Developing Language and Literacy with Young Children
Publication Year: 2007
Developing Language & Literacy with Young Children, Third Edition, gives parents, teachers, and other professionals who work and play with young children a confident understanding of communication and language development for children from birth to age eight. This resource examines the range of elements that are typical of communication and language activities: thinking, feeling, imagining, talking, listening, drawing, writing, and reading. The author emphasizes the importance of children's relationships and communications with the people who care about them, spend time with them, and share in the excitement of their developing languages and their investigations of literacy. This guidebook covers: Early communication and language Achievements of young bilinguals Stories, narratives, and language play and their significance in literacy development Emerging literacy in homes, early years settings ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Development of Communication and Language
- The Push-Pull Language Game
- Communicating without Words
- First Words
- More Words
- Is this Grammar?
- Language and Thinking
- Later Developments
- Last Words
- Chapter 2: Young Bilinguals
- Young Bilinguals – Who are They?
- Learning from Young Bilinguals
- Helping Young Bilinguals
- Chapter 3: Stories, Narrative and Play with Language
- Play with Language
- Implications for Literacy
- Choosing and Using Literature
- Chapter 4: Literacy: The Early Years, Birth to Six
- Defining Literacy
- The Roots of Literacy
- Becoming a Writer
- Becoming a Reader
- Chapter 5: Literacy: Developing Readers and Writers, Six to Eight
- A Language Teacher's Checklist
- The Literacy Workshop
- Being a Literacy Teacher
- Chapter 6: Talking with Parents and Carers About Communication and Language Development
- Partnership with Parents and Carers
- Parents, Carers and Early Literacy
- Talking about Communication and Language Development
- Our Children's Language
Marian Whitehead: Developing Language and Literacy with Young Children 3rd edition 2007
Rosemary Roberts: Self-esteem and Early Learning 3rd edition 2006
Cath Arnold: Child Development and Learning 2–5 – Georgia's Story 1999
Pat Gura: Resources for Early Learning 1997
Chris Pascal and Tony Bertram: Effective Early Learning – case studies in improvement 1997
Mollie Davies: Movement and Dance in Early Childhood 2nd edition 2003
All titles are available from Paul Chapman Publishing
The 0–8 Series
The 0–8 Series, edited by Professor Tina Bruce, deals with essential themes in early childhood which concern practitioners, parents and children. In a practical and accessible way, the Series sets out a holistic approach to work with young children, families and their communities. It is evidence based, drawing on theory and research. The books are designed for use by early years practitioners, and those on professional development courses, and initial teacher education courses covering the age-range 0–8.
© 2007 Marian R. Whitehead
First published 2002
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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ISBN 978-1-4129-3424-4 (pbk)
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Printed and bound by The Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, Wiltshire
Printed on paper from sustainable resources
Marian Whitehead is a distinguished and highly respected scholar in her field. She has a wealth of practical experience and her love of children, and continued work with them shines through her writing. She has always maintained her contact with children and their families.
Her understanding is informed by theory and research evidence and by her years of experience as a practitioner. In this book, she shares with readers how babies, toddlers and young children communicate, develop language and explore reading and writing, in ways which support and inspire practitioners and parents and give practical guidance. She respects and encourages the voice of the child as an active learner, sharing her expertise and giving practical advice on how to develop this.
This updated edition, which is set against a background context of the Rose Review and the developing ‘Early Years Foundation Stage’, emphasises the importance of communication, language and rich multi-sensory learning environments. She has included the latest research evidence, which reaffirms and supports time-honoured approaches to working with children, in encouraging the development of language, writing and reading. She embraces the value of play, relationships, bilingualism and multilingualism, and shows how practitioners can provide a language and literacy environment which is rich for every child, family and community., series editor February 2007
This book is dedicated to my family – especially my grandchildren, Natalie, Daniel, Dylan and Mattias
My thanks to all the students, teachers, schools, families and children who have generously shared their photographs and materials with me, especially the children, staff and families of Earlham Early Years Centre, Norwich, for some of the photographs and observations in this new edition and for their unfailing help and kindness. Thanks also to the nursery and reception teachers at Myatt Garden Primary School, Lewisham, who originally allowed me to quote from their observations; to Allyson Pascoe for Figure 8; Ellen Sizer and Louise for the ‘lecture notes’; Davina Grant for the nursery messages; and Gill Wilson and Athelney Primary School, Catford, for Martha the pig.
Special thanks to my daughters and grandchildren for photographs and materials and for showing me language and literacy development in action![Page x]
Preface for the 0–8 Series[Page xi]
The 0–8 Series has stood the test of time, maintaining a central place among early childhood texts. Practitioners have appreciated the books because, while very practical, the series presents a holistic approach to work with young children, which values close partnership with families and their communities. It is evidence based, drawing on theory and research in an accessible way.
The 0–8 Series continues to deal with the themes of early childhood which have always been of concern and interest to parents, practitioners and the children themselves. Each author has made an important contribution in their field of expertise, using this within a sound background of child development and practical experience with children, families, communities, schools and other early childhood settings. The Series consistently gives a central place to the interests and needs of children, emphasising the relationship between child development and the socio-cultural learning with which biological and brain development is inextricably linked.
The basic processes of communication, movement, play, self-esteem and understanding of self and others, as well as the symbolic layerings in development (leading to dances, reading, writing, mathematical and musical notations, drawing, model-making) never cease to fascinate those who love and spend time with children. Some of the books in this series focus on these processes of development and learning, by looking at children and their contexts in a general way, giving examples as they go. Other books take a look at particular aspects of individual children and the community. Some emphasise the importance of rich physical and cultural provision and careful consideration of the environment indoors and outdoors and the way that adults work with children.
I look forward to seeing the impact of the 0–8 Series on the next decade.ProfessorRoehampton University June 2006[Page xii]
This book is about the most exciting and important aspect of human development – communication and language in the early years. It is a book for parents, carers, teachers and other workers, because they work and play with very young children and share in the emergence of their language. I hope it will support early years carers and practitioners by giving them a confident understanding of children's language development in the years from birth to eight.
This is undoubtedly rather challenging, but no more so than the daily demands of caring for and educating young children in a variety of settings. The approach I have taken tries to avoid too many artificial divisions and watertight categories such as those which set apart academic language studies from guidelines for practice, or from our daily talking, thinking and coping. Or those which carefully parcel out children's activities as pre-school or school, reading or writing, or ‘only scribbling’ and ‘only talking’. My approach is not watertight – it is very leaky (this is known as ‘holistic’ in academic jargon) and attempts to work with the rich mixture of thinking, feeling, imagining, talking, listening, drawing, writing and reading which is typical of all our language activities. In order to do this I shall draw on the knowledge and wealth of child observations to be found in many academic studies. I shall also draw on my own experiences of watching and listening to very young children, while being a teacher, a mother, a granny, a researcher and an eavesdropper in the supermarket check-out queue.
This holistic approach is responsible for the range of topics covered in the book. It begins with an account of how communication and language first develop and then moves on to explore the achievements and challenges of young bilinguals. The discussion of the significance of stories, narrative and playing with language builds a kind of bridge from understanding spoken language to the topic of literacy. Literacy is tackled in two chapters, one with an emphasis on the Early Years Foundation Stage (birth to five in England), which includes the move to statutory schooling at five years, and one with a focus on [Page xiv]the years from six to eight. This division should help to keep the discussion of such a complex topic manageable, while emphasising the need to ensure continuity of good language learning for children from birth to eight. I hope that our struggles and successes will speak to practitioners, children and families in many parts of the world. The book ends with some suggestions for making the all-important partnership with parents a focus for talking about children's language development.Language, the Early Years and National Initiatives
In 1988 the National Curriculum for England and Wales introduced legally binding requirements setting down the precise curriculum content to be taught in the first Key Stage to children from the age of five to seven. In reality many four-year-olds were in reception classes and experienced the National Curriculum and the inevitable pressures caused by the tests which marked the end of each Key Stage. The introduction of the Foundation Stage in 2000 gave early years practitioners detailed guidance on providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum for children from three to five and included early learning goals for communication, language and literacy (QCA/DfEE, 2000). The new emphasis on communication skills, along with the official valuing of play and active learning, the role of parents and the outdoor curriculum, was welcomed. However, tensions still remained, notably the downward pressure from the National Literacy Strategy (DfEE, 1998) with its inappropriate focus on a daily ‘Literacy Hour’ of formal, didactic literacy instruction. This imposed didactic trend continues with the current return to mandatory synthetic phonics in early reading instruction. But the narrowly didactic trend exists alongside enlightened views on the rights of every young child to be safe, nurtured, educated and successful (DfES, 2004) and planning for appropriate and seamless care and education provision from birth to five (DfES, 2006; DfES/Sure Start Unit, 2002). Good things continue to happen, despite some setbacks, and the latest project on communication and oral language in the early years (Hall and Lancaster, 2006) offers one major principle to hold on to: effective practice requires that we all have a deep understanding of how our own behaviour, communication and language affect children's language development. This book makes a small contribution to such professional understanding.
The situation in Scotland and in Wales is far less tightly structured than in England because the Guidelines offered to educators in both countries are exactly as their name suggests – guidelines for professionals to adapt and interpret. The continuing upheavals and restructuring of schooling in Britain have their own political and administrative logic, but this has little to do with [Page xv]the patterns of child development and home cultures. This is particularly true of the development of communication and language which is studied from the moment of birth as a continuous process, and is arguably at its most exciting in the first three to four years of life. Serious students of language find all forms and varieties of language exciting and informative and few are comfortable with the notion that ‘English’, as opposed to ‘language’, is at the centre of the curriculum. This book will be exploring all these important issues, but the emphasis will be on children's holistic communication and language development, rather than on the peculiarities of the evolving National Curriculum in England.[Page xvi]
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English in Education, 27 (2), pp. 11–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-8845.1993.tb01095.xand (2000) ‘A sure start with books’. Early Years, 20 (2), pp. 39–46.and (1996) Literacy Goes to School: The Parents' Role in Young Children's Literacy Learning. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.(1990) Ways of Working with Parents to Promote Literacy Development. Sheffield: University of Sheffield, Division of Education., and (1962) Language in the Crib. The Hague: Mouton.(Wells, G. (ed.) (1981) Learning Through Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.1994) Learning to be Strong: Setting up a Neighbourhood Service for Under-Fives and their Families. London: Hodder and Stoughton.(2007) Involving Parents in their Children's Learning. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.(1954) Books Before Five. New Zealand: Council for Educational Research.(1985) ‘On learning to write: recent research and developmental writing’. Curriculum, 6 (2), pp. 12–19.(1990) ‘First words: the language diary of a bilingual child's early speech’. Early Years, 10 (2), pp. 53–7.(1992) ‘Failures, cranks and fads: revisiting the reading debate’. English in Education, 26 (1), pp. 3–14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-8845.1992.tb00684.x([Page 135]1994) ‘Stories from a research project: towards a narrative analysis of data’. Early Years, 15 (1), pp. 23–9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0957514940150104(1995) ‘Nonsense, rhyme and word play in young children’. In Rhyme, Reading and Writing, R.Beard (ed.). London: Hodder and Stoughton.(1999) Supporting Language and Literacy Development in the Early Years. Buckingham: Open University Press.(2002) ‘Dylan's routes to literacy: the first three years with picture books’. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 2 (3), pp. 269–89. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/14687984020023002(2004) Language and Literacy in the Early Years,(3rd edn. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.2005) ‘Learning to read: it's a phunny old business’. Report (Association of Teachers and Lecturers), July/August 2005, pp. 12–14.(2000) ‘Information communication technologies and literacy learning’. In Literacy Learning in the Early Years, C.Barratt-Pugh and M.Rohl (eds). Buckingham: Open University Press.(2001) ‘A bridge too far? How Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy fail the apprentice reader’. English in Education, 35 (2), pp. 12–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1754-8845.2001.tb00737.x(Wilson, A. and Hughes, S. (eds) (1998) The Poetry Book for Primary Schools. London: The Poetry Society.Wolfendale, S. and Topping, K. (eds) (1996) Family Involvement in Literacy: Effective Partnerships in Education. London: Cassell.Literature Referred to in the Text (Excluding Books Listed in Chapter 3)1986) The Jolly Postman. London: Heinemann.and (1989) Bye Bye, Baby. London: Heinemann.and (1977) The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch. London: Andre Deutsch.and (1997) Meet Thomas and His Friends. London: Reed International.(1990) The Mousehole Cat. London: Walker.and (1988) Peter Pan and Wendy (illus. MichaelForeman). London: Pavilion Books.(1905) A Little Princess. London: Warne.(1988) The Secret Garden (illus. ShirleyHughes). London: Gollancz.([Page 136]1980) The Shopping Basket. London: Jonathan Cape.(1989) Oi! Get Off Our Train. London: Jonathan Cape.(1988) Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (illus. AnthonyBrowne). London: Julia MacRae.(1993) The Bear Under the Stairs. London: Doubleday.(1995) After the War Was Over. London: Pavilion Books.(1977) Phoebe and the Hot Water Bottles. London: Andre Deutsch.and (1989) The Wind in the Willows (illus. JustinTodd). London: Gollancz.(1980) Where's Spot?London: Heinemann.(1968) The Iron Man. London: Faber.(1984) Geraldine's Blanket. London: Julia MacRae.(1972) The Fat Cat. London: Hamish Hamilton.(1980) Not Now, Bernard. London: Andersen/Arrow.(1986) Flossie and the Fox. London: Kestrel/Puffin.and (1990) Six Dinner Sid. London: Simon and Schuster Young Books.(2005) The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. London: Harper Collins.(1972) Meg and Mog. London: Heinemann.and (1989) We're Going on a Bear Hunt. London: Walker.and (1976) Goldilocks and the Three Bears. London: Andersen/Sparrow.(1967) Where the Wild Things Are. London: Bodley Head.(1988) Black Beauty (illus. CharlesKeeping). London: Gollancz.(1990) The Whales' Song. London: Hutchinson.and (1998) Come On, Daisy!Orchard Books.(1969) The Elephant and the Bad Baby. London: Hamish Hamilton/Puffin.and (1988) Can't You Sleep, Little Bear?London: Walker.and (1973) Noisy Nora. London: Collins/Picture Lions.(1988) Dr Xargle's Book of Earthlets. London: Andersen/Red Fox.(1993) Dr Xargle's Book of Earth Relations. London: Andersen/Red Fox.(1968) Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present. London: Bodley Head.and ([Page 137]Useful Websites
http://www.basic-skills.co.uk/resourcecentre – the Basic Skills Agency
http://www.booksforkeeps.co.uk – Books for Keeps
http://www.booktrusted.com – the Book Trust
http://www.bookmark.org.uk – Book Trust's information and advice on reading difficulties
http://www.clpe.co.uk – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
http://www.childrenslaureate.org – the Children's Laureate
http://www.ecm.gov.uk – Every Child Matters
http://www.ncb.org.uk – the National Children's Bureau
http://www.talktoyourbaby.org.uk – the early language campaign of the National Literacy Trust.