For the love of literacy!
Children don’t learn how to read or write overnight or simply begin the year before school. In fact, the foundations for literacy are set from day one, so it’s imperative to provide children with the right support and stimulus from the get-go.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and this holds true when it comes to developing literacy skills. We work in close partnership with families and the local community in order to support children on their individual literacy journeys. From reading aloud to conversing, exposing children to a wide range of printed materials, to singing songs and nursery rhymes, to visits to the local library, the opportunities to develop literacy skills are everywhere.
At Guardian, we focus on literacy development from birth and create carefully planned learning experiences that support literacy development at every stage. Children learn best when they feel secure and happy, in stimulating environments with a supportive network. Our educators take pride in developing fun-filled learning programs that are based on each child’s unique interests and have visible and clear learning outcomes.
Literacy and school readiness
It’s important to remember that children do not need to read or write before they start school. Research shows that the biggest determinants of academic success at school relate to social and emotional development in children.
“We are building security and identity and so we encourage children to express their emotions by openly accepting and acknowledging them. We recognise our active and intentional adult role as partners in children’s learning and we understand that children are learning from us through our every word and action about kindness, empathy, generosity, gratitude, honesty and respect. More profoundly, they are learning about themselves, their abilities and their worth, their place in their hearts and in the world.”
Bronwyn Thomson, Guardian Curriculum Mentor (QLD)
What literacy looks like at Guardian
- Development of close relationships ensures educators can read children’s cues and early stages of language
- Children are supported as they build the confidence to explore language
- Reading aloud and singing nursery rhymes
- Open ended resources to promote physical and mental development
- Plenty of exposure to conversation
- Sharing ideas and opinions in group discussions build vocabulary and confidence in using language
- Plenty of exposure to printed words
- Recognising familiar words including their name
- Encouragement to use mark making, drawing and arts to express themselves
- Children consistently learning from their peers
- Educators use new words in context to make them meaningful and relevant to children
- Children are free to read throughout the day: books build confidence and develops the process of reading, memory and comprehension skills
- Educators ensure there are a plenty of opportunities, materials and mediums to engage with letters and words, both in English and other languages
- Early emergent writing: children are developing an understanding of capitals, writing words using invented spelling, creating more letter-like shapes
- Children sign in each day using their name
- Access to a range of literary resources including picture books, magazines, maps and literacy documents that relate specifically to the child eg. Storypark, visible centre documentation and weekend diary
- Educators help children to make meaningful real world connections between words and their environments
- Child interest-led projects develop literacy through discussion, articulation of ideas and opinions and adding context through words and writing
The literacy journey
When an infant hears the sounds of people talking, songs being sung, and the rhythms and repetitions of rhymes and stories, they’re setting the early foundations for literacy. We use every opportunity to laugh, sing and chat with children – from nappy changes to meal times, the more we have real conversations about real thing that pertain to them, the more they understand language.
While infants are not yet communicating with words, they do a lot of speaking with their actions, hands and facial expressions. We encourage babies to build communication skills by asking them questions, affording them plenty of time to respond and always acknowledging their communication.
Hand-eye coordination is important when it comes to writing, and babies are developing these skills from birth. By exploring their physical capabilities, fixing their gaze on an object and grabbing it, and playing with their own fingers and toes, infants are developing their hand-eye coordination which sets the foundations for writing.
By the age of one, children have learnt all the sounds that make up their language.
We give children the opportunity to explore as much print as possible, especially print that is meaningful to them (menus, receipts, newspapers etc). Children will notice the shapes and start to see familiar letters which will then develop into reading words. It’s around this time children begin mark making and showing control with tools, fingers and toes, modelling writing with other children, and beginning to understand the direction of writing.
From songs and books, children will learn words, sentences, rhythm and rhyme. Children who know how to rhyme are helped to read as they can then correctly guess a word, even if they don’t necessarily know how to read the word just yet.
Kindergarten and preschoolers
Leading up to formal schooling, children are typically showing signs of early emergent writing. Children will be attempting to write their own name, beginning to use spaces between letters, developing an understanding of capitals, and writing words using invented spelling. To support this, we encourage children to sign in each day, and expose them to a wide range of printed material including script in other languages, picture books and books with chapters, as well as real world collateral including tickets, catalogues, magazines and maps.
Children are read and told stories on a daily basis and these stories form part of a story database to retell to each other. At this age, children are now able to use language to ask questions and communicate their thoughts and ideas while also listening and responding to others. As projects form and deeper thinking starts to occur, children are given the opportunity to use the arts to develop their thinking and ideas, for example drawing their plans and ideas for a building before they create it.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr Seuss