Early Literacy Development in Birth to Three

Early Literacy Development

 “Early literacy skills are essential to literacy development and should be the focus of early language and literacy programs. By focusing on the importance of the first years of life, we give new meaning to the interactions young children have with books and stories. Looking at early literacy development as a dynamic developmental process, we can see the connection (and meaning) between an infant mouthing a book, the book handling behavior of a two year old, and the page turning of a five year old. We can see that the first three years of exploring and playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, listening to stories, recognizing words, and scribbling are truly the building blocks for language and literacy development.”

Click on the link above to read more of this interesting article on early literacy development and behaviors.


Sight Word Splat



Do you have charges who are going into K or 1? This is a great game to play with them!  this game contains 75 sight words! (sight words are words children must recognize right away at a glance)  These past 3 months I have been working in a school in a first grade classroom with struggling readers.  This game was a big hit!

There are many different variations of play with this game:

1. put the words face up on the table (about 8-10 at a time) and call out a word.  When the child sees the word he/she puts their hand on it and yells “splat”

2. Have the child put the words in alphabetical order.

3. After the child has learned the words make short sentences with the words and ask the child to read the sentence.

4. Have the child put the words into sentences after he/she learns the words.


Twin Texts

Twin texts: Using fiction and non-fiction books to introduce content material. A non-fiction book will answer questions more straight forward while a fiction book tells a story around the theme. Children’s literature can be a bridge to teach specific contest. This article describes what twin texts are:  Twin Texts.

While in my children Literature graduate class I put together a list of Twin Texts (non-fiction and fiction books) around the theme “Farm Animals”  If you would like to teach your children about the different animals on the farm, here is the list of twin texts I arranged:


Non Fiction books:

Dunn, Phoebe. Farm Animals. New York: Random House. 1984.

This is a board book of photographs of animals that live on the farm.  Animals included are sheep, hens, kittens, chicks, and horses.  The book contains real-life photographs of the farm animals.

Cooper, Wade. Farm Animals, Scholastic Books. New York: Scholastic Ink. 2008.

This is a level two book about farm animals.  Level two introduces new vocabulary words and longer sentences.  This book has great photographs of farm animals. The text is written in rhythm and rhyme to help children remember information about each animal.  There is a picture dictionary and a list of key words at the end of the book. There is also a quiz to test comprehension. This book is a great resource to assist students in developing reading skills. Children learn about geese, sheep, pigs cows, and much more.

Provensen, A. Our Animal Friends At Maple Hill Farm. New York: Simon and Schuster. 2001.

This book describes animals that live on the author’s (Alice Provensen) own farm in New York.  The animals include geese, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, and cats.  The concept of birth and death is explored.

Fiction books:

Adams, Paul. Old McDonald had a Farm. Auburn: Child’s Play international.1975.

The setting is on at a farmyard.  Each page reveals a new animal that is hiding on Old McDonald’s farm.  As the story develops, new animals are discovered with the sounds they make.

Batemen, Teresa. Farm Flu. Illinois: Jacket Art, 2001.

This is a rhyming tale of chaos triggered by good intentions.  Mom leaves her son home to care for the farm for the day and while she is gone all the animals get the flu.  The boy takes care of the animals.  When the animals have “too much fun” being sick the boy takes away their TV and toys and the animals instantly feel much better.

Cowley, Joy. Mrs. Wishy Washy’s Farm. New York: Philomel Books. 2003.

Mrs. Wishy Washy loves to wash everything, including her farm animals!  When Mrs. Wishy Washy begins scrubbing the animals they become frustrated and decide they are going to run away to the city.  When they run away the end up getting lost, wandering through a hardware store and become covered with paint!  They realize they need Mrs. Wishy Washy to clean them up!  This rhyming text is great for read aloud and for

Galdone, Paul. The Little Red Hen. New York: Clarion Books. 1973.

The Little Red Hen plants grain to make bread.  She asks all of her farm friends to help her through the process of planting and harvesting the wheat to make the bread.  Her friends are lazy and do not want to help.  In the end, Hen eats the bread by herself and doesn’t share with her friends because she did all of the work.  This book has a predictable text without too many words on one page.  There is a lesson at the end of the story: if you do not help do the work then you are not going to get the reward.

Little Passports

I am constantly searching the internet for great programs and ideas for learning activities and crafts for kids.  I recently came across a learning program/activity called “Little Passports.”  This activity teaches children about countries around the world or states in the united states.

It appears that every month the child receives a package from a specific country and a letter from 2 characters telling them about their adventures in that country.

I’ll copy and paste a description from the website:


Every month, follow our characters Sam and Sofia as they embark on a new country adventure. Your first month’s Explorer Kit arrives in a suitcase and contains everything your child needs to get started: a letter from Sam and Sofia, a map, a passport, stickers, access to online games and more. Country specific packages filled with fun souvenirs, letters, stickers, photos, activity sheets and more arrive every month thereafter.

Recommended age 5 to 10 years old.


With your USA Edition subscription, Sam and Sofia travel to and experience the wonders of all 50 states. Kick-off your USA adventure with the first month’s Discovery Kit which includes a letter from Sam and Sofia, a USA Field Guide, a USA scratch book, a map, and a camera. Sam and Sofia then travel to two new states every month and send an activity-packed travel journal with stickers, postcards, pop-out models and access to online activities.

Recommended age 7 to 12 years old.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ouYsBjhKLc   This is a video explaining the little passports program.

here is a link to the website: little passports 

What I think is also great about this is that children are receiving mail with their name on it. It gives them a sense of identity. Remember the first time you started receiving mail?  It was so exciting to have something arrive for you with your name on it.

Has anyone ever tried this program?  I would love to know what you think about it.

Author Study: Eve Bunting

When I was in grad school for elementary education I was required to do an author study on one of my favorite children’s book authors. I chose Eve Bunting. I wanted to share what I wrote with you all. I recommend reading any Eve Bunting book with children aged 8+. The stories are long and tackle serious and sometimes difficult issues. The reason I recommend her books to age 8+ is because children of this age are able to express their feelings, show empathy, and discuss deep rooted issues.

Author Study: Eve Bunting

Why I selected Eve Bunting:

I selected the author Eve Bunting for her passion of writing a variety of books for children. What I love about Bunting’s writing is her ability to address difficult issues in an inspiring and beautiful way. Some issues addressed in her writing include racial prejudice, death, troubled families, and war.

Biographical of Eve Bunting:

Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and moved to California where she began her writing career. Bunting wanted to share her thoughts and experiences with children of all ages. She wrote over 250 books which include picture books, novels, and nonfiction. Her first book was a retelling of the folktale, The Two Giants. She has won multiple book awards; she won The Golden Kite Award in 1976 for One More Flight. Coffin on a Case won Mystery Writers of America Award in 1993. In 1995, her book Smoky Night, Illustrated by David Diaz, won the Caldecott medal. In 2006, her book One Green Apple won the Arab American Book Award.

Bibliography of books and Analysis of works:

One Candle, Illustrated by K. Wendy Popp, is a beautifully illustrated story about a family who comes together on the first night of Hanukkah every year to carry on a tradition of hallowing out a potato to symbolize one candle. As grandma hollows out a potato she retells the story of her experience as a 12-year-old in Buchenwald, when she risked her life to steal a potato to create one Hanukkah candle.

Train to Somewhere, Illustrated by Ronald Rimler, is the inspirational true story of 14 orphan children who travel west on a train dreaming of a better life. The orphan train is real; however the names of the orphans and cities visited are fictional.

Fly Away Home, Illustrated by Ronald Himler, is a story about a father and a son. They are homeless and live in an airport. A metaphor in the story is of a bird who is stuck in an airport for a few days until a door is open and it flies free. “Sometimes I just want to cry. I think Dad and I will be here forever. Then I remember the bird. It took a while, but a door opened. And when the bird left, when it flew free, I know it was singing.”

In the Haunted House, Illustrated by Susan Meddaugh, is a story filled with “creepy” rhymes. “This is the house where the scary ones hide. Open the door and step softly inside.”

The Wall, Illustrated by Ronald Himler, is about a father and his son visiting the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial to find grandfather’s name on the wall. “There are so many names. They are listed under the years when they were killed. I’ve found 1967, that’s when my grandpa died.”

Web Address:

  1. http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/contributor.jsp?id=2210
  2. http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/au-bunting-eve.asp