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Teachers Corner – The Building Blocks of Early Literacy

By Ms. Agustina Lopez

In my 3’s classroom, we used the school book fair as an opportunity to explore literacy in a more meaningful way. As facilitators of the learning we always wonder: How can we create an interest in writing? How can we instill the notion of writing as a tool? How can we spark the excitement to further the learning? First, we examined the books closely, not just reading the words on the page, but learning about titles, authors, illustrators and the parts of a book (cover, table of contents, etc.).

Then, our students became authors!  Because our school book fair happens near Hanukkah, we received books about the Maccabees from our generous parents.  The story of the heroic Maccabees defeating Antiochus inspired my students to tell their own stories about the Maccabees.  At this age, the children are able to understand sequencing of events and begin to tell more elaborate stories, pulling ideas from books, movies, and, of course, their own imagination: a wonderful platform to reenact stories as well!

Our intention was to extend the learning to the homes over winter break, asking parents and children to share their own stores about their holiday experiences. Making a book was a seamless tool to wrap up the learning.  The children illustrated their stories while the parents wrote the narrative.  Upon the students’ return to school, these books facilitated the transition back and reconnected them.

In February, our class celebrated love and friendship, so we took this opportunity to turn our writing center into a place where the children wrote letters to their friends.  In doing this, our students learn yet another way that they can express themselves through writing – not just to tell stories, but also to express feelings.

Through opportunities like these, young children gain an appreciation for meaningful literacy experiences- reading and writing that foster a  love of learning that will be instilled as they go into their elementary school years.

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