What is Literacy in Preschool Children

Essay by nathan00University, Bachelor'sB-, October 2009

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What is Literacy? According to dictionary.com, to be literate means to be able to read and write, to be well read or to have knowledge or skill in a specific field. Emergent literacy begins in the very early stages of childhood, and is the beginning of literacy development, involving such activities as 'reading' from pictures and 'writing' with scribbles. 'Reading' a book from memory while turning the pages of the book, develops a child's understanding of books and stories, as well as giving them a sense of accomplishment and pride, and is an important step towards becoming an independent reader. (Emerson, 2003). Even before babies begin to babble or say their first word, they are beginning to develop skills necessary to learn how to talk and read. Through gestures, facial expressions and body language, they begin to communicate and participate in 'conversations' with their caregivers. (http://www.ed.gov/inits/americareads/educators_early.html)"Literacy includes the development of communication skills as well as thinking skills."

(Carwile, p.16, 2003). Literacy is not just the acts of reading and writing, it is communication with others, whether it be through pictures, oral, written, electronic, or visual language. Being literate means to be able to communicate well with others in some way. It is therefore very important for children to learn about. (Carwile, 2003) One of the principles of TeWhāriki is that of communication. Language is a very important part of communication, and is not just oral, but includes pictures, music, movement, mathematics, rhythm and more. Developing an understanding of and competence in their mother tongue is a major task for children. Not only are they learning to communicate with others in many different ways, but they are also learning to interpret the ways in which others communicate and express their experiences. Adults should understand and encourage both verbal and non-verbal communication...