Literacy is a constant presence in the preschool room: whether children are observing teachers or work-study students taking notes, listening to their peers tell a story, or placing their signatures on their art work, literacy is all around!
As children begin to understand that print carries meaning, they begin to understand the power of bringing a pen or marker to paper--the impressive capacity to create another form of communication. As is extremely common with preschool-aged children, what is often most important in their lives enters the classroom through dramatic play, art, and literacy.
Of late, we have noticed a significant number of children being drawn to the writing table with requests for teachers to write down words, which often accompany their drawings or their personal narratives. With each story or image that is preserved in written form, the significance of the written word is demonstrated over and over.
Inevitably, the preschoolers have developed an affinity for certain words of which they request the spelling of many times throughout the day. These powerful words--words of naming, of loved ones, of cherished objects or places--become some of the first words that a preschooler will recognize, and actually read as a complete entity. The word is seen and understood immediately, with the force of whole-language learning just beginning!
As a way to reinforce this learning, which evolves as naturally as their early capacity for understanding spoken or signed language, we celebrate and treasure these first words with "Word Boxes." These boxes will stay in the child's art basket, so that they can be accessed throughout the day.
Here are just a few of those special words:
Megan: Love, Six, Emma, Mommy, Daddy, Megan, Birthday
Greta: Birthday, Mystic
Maeve: Maeve, Gracie, Jack, Peter, Summer, Kyle, Anna, Ada, Megan, Aidan, Ethan, Ari
Charlie: Charlie, Ball, Snow, Bat
Saoirse: Happy Birthday, Bob
Kyle: Cake, I Love You, Star Wars
Aidan: Garden snake, great horned owl, Snowy owl, Brachiosaurus, Lizard, Crocodile