Giving children choices is an important way to draw them into a love of literacy. Having a wide variety of books available and encouraging children to choose something that is appealing to them is an essential part of literacy. This is also a key 'best practice' in teaching our English learners. By providing dual language students with books that are meaningful and aligned with their interests, encourages them to interact with English literacy to a greater degree.
One way to learn about the interests of your children is to have them create "About Me" bags. You can demonstrate how to put together the contents of these bags by creating one of your own. Put objects that relate to your interests in a bag. As you take out each item, explain in simple sentences, the meaning of each object. For example, if you have a dog, you can include a stuffed dog or small statue of a dog. When you participate too, it excites the class and encourages children to participate.
After learning about interests, you can use the library to find books that will motivate children who may not have chosen to visit the "book corner." Remember, research tells us that the more access a child has to books, the better reader and writer that child is likely to become.
After you discover interests, it is also important to learn more about children's attitudes toward literacy. We looked at several attitude surveys and found few that are appropriate for our emerging readers. So...we created our own. Click Hart Emergent Reader Literacy Survey to access it.
We suggest you sit down with each child and read the sentences orally. You can see that this will likely take less than a minute per child. Allow children to circle their response. By watching their pencil control, you can learn about fine motor skills, too!
NAEYC - 2. E. 04 & 05.
Head Start - VII. A. & E.