When I saw the staggering statistics of our Nation on illiteracy, I put a workshop together to include the arts of music, dance, drawing and stories.
The illiteracy showed our country ranked 12th and that 44 million adults were unable to read a simple story to their children and 50% of the adults cannot read a book at the eight grade level along with 44% of American adults who do not read a book in a year nor buy a book. This made me think what can I do to help the teacher of today! So I turned my attention on the arts to come up with ideas with emergent literacy to serve as a vehicle for developmental learning for children.
Emergent literacy term explained it as a child’s knowledge of reading and writing skills before they learn how to read and write words. I saw my children and grand-children look out the window of the car and see familiar signs like the stop sign, the “Golden Arches” of McDonalds or a yellow school bus. They were “reading” environmental print which became an important step in understanding that words have meaning. *NOTE: Children “read” symbols (shape) before they read words.
When you combine symbols, they form words. Here is where print begins to have meaning!
What other environmental symbols can you add that make connections between the symbol shape and the word?
We as teachers must come “out the box” and create ways to help the children express their knowledge, feelings and ideas through visual symbols, dramatic gestures and musical sounds.