By: Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt, Leading Expert in Social-Emotional Development and Early Intervention
What is Early Literacy?
Early literacy encompasses what children learn about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Concepts include six foundational skills: motivation to engage with books, acquiring vocabulary, telling and retelling stories, recognizing and identifying letters, differentiating among the sounds of the letters, and recognizing words and understanding that words are comprised of letters.
Developmental Facts about Early Literacy
About 90% of the human brain develops in the first five years of life. As a result, it is important to develop and foster love of literacy during the early stages. Early literacy starts in infancy, when babies coo and imitate the adults who interact and communicate with them. Infants learn quickly to read cues, facial expressions, and gestures of adults singing, playing, reading, talking, and rocking them to sleep. Literacy development builds on the foundation of alphabetic knowledge, and the home environment is the first place where children encounter literacy-related materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, letters, and songs.
Why is Early Literacy Important?
Children’s experiences and exposure to language and literacy vary. Research indicates that these early language-based experiences affect the future success of children in school. The educational gap starts early and is derived from the number and type of early literacy experiences a child has. Studies show that these differences in language and interaction experiences have lasting effects on a child’s performance in school and later in life.
A landmark study pointed to a significant gap of thirty-million words by 4 years of age between children from high-income families versus children from low-income families.
How Can We Support the Development of Early Literacy?
Continually talking with the child, singing and reading to the child, engaging in writing (scribbling), and playing activities with the child are critical to language and early literacy development. These daily activities which include storytelling, reading books and using puppets, looking and talking about pictures and family photos, singing songs and reading the lyrics, exploring outdoors, and playing with friends are the building blocks of language and early literacy development. These interactions help develop rich language and communication and support play and imagination.
Early Literacy and the Circle of Education Program
The Circle of Education® research and evidence-based program for children ages birth to 8, supports strong development of early literacy by integrating educational songs with intentional lyrics, providing guided dialogue, integrating extensive list of children books and educational animation, together with puppets and expression cards into school lessons and family activities to build the foundation for learning and more specifically, early literacy
The Circle of Education® program modules focus on establishing strong home and school connections. The program provides tools for adults to interact and enhance the experiences of young children cognitively, emotionally, socially, and linguistically by stimulating them with rich conversations, play and explorations.
Circle of Education® research and evidence-based program for children ages birth to 8, focuses on Social Emotional Wellness, Academic Development, Family Engagement, Learning Readiness, Behavioral Health and Early Intervention. The Circle of Education® program was developed by Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt, a leading expert in social-emotional development and early intervention. Dr. Ritblatt is a Professor and past chair (2009 – 2015) of Child and Family Development at San Diego State University and a co-founder of delibrainy LLC.
The Circle of Education® program has been designated as a SELect program by CASEL, designed to be used with children from birth to eight years old.
Visit the Circle of Education® program website www.circleofeducation.com