visual supports (Laureate Education, Inc., 2012a)
• One textbook I decided to use is Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman. This book is a narrative book for beginning readers. Go, Dog , Go! contains some of the sight words that I have introduced to my pre-k students.• This book also contains simple words that these students can blend together with my help. The pictures in this book will also help the students read the book.• This book belongs to the linguistic, narrative spectrum of the literacy matrix. This book is also considered to be easy text.
The online text that I chose is entitled Sebastian’s Roller Skates by Joan De Deu Prats. This book is found on the Storyline Online website at www.storylineonline.net. Storyline Online (Screen Actors Guild Foundation, 2011) makes this story come to life for young readers. My students can relate to this story because they are a little shy at times. Sebastian’s Roller Skates is a linguistic, narrative story. However, Storyline Online (Screen Actors Guild Foundation, 2011) also portrays a semiotic characteristic to the story. The pictures in the book are displayed vividly on the computer screen. Storyline Online (Screen Actors Guild Foundation, 2011) also exhibits the text at the bottom of the screen to help the readers follow along.
Another text I selected is My Big Truck Book by Roger Priddy. This book belongs to the informational, semiotic spectrum of the literacy matrix. There are a few words and sentences in this book, but this book is mainly picture oriented. This book gives information about different types of transportation vehicles. Many of the words in this book are difficult for pre-kindergartens to read. However, the pictures in this book may make reading easier.
Children’s phonemic awareness is nurtured through language-rich classroom environments (Tompkins, 2010). As children sing songs, chant rhymes, and read aloud word play books, they have the opportunity to segment words into sounds (Tompkins, 2010).
Critical literacy is defined as a way of thinking and a way of being that challenges texts, and our lives (Molden , 2007). When a reader examines text, he or she must look at why the author wrote the story (Molden, 2007).
Students are able to construct a deep understanding of text by allowing students to combine interpretations of illustrations and text to their own personal experiences (Clyde, 2003).
One lesson I incorporated used the book, Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman. I used this book with three of my students during small group instruction. These students tried to read the book using their sight word knowledge and pictures in the book. After reading the book, I asked these students several comprehension questions regarding the story. Each student was able to answer questions appropriately.
Another literacy lesson I incorporated utilized the story Sebastian’s Roller Skates by Joan De Deu Prats. After listening to this story online provided by Storyline Online (Screen Actors Guild Foundation, 2011), students discussed how they felt like Sebastian at times when they were shy. Students also discussed why they thought the author wrote this story and if this story is real or make-believe.
This student was able to analyze every letter and sound that he encountered during the ―March Around the Alphabet‖ (Palmer, 1969) activity. This student was also able to name every letter and sound during Alphabet Bingo. This student could also read some of the sight words listed on the title of a book.
This student was able to name every letter and sound he came across during the ―March Around the Alphabet‖ (Palmer, 1969) activity. He was able to name every letter and sound during Alphabet Bingo. This student tries to put letters together to spell words. He also knows how to spell several family members names.
This student was able to name each letter and sound that he encountered during the ―March Around the Alphabet‖ (Palmer, 1969) activity. This student also named each letter in Alphabet Bingo. This student actually tries to put sounds together to read words in a book. He is often the first to respond to questions.
During The Beginning Reader, Prek-3, I have been given valuable information to help foster my students’ literacy development. I hope that you will utilize this information that I have presented to help your students/children become proficient readers!
Clyde, J. A. (2003). Stepping inside the story world: The subtext strategy—a tool for connecting and comprehending. The Reading Teacher, 57(2), 150–160. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012a). Analyzing and selecting texts. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012b). Assessing word knowledge. [Webcast]. The Beginning Reader, PreK-3. Baltimore, MD: Author. Molden, K. (2007). Critical literacy, the right answer for the reading classroom: Strategies to move beyond comprehension for reading improvement. Reading Improvement, 44(1), 50–56. Palmer, H. (1969). Learning basic skills through music. Educational Activities. Los Angeles, CA. Author. Screen Actors Guild Foundation. (2011). Storyline Online. Sebastian’s roller skates. Retrieved from http://www.storylineonline.net/. Tompkins, G. E. (2010). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.