“Effective Early Years classrooms immerse students in books, visual images, and the spoken word. A literacy-rich environment is important for all students. ” (Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, 2008). Creating literacy-rich environment requires sufficient teaching skills and understanding of literacy processes at early childhood. There are several essential elements which literacy-rich environments should include. 1. Objects in literacy-rich environments are usually labeled in English and other languages which children speak in their family environments.
Labeled objects represent a kind of reading / comprehending literacy interface for children, who just start to develop their reading and communicating skills (NCREL, 1999). 2. Literacy-rich environment should include books in all interest areas (RIF, 2008). “A literacy-rich environment provides students with a wide variety of texts that include oral, print, and other media communication” (Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, 2008). As long as young children are involved into reading and interacting with books, they will successfully develop their basic literacy skills.
3. Attractive posters are always present in literacy-rich environments (Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, 2008). Attractive posters contact young children at their eye level, and produce an engaging literacy effect on the student’s conscience. 4. Student-published books create literacy-rich atmosphere in the classroom. “Teachers need to supplement narrative and expository texts with appropriate types of literacy materials with which students are familiar in their personal lives” (NCREL, 1999).
There is nothing better and nothing more familiar and personal, than the books which children themselves create and publish. 5. It is not enough to have books in all interest areas. Children should have an opportunity to snuggle with a book during or between the lessons (RIF, 2008). Library specialists should ensure that children possess sufficient reading space in classroom. Librarians should be actively involved into the process of selecting the appropriate reading material for young students. 6.
Reading aloud is another element of the literacy-rich environment (RIF, 2008). Reading aloud to children helps develop a wide range of knowledge about different topics and create a large vocabulary. 7. Literacy-rich environments make reading interactive (RIF, 2008). It is critical that children are involved into the reading process, and are requested to form their thoughts into complete sentences. Reading, comprehension, and communication are the three integral elements of the literacy development among young students. 8.
“Different areas of classroom should be devoted to materials and equipment to encourage writing, viewing, and representing through art and drama, listening to music and to story-tapes” (Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, 2008). As a result, literacy-rich environments are not limited to reading development strategies. Literacy involves the development of other related skills including writing and observation. This is why audio and visual equipment should be present in the literacy-rich classroom. 9. Technological advancement has also reached schools.
Literacy-rich environments in contemporary schools cannot be effective without implementation of the latest computer software. Young children should have an opportunity to learn computer word processing skills (RIF, 2008). 10. Children should be encouraged to read and write. In literacy-rich classrooms, children are constantly involved into various literacy games. For example, children can be asked to sign the drawings or paintings they make in class (RIF, 2008). This approach will create favorable comprehensive environment even for the children who possess weak literacy background.
Conclusion To create literacy-rich environment in classroom means to take into account numerous small details, which will promote literacy among young students, and will make learning easy and comprehensible for them. It is critical that teachers closely watch the process of literacy development among children. Literacy-rich environments and experiences “have a profound effect on children’s literacy development by providing opportunities and encouragement for children to become successful readers” (NCREL, 1999). References Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth. (2008).
Creating a literacy-rich environment. Manitoba Education, Citizenship, and Youth. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from http://www. edu. gov. mb. ca/k12/cur/ela/docs/literacy-rich1. html NCREL. (1999). Critical issue: addressing the literacy needs of emergent and early readers. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from http://www. ncrel. org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/reading/li100. htm RIF. (2008). Fostering early literacy. Reading Is Fundamental. Retrieved April 9, 2008 from http://www. rif. org/educators/advicetips/tip. mspx? View=22