Great Literacy Beginnings: The High Impact Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Classroom

By Irene Fountas

The young child’s first school experiences set the stage for his success in school. Think about the child who enters a classroom filled with peers and spends his day singing songs, telling stories, exploring science artifacts along with beautiful nonfiction books on the topic, playing restaurant with menus and writing on order pads, painting characters from favorite books, making his name with a personal letter puzzle, putting on a puppet show of a favorite folktale and making a book about his new baby brother. For this child, literacy is joyful and engaging from the start.

Today’s prekindergarten and kindergarten classrooms play a critical role in assuring success for our children throughout schooling. The young child of today has entered a literacy world very different from a decade ago. We simply can’t have classrooms of yesterday for today’s children.

A high impact prekindergarten or kindergarten classroom is developmentally appropriate. This means that the teacher understands the child’s strengths and builds on them, leading the child’s learning forward (Vygotsky, 1986). Every child is ready for learning when the teacher considers each child’s unique development but plays an active role in assuring continuous learning. When Regi learned to read and write his name, he learned four different letters. And when he learned Reginald, he learned four more!

Join us for our special focus on high impact literacy classrooms at our four day Early Literacy Institute at Lesley University, June 27-30, 2011 and experience Fountas and Pinnell’s newest book, Literacy Beginnings.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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