Use strategies to plan activities which encourage: speaking and listening, reading, sustained shared thinking, writing, digital literacy

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.5: Develop emergent literacy skills of children
Learning outcome: Be able to plan activities to support emergent literacy
Assessment criteria: Use strategies to plan activities which encourage: speaking and listening, reading, sustained shared thinking, writing, digital literacy

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In the previous section, we looked at how a practitioner might plan for children’s participation in activities which support and extend emergent literacy.

On this page, we will explore some strategies that may be used to plan activities in five different areas.

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Speaking and listening

Early Years practitioners should plan activities to encourage speaking and listening by creating a supportive environment where children can express themselves freely. This includes setting aside time for story-telling, rhymes, singing songs, and other speaking activities. It is important to provide opportunities for the children to practice their listening skills by asking questions that they can answer and actively engaging with them while they are speaking. Practitioners should also use props or visual aids to support the children’s understanding of stories and encourage them to ask questions and participate in conversations.

Reading

Early Years practitioners should provide a variety of different reading materials, such as books, magazines, flashcards and comic strips. It is also important to create an environment where the children feel comfortable enough to pick up the material and explore it at their own pace. Practitioners can also model their own reading behaviour for the children by listening to stories, pointing out words on signs or labels, and responding to the child’s comments when they are reading. Additionally, engaging in related activities like drawing pictures or writing stories that accompany the text helps to make the experience more meaningful for the child.

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Sustained shared thinking

Early Years practitioners can plan activities to encourage sustained shared thinking by creating opportunities for the children to work together in small groups. Practitioners can facilitate this by providing appropriate activities and tasks, such as puzzles, problem-solving exercises and team games, that require the children to collaborate. It is also important to provide an environment that fosters mutual respect, as well as enough time for each child to share their ideas without feeling rushed or pressured. Multiple activities can be linked to facilitate more in-depth coverage. For example, after reading a book about dragons, you might plan an activity to paint a picture of a dragon. You could then discuss the child’s picture with them and how their dragon links in with some of the things read about in the book. Additionally, practitioners should give regular feedback on the progress of the activity and praise any achievements made during the process.

Writing

Early Years practitioners should plan activities to encourage writing by providing a variety of materials for mark-making activities, such as pencils, paper and paint. Practitioners can also design activities that facilitate different aspects of writing, such as identifying letters and spelling words. Additionally, fostering an environment where the children have time to think about what they want to say before expressing it in written form helps to develop their understanding of language and communication. Finally, engaging in related activities like drawing pictures or using rhymes can help motivate the children and make the activity more enjoyable.

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Digital literacy

Early Years practitioners can plan activities to encourage digital literacy by providing children with technology that is age-appropriate and suitable for their stage of development. To help scaffold the learning process and ensure that all children understand what they are doing, it is important to break down complex tasks into smaller steps, provide examples and support when needed, and give feedback regularly. Additionally, engaging in related activities, such as creating art projects electronically or discussing online safety measures with the children, can improve their digital literacy skills. It is important for children not to spend too long looking at a screen as this can have the opposite effect and stifle language and communication development because of the lack of face-to-face interaction. Therefore, screen time should only constitute a small percentage of daily activity.

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