What Can We Do?
Preschool and kindergarten teachers have opportunities to incorporate meaningful emergent literacy opportunities throughout the classroom, focusing with intention on those areas that are predictive to reading success. Talking about books, repeated readings of familiar stories, singing rhyming songs, chants, social and verbal interactions, print awareness activities and playing with letters all encourage vocabulary skills, pre-literacy concepts and sound discrimination.
Research states that the type of interventions to prevent reading difficulties do not change in content or strategy, but in intensity and frequency. Quality instruction should be given to all. For children at risk for or presenting early reading difficulties, this instruction should be delivered in a more direct approach on a more consistent basis. For example, a lesson on rhyming words might include a rhyming story, with a rhyming game and a song with fill-in-the-blank rhyming opportunities.
Discussion before and after reading is encouraged and has been shown to increase interest and motivation. Using big books, predictable books and rebus books across a variety of genres aids in vocabulary development and print concept knowledge.
For children identified as at-risk, this concept might be done in a smaller group with a more direct approach, while still being playful and meaningful for the child (increased intensity). In addition, it should be repeated more often, maybe two times per class day rather than one time (frequency). This increase in intensity and frequency will allow the child multiple opportunities to be introduced to and experience the new skills.