3. Creating a Literate Environment
“The literacy-rich environment emphasizes
the importance of speaking, reading, and
writing in the learning of all students” (The
Access Center, 2007)
Teachers should participate in language and
literacy activities in all elements of their
4. Getting to know Literacy
Learners, Pre-3rd Grade
“Developing an in depth understanding of
each learner enables teachers to develop and
demonstrate greater emotional intelligence in
the classroom” (Educational Leadership,
5. Getting to know Literacy
Learners, Pre-3rd Grade
Assessment guides instruction. “Effective teaching
cannot possibly begin until we first discover where
children are in their reading development” (Reutzel &
Cooter, 2016, p.10).
Effective literacy instruction begins when the teacher
understands important information about each student.
-Cognitive Assessments- measure literacy skill and
strategies that are mastered by each student.
Non-cognitive Assessments, “measure the motivation,
engagement, self-concept, agency, interest, and
attitude of each student” (Afflerbach, 2012, p. 171).
6. Text Selection
Every reader brings different skills, background
knowledge, and motivation to the reading
performance. It is vital that teachers pay great
attention to gradually increasing the complexity of
the text that students read and comprehend as
they move through each school year.
Quantitative and qualitative factors such as text
structure and organization, illustration support, the
number of words, and number of high-frequency
words make a huge impact on text complexity.
7. The Literacy Matrix
This tool can be used to confirm that you are using a variety of
texts in your classroom. When you do this, you can see the
distribution of books you have, whether it’s balanced or not”
(Laureate Education 2014).
10. Emergent Literacy Learner
The first part of the lesson includes singing the alphabet
because, “learning how the alphabet works is a critical
instructional focus for emergent learners” (Rog, 2007, p.4).
I will also informally assess Derrick (pseudo name) to see what
he knows about the word ‘home’.
I want to activate Derrick’s background knowledge about
animal’s homes while looking through the book Animals A to Z by
Iris Zammit. Each page matches each letter of the alphabet to an
animal whose name begins with that letter. As we go through the
book, I will ask Derrick if he knows where that particular animal
lives. I also hope to see that Derrick is able to identify some
alphabet letters, especially those in his name.
11. Emergent Literacy Learner
Next, I will show Derrick the e-book What Lives Here? By R.K. Burrice and read
the title and author aloud to him. I will do a picture walk. “The objective of using
a picture walk is to help students develop a framework for how the book is
organized to improve their reading comprehension” (Reutzel & Cooter, 2016, p.
I will turn to page four and point out the repetitive phrase. A ____ lives here and
explain to Derrick that these words repeat over and over throughout the book. I
will have Derrick echo the phrase to me again. One of the strands includes
using emergent reading skills such as attempting to recite familiar patterns.
I will show Derrick the title page and encourage him to use his prior knowledge
of animal homes to discus what animal might live there based on the picture he
sees. I will also ask what it may look like on the inside, and how that home may
keep the animal safe.
12. Emergent Literacy Learner
Before reading the book I will use a graphic organizer. “For
younger children, a simple graphic organizer using icons or
pictures to accompany the print can be helpful” (Reutzel &
Cooter, 2016, p. 386). I will write the vocabulary word animal on
a white board and give him picture animal cards to put around
the word animal. I will ask Derrick to say the animal name as he
sets them down and guess where they may live.
Finally, I will tell Derrick that we are going to find out where
animals live as we listen to the ebook. Next, I will shift the
responsibility to Derrick. After listening to the story, the
application allows students to record themselves reading the
story aloud and then listen back. After reading the eBook, I will
ask Derrick to explain why homes are important for animals and
what else animals need besides a home.
13. Emergent Literacy Learner
To extend the activity I will encourage Derrick to think of
an animal that he likes and draw a picture of it. The
paper will have the sentence prompt from the story, A
____ lives here. I will encourage Derrick to write the
animals name on the page as best as he can.
After discussing animal homes, I will show Derrick the
picture book Animals Home Alone by Loes Riphagen
and prompt him to look through the pages and read it to
me. Another strand of the standard is using emergent
reading skills such as pretending to read a book or
making a story up that matches the pictures.
14. Beginning Literacy Learner
I will bring my Beanie Baby Decoding Strategy “Eagle Eye” that
Cassandra’s (pseudo name) teacher uses in reading groups as
well. I will ask her if she knows whom my friend is and what he
does to help us read. I will review that Eagles have great vision
and my friend “Eagle Eye” reminds us that when we are stuck
on a hard word to look at the picture to give us a clue for the
15. Beginning Literacy Learner
I will show two vocabulary cards to preview
challenging words in our story: over and under.
Next, I will show my literacy learner the Five Finger
Retell that she is also familiar with from her shared
reading. I will ask her to tell me what the first finger
We will preview the title and cover page. Who do
you think the characters are? (Cat and mouse).
16. Beginning Literacy Learner
Next, I will Model the purpose for reading, “I want to find out if cat
will catch mouse?”.
We will review what sound letter /a/ says and the digraph /ou/
says. Review what the digraph /oo/ says.
Student makes Letter sound cards for /ou/ and /oo/ with digraph
letters on one side of the card and a picture and/or word with
those sounds on the other side.
Cassandra will then do a cold read of Cat and Mouse.
Student tells me the characters and setting in the story.
Student tells me the problem and solution in the story.
Does cat ever catch mouse? Why not? What could cat have
done differently to catch mouse? Do you think cat will ever catch
mouse? How would you catch him if you were cat?
17. Beginning Literacy Learner
I will introduce the story Pet Cats and Big Cats as a nonfiction
book that is about how pet cats and wild cats are similar and
different, using schema from our fiction book.
I will ask my literacy learner what she knows about pet cats and
wild cats. I will record what she says..
I will set the purpose for reading by modeling “I want to read this
book to learn more about how wild cats are similar to pet cats”.
We will review the sight words: go, on, the, cat, sat, play, can,
like, up, too, in
Review “Stretchy Snake” decoding strategy friend. (Stretch each
sound out, and put him back together again).
18. Beginning Literacy Learner
Using Elkonin Boxes and chips, Cassandra will blend string, grass, cat,
and cubs, pet.
We will review the words lions, tigers, leopard, family
Day 1: Read aloud story to literacy learner
During reading today, model your thinking on page 35. Describe how pet
cats play with the string and wild cats can play with the grass. Describe
your thinking of how string and grass is similar because they are both
long and can move to make the cats pounce on them.
Day 2: Echo read
Day 3: Choral Read
Day 4: Shared reading
Day 5: Independently read (final read, hot read)
Add what Cassandra learned to what we know about pet cats and wild
Create a Venn diagram for pet cats and wild cats. How are wild cats and
pet cats similar?
19. Beginning Literacy Learner
I will ask Cassandra do you know what the word
Introduce What? As a story of a curious cat who is tired
of eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and
dinner. I wonder if cat will ever eat something different?
Sight word review: what, ask, said, can, I, have
Review the words: what, breakfast, curious, afternoon,
morning, lunch, and dinner.
Elkonin boxes and chips with the words: cat, fish,
20. Beginning Literacy Learner
Student listens to the eBook on iPad
Review “Eagle Eye” and “Stretchy Snake”
Student records herself reading the story on the iPad and
listens to herself reading afterward. Do each day for five
Next, student will take the eBook comprehension quiz,
which have five multiple choice comprehension questions.
The questions and answers are read aloud to her.
Student re-reads story and does a five-finger retell of the
story (characters, setting, problem, and solution).
On day five, listen to the recording from day 1 and day 5.
What has changed?
Some of the similarities and differences between instructional practices used
with emergent and beginning literacy learners are that both learners used
phonics and phonemic awareness skills and they thrived off of print-rich
environments, My role as an educator in early literacy instruction is to teach the
basic skills and to provide rich, meaningful, and engaging learning
Some insights that I gained about emergent and beginning literacy is that all
students can grow a strong base for literacy and reading development when
they are given the chance to engage in purposeful, significant language and
early print activities. The most important take-away is that reading is a
progression that develops upon a widespread variety of developing skills and is
an on-going process. Each child will progress through each of the stages of
reading development at their own rate. With strong foundational skills in place,
students can develop and thrive as readers.
My literacy environment has become more refined
through my learning in this course. I have more of
a balance in my genre of books for differentiated
reading groups. I have also learned to how to use
assessments to guide my instruction more than
ever before and use fun, engaging, and effective
strategies to teach the skills needed.
My digital story will support others to bring about
social change for literacy by teaching basic
literacy skills along with critical thinking and
researched based practices.
Afflerbach, P. (2012). Understanding and using reading assessment: K–
12 (2nd ed.). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
The Access Center. (2007). Literacy-rich environments. Retrieved from
Laureate Education (Producer). (2014a). Analyzing and selecting texts
[Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
Powell, O.K.& Powell, W. (2011). How to teach now. Educational
Rog, L. J. (2007). Marvelous minilessons for teaching beginning writing,
K–3. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Reutzel, D. R., & Cooter, R. B., Jr. (2016). Strategies for reading
assessment and instruction: Helping every child succeed (5th ed.).
Boston, MA: Pearson.