You are here

Literacy for Young Children

Literacy for Young Children
A Guide for Early Childhood Educators

March 2008 | 256 pages | Corwin

This book is a featured text in a Canter graduate course, Teaching Beginning Readers Pre-K-3 .

"This book merges the five big ideas in reading with developmentally appropriate practice to create a practical guide that will enhance literacy development in any type of preschool setting. The references, resources, and examples will help teachers bring these ideas to life in their classrooms."

—Addie Gaines, Principal
Kirbyville Elementary School, MO

Use research-based strategies to build early literacy skills!

Early childhood educators recognize that young children are more likely to succeed in later grades if they have a variety of engaging preschool experiences. Literacy for Young Children brings together reading research and learning standards to help teachers become informed decision makers about meeting the literacy needs of young students from diverse backgrounds.

Based on the authors' work in Early Reading First classrooms, this resource includes evidence-based, easy-to-implement activities to develop oral language, phonological awareness, print awareness, emergent writing, and early comprehension skills. Chapters provide an overview of each skill, methods for assessment, and appropriate instructional strategies. The book showcases examples of PreK and kindergarten children from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds to demonstrate how teachers can support individual learners. Readers will be able to:

  • Adapt instruction appropriately for ELLs and children with special needs
  • Partner knowledgeably with families to provide rich literacy experiences at home
  • Integrate literacy across the curriculum, and more

As teachers and literacy coaches become more purposeful and confident instructors, they open the door to successful learning while continuing to close the achievement gap.

About the Authors
Introduction: Why Early Literacy?
Early Reading First

Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Overview of This Book

Chapter 1. Children's Development and Literacy Learning
How Children Develop and Learn

Child Development: The Foundation for Literacy

Introducing Rebecca, Juan, Michael, and Annie

Foundations for Learning to Read

Supportive Classroom Environments


Chapter 2. Language Development and Diversity
Role of Oral Language in Literacy Development

What Does Research Say About How Children Acquire Language?

Benchmarks of Oral Language Development for Preschool Children

Assessing Oral Language Development

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Oral Language Development

Language Diversity


Chapter 3. Phonological Awareness Development in Preschool Children
What Is Phonological Awareness and What Is Its Role in Literacy Development?

What does Research Say About How Children Acquire Phonological Awareness?

Indicators of Children's Development of Phonological Awareness

Assessing Phonological Awareness

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Phonological Awareness

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 4. Alphabetic Principle
What Is the Alphabetic Principle and What is Its Role in Literacy Development?

What Does Research Tell Us About the Alphabetic Principle?

Assessing the Alphabetic Principle

Research-Based Instructional Strategies Supporting Understanding of the Alphabetic Principle

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 5. Writing
How Are Reading and Writing Connected in Early Literacy Development?

What Does Research Say About Emergent Writing Development?

Assessing Writing

Research-Based Instructional Strategies to Support Emergent Writing

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 6. Comprehension: Making Meaning
What Is Comprehension?

What Helps Children Comprehend?

Assessing Comprehension

Research-Based Instructional Strategies

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 7. Sharing Books With Children
The Importance of Book Sharing for Children's Early Literacy Development

What Does Research Say About Storybook Reading With Children?

Selecting High-Quality Children's Literature

Developing Classroom Libraries

Research-Based Instructional Strategies for Sharing Books With Children

Addressing Diversity


Chapter 8. Integrating Literacy Across the Curriculum
Integrated Curriculum

Planning an Integrated Unit


Chapter 9. Literacy in the Real World
Language and Literacy in Communities

Infusing Home and Community Literacy in the Classroom


Chapter 10. Helping Parents Facilitate Children's Literacy at Home
Why Parents Become Involved

Parental Beliefs

Types of Parental Involvement

Why Parental Involvement?


Chapter 11. Bringing It All Together
Preschool Programs Make a Difference

The Physical Environment

The Interactional Environment

Assessing Your Literacy and Language Environment

Planning Whole and Half Day Programs


Children's Books Referenced

Additional Resources for Teachers
Helpful Websites


"A comprehensive and comprehensible book that provides a framework for a productive, engaging, literacy-developing classroom. This text provides a complete schema to support and enable novice teachers and affirm the experienced teacher with an overview for developing literacy in early childhood."

Judy A. Leavell, Associate Professor
St. Edward’s University

"Griffith and her colleagues have written a valuable book for literacy instructors. The attention to detail and the inclusion of research-based instructional strategies will make this book an excellent resource for all teachers and coaches in grades preK and K."

Ruth Short, Associate Professor
University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee

"This book merges the five big ideas in reading with developmentally appropriate practice to create a practical guide that will enhance literacy development in any type of preschool setting. The references, resources, and examples will help teachers bring these ideas to life in their classrooms."

Addie Gaines, Principal
Kirbyville Elementary School, MO

"A great resource for any early childhood teacher! The book provides concrete examples of how to implement best practices in an early childhood classroom. By connecting all the big ideas in literacy, the authors have set a standard for best practice!"

Emma McGee Barnes, Literacy Facilitator
Hawk Ridge Elementary School, Charlotte, NC

"This clear, concise text allows the reader a look into the classroom and an opportunity to relate to students and teachers in specific and meaningful ways to address literacy and its many important parts."

Teresa P. Cunningham, Principal
Laurel Elementary School, Laurel Bloomery, TN

"A major strength of this book is the focus on addressing the needs of each child as an individual, supporting his or her literacy development through both the physical and the interactional environment. I look forward to using this book in my literacy methods courses."

Elizabeth Willner, Associate Professor
Oklahoma City University
Key features
  • One comprehensive, practical resource addressing core topics in early literacy instruction
  • Teachers will be confident working in today's diverse early childhood classrooms, as the book contains lots of real-world examples based on the authors' experiences in Early Reading First classrooms
  • Vignettes of 4 ethnically and geographically diverse children illustrate principles in practice
  • Excellent coverage of how to link assessment and instruction for every component of early literacy learning
  • Each chapter offers a list of timely books and websites for teachers' reference

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

Select a Purchasing Option

Rent or Buy eBook
ISBN: 9781452294711

ISBN: 9781412952002

ISBN: 9781412951999

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.