How do we learn about reading and writing at Creative Scholars?
The development of early literacy skills and understanding happens along a continuum at Creative Scholars, a continuum that is so deeply integrated into our days that it the practices of reading and writing have become woven into the fabric of the classrooms. At Creative Scholars, we are writing and reading every day in every classroom. We write for the pure kinesthetic joy of it, for functional purposes, and as one of many ways we communicate our thoughts and ideas. We read for pleasure, as we explore language concepts, to gather information, to create community.
While we have goals defined for each age group; we recognize that the continuum of writing and reading development is wide and varied and we work to meet each individual child where they are at, celebrating all levels of development.
Writing in the Tots Program
Writing in the toys program is a kinesthetic act; the children explore mark making with their whole body. The goals for the tots are:
- to build their core strength and their fine motor grasp
- to explore their impact on the world through mark making with a variety of writing tools
- to see adults writing and to imitate this in their play
Reading in the Tots Program
Reading in the tots program is a joyful act; the children are introduced to the joys of language, rhyme, rhythm, and stories. The goals for the tots are:
- to listen to short, rhyming picture books
- to point to objects in books and label things they see
- to build their oral language through songs, rhymes, and finger plays
Writing in the first year of Junior Kindergarten
Writing in the first year of junior kindergarten is emergent; the children are encouraged to see writing as a tool for communication and to start to see themselves as authors. The goals for the younger junior kindergarten children are:
- to be able to draw a circle, horizontal line, vertical line, non slanted x and to begin to write a some uppercase letters, particularly those in their names
- to use writing in functional ways such as making signs for block buildings or creating a sign up sheet for a favorite toy
- to see themselves as authors and to use drawings, scribbles, mock letters, letter strings, and more to write books.
- to feel confident in their ability to express themselves in a variety of ways including with writing tools
Reading in the first year of Junior Kindergarten
Reading in the first year of junior kindergarten is empowering; the children are encouraged to develop identities as readers and consumers of literature. The goals for the younger junior kindergarten children are:
- to have favorite books and to be able to tell others why they like the books
- to understand concepts of print; that writing happens in English from left to right and from top to bottom, that groups of letters make up words, that groups of words make up sentences
- to imitate reading in their play
- to recognize rhyming pairs
- to recognize all of the uppercase letters and many lower case letters
- to identify words that start with the sounds of letters
Writing in the second year of Junior Kindergarten
Writing in the second year of junior kindergarten is developing; the children know a lot about who writers are, why writers write, and how writers write. The goals for the older junior kindergarteners are:
- to write all uppercase letters and most lowercase letters
- to use writing in a functional way and creative way
- to use inventive spelling using their understanding of letter sounds
- to see themselves as authors and to use drawings and inventive spelling
- to independently put their name on their work
- to understand why people use writing and how writing can help enhance communication
- to love writing and see themselves as writers
Reading in the second year of Junior Kindergarten
Reading in the second year of junior kindergarten is developing; the children know the importance of books and understand what authors do. The goals for the older junior kindergarteners are:
- to share information about favorite books
- to compare books and authors/illustrators
- to tell the plot of books through drawing, art, verbal expression
- to confidently use oral language to express themselves
- to know what a plot is, who an author is, and what an illustrator is
- to recognize all uppercase and lowercase letters
- to hear and recognize beginning and ending sounds in words
- to see themselves as readers and to love books
In the junior kindergarten classroom, children have endless opportunities to use writing for functional purposes such as this Doctor’s Office sign in sheet that they used in their dramatic play, a chart comparing the process of metamorphoses in a butterfly and in their tie-dye process, or by recording observations in their science explorations.
Names are important; they support our identity and give children ownership over themselves and their work. Their own name and names of classmates are the first words that children learn to identify and therefore names are used a lot within the classrooms whether it is playing games with names, looking for a friend’s mailbox, or finding one’s own cubby.