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Learning to read is a combination of reading skills, experiences,
motivations, and attitudes toward reading.
As an educator, I need to learn the reading skills mastered, reading
experiences, motivations for reading, attitude towards reading, and
interests of my emergent and beginning literacy learners.
One of the components of the Framework for Literacy Instruction
(Laureate Education, 2014) is to use data to determine cognitive and
noncognitive next steps in instruction.
There are a variety of assessments I can use to assess those components
for each literacy learner.
Emergent literacy learners are beginning to learn concepts of print, discover words, learn the
alphabet, learn the sounds the letters make, and recognize sounds, syllables, and rhyming words.
For my first assessment I used the Reutzel-Cooter Auditory Discrimination Test. The emergent
literacy learner had to tell me if the given two words were the same word or not. According to
Reutzel and Cooter, since phonemic awareness was critical in early literacy, auditory
discrimination was essential (2016).
The second assessment I used was the Mow-Motorcycle Task. The emergent literacy learner had
to choose which written word matched the spoken word based on length (Reutzel & Cooter,
2016). This assessment fell under the mapping speech onto print aspect of concepts of print
(Reutzel & Cooter).
The last assessment I used was the Recognizing Rhyming Words: Do These Rhyme?. The
emergent literacy learner had to tell me whether two words I said aloud rhymed or not. According
to Adams (as cited in Reutzel & Cooter), this task is the easiest of the phonological skills.
Based on these three assessments, I was able to get a better picture of the emergent learner and the
direction my instruction should go next.
Beginning literacy learners decode words, recognize sight words, start working on
comprehension skills, work towards reading fluently, and creates an attitude towards
For the first assessment I used the Measuring attitude toward reading: A new tool for teachers
(McKenna & Kear, 1990). It is important to find out a learner’s attitude towards reading
because it plays an important role. Ortileb (2015) said, “positive demeanors and attitudes
toward reading serve as a foundation for long-term academic and career success.”
For the second assessment I used the close reading assessment. The assessment helps check
comprehension of a selection. Components of close reading assessments according to Fisher
and Frey include short passages, complex texts, limited front loading, repeated readings, and
text-dependent questions (2012).
For the third assessment I used a one minute fluency reading. I wanted to assess her prosody
because I knew she was a good reader with good comprehension skills. Reutzel and Cooter
(2016) define the components of fluency as automaticity, rate, prosody, and chunking.
Hartman (Laureate Education, 2014a) explained the Literacy Matrix as a tool teachers
can use to analyze texts to use in their classroom. Linguistic texts are word oriented
and semiotic texts communicate through pictures (Laureate Education). Narrative texts
tell a story and informational texts give information. Teachers analyze their texts and
check where they fall on the continuum of the Literacy Matrix to make sure a variety of
texts are being used in the classroom.
Stahl (Laureate Education, 2014r) discussed what teachers should do before, during, and after
reading while implementing shared reading in the classroom. I tried to use those strategies
during my shared reading with my emergent literacy learner.
To start the lesson we discussed the definition of the word syllables and I explained the three
texts we will use are about friendship (activate prior knowledge). Then I introduced the chin
movement strategy to identify the number of syllables in a word. We listened to The Rainbow
Fish by Marcus Pfister on www.storylineonline.com. After we listened to the text, we discussed
the friendship aspect of this text. Then, we identified and sorted the following words from
the text based on the number of syllables together (guided practice): rainbow, fish, purple, blue,
starfish, and octopus.
Next, I read the informational text Friends! by Elaine Scott to the emergent literacy
learner. After reading, we answered some of the questions in the text about different scenarios
with friends. The emergent literacy learner sorted the following words on her own: soccer,
vegetables, gymnastics, cookies, basketball, and swim. I provided the guidance when needed.
This allowed me to assess her thinking and observe her as she identified the number of
syllables. When she was finished we checked, discussed, and corrected the sort.
Towards the end of the lesson, the emergent literacy learner helped me read My Friend is Sad
by Mo Willems by using the pictures to “read” the words. The emergent literacy learner sorted
the following words on her own without my help for the assessment part of the lesson: friend,
sad, cowboy, clown, robot, and Piggie. When she finished we checked, discussed, and
corrected the sort.
Writing is an important component in literacy development. After reading My Friend is Sad by
Mo Willems, the emergent literacy learner drew and wrote about a time she made a sad friend
happy. We compared her writing to what happened in the text.
Reading a text fluently involves accuracy, rate, and expression or prosody (Ardoin, Morena,
Binder, & Foster, 2013).
To start the lesson, I asked if she had heard of fluency before (activate prior knowledge). We
discussed the components of fluency and closely discussed expression or prosody. I told her we
will read three texts about friendship to practice reading with expression. We listened to The
Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister on www.storylineonline.com. After reading, we discussed the
friendship aspect of this text. Then, we listened to the text again concentrating on the expression
or prosody used by the reader. Finally, we discussed the expression used and the importance of
using expression. Rasinski (2012) stated that prosody enhances and adds to the meaning of a
Next, we read the informational text Friends! by Elaine Scott. I used echo reading with this text
I could model how to be a fluent reader. This text was more complex, so echo reading helped her
concentrate more on expression than decoding hard words. Throughout the reading we talked about
how punctuation helps with expression. This text used mostly periods and question marks, but also
had quotation throughout.
Finally, I had the beginning literacy learner read My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems out
loud on her own. Before reading, I asked her what she would do to make a sad friend
happy. We also reviewed how important it is to look at the punctuation to help with
expression. This particular text had easier words which allowed her to pay more
attention to expression. She read two times before I assessed her. I used a reading
rubric to assess her use of punctuation and expression.
After reading, My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems, the beginning literacy learner wrote
about a time she made a sad friend happy. I assessed her writing with a rubric. We
compared her writing to what the character in the text did to make his friend happy.
Instructional practices for both emergent and beginning literacy learners should be
hands-on so students will be engaged, shared and guided reading are important
strategies to use with both groups, and digital texts are beneficial. On the other hand,
instructional practices for emergent literacy learners concentrate more on the basics of
literacy development like concepts of print, alphabet, sounds, phonological awareness,
emergent writing, using pictures to read. Instructional practices for beginning literacy
learners concentrates more on fluently reading, comprehension skills, writing with
actual sentences, and more complex texts.
Literacy, reading, writing, listening, speaking, and language development are all
Important components of emergent and beginning literacy. In this course I have really
seen how important writing is in the literacy development. Writing and reading go
hand in hand. Also, speaking and listening are important aspects as well because
students are able to practice what they have learned and work with others to help
develop more vocabulary and enhance their language skills.
I have known that creating a literacy environment for my learners is very important,
but I have learned more strategies that I can use to better engage my students and
enhance the learning environment. In my previous school year, I used guided and
shared reading all the time, but I have learned other ways to incorporate those
strategies. A goal of mine for this upcoming school year is to find ways to incorporate
more writing throughout the school day. It is also important to get to know the
students’ attitudes towards reading. Being a first grade teacher it is important that my
students start creating a positive attitude towards reading and that can start with how I
run the classroom.
I can share my digital stories with others to show them what I learned about creating a
literacy learning environment and how I created a literacy learning environment for
my emergent and beginning literacy learner. By sharing my digital story, I can
motivate others to think about their own classrooms and what they can change to
create a better literacy learning environment for their students. If we work together to
create a literacy learning environment where students feel safe, respected, love to
read, have success, and gain confidence these students can take those feelings into the
real world and help others feel the same way in their family, community, career,
or wherever they may be.
Ardoin, S.P., Morena, L.S., Binder, K.S., & Foster, T.E. (2013). Examining the impact of feedback and repeated readings on oral
reading fluency: Let’s not forget prosody. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4), 391-404. Retrieved from
Fisher D. & Frey, N. (2012). Close reading in elementary schools. Reading Teacher, 66(3), 179-188. Retrieved from
Laureate Education. (2014). Framework for literacy instruction [Course handouts]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Analyzing and selecting texts [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014r). Shared reading [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author
McKenna, M.C., & Kear, D.J. (1990). Measuring attitude toward reading: A new tool for teachers. Retrieved from
Ortileb, E. (2015). Deconstructing and developing the attitudes of primary school readers. Support for Learning, 30(2), 161-169.
Pfister, M. (1996). The rainbow fish. New York, NY: North-South Books
Rasinski, T.T., (2012). Why reading fluency should be hot. Reading Teacher, 65(8), 516-522. doi:10.1002/TRTR.01077
Reutzel, D.R., & Cooter, R.B., Jr. (2016). Strategies for reading assessment and instruction: Helping every child succeed (5th ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson
Scott, E.(2000). Friends! New York, NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Willems, M. (2007). My friend is sad. New York, NY: Scholastic