2. What does research tell us about developmentally appropriate Early Literacy practices for children ages 3-8?

Focusing on Research Based Early Literacy Practices with Children Ages 3-8

How can we ensure all students have a solid early literacy foundation at the International School of Florence? Becoming literate is a continuous developmental process that begins very early in life.  Although reading and writing abilities continue to develop throughout the lifespan, the early childhood years from birth through age eight are the most important period for literacy development (NAEYC and IRA 2009). It does not suddenly begin in kindergarten or first grade contrary to popular belief. In an interview, Sally Shaywitz, Co-director of the Yale Center for Study of Learning and Attention, states –children between 4 and 6 are at the cusp of learning to read.Their spoken language system is in place. They are ready to build the connection to print. It is an incredibly exciting time. They want the sign―Go. When one combines the weight of the preceding statements with the scientific evidence available today through the work of Stanislas Dephaene, PH Seymour and John Hattie one has the basis for this action research project. Through our work we hope to shed light on effective researched based literacy practices. Our aim is the implementation of a systematic, sequential and developmentally appropriate approach to early literacy based on a deep understanding of language and writing systems that incorporates both direct instruction and inquiry-based learning for children ages 3-8. We believe developmentally appropriate practice means, ‘Literacy instruction need not exclude play, and playful environments need not exclude literacy instruction’ (Neuman & Roskos 1992). Our research will focus on children ages 3-6 by implementing practices that target print awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics respectively. Research has told us what works. Our project considers how this research might be translated into effective classroom practice as a next step.

Early literacy ·Print awareness. Intervention · Phonological awareness  Phonics-Orthography· Instructional Dicotomies. Sensitive periods. Invented spelling

Diane Lutz, Reading Intervention Specialist; Mary Rose, Grade 4 Teacher