Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Children's Literature Development (0-60 Months)click to print Print

Joyce Bainbridge and Julie Gellner, University of Alberta

Children's literature - refers to those print materials including fiction, nonfiction, magazines, and poetry that possess an aesthetic quality, are written primarily with an audience of young readers in mind, are acknowledged by critics to meet high standards, are well written and illustrated, and provide children with pleasurable and challenging reading experiences.

Concepts about print - the fundamental concepts that a developing reader must understand in order to learn to read and write including directionality, book orientation, and the concepts of a letter, a word, and a sentence.

Decoding - the process by which readers construct meaning from written symbols.

Dialogic reading - A term used by Whitehurst (1988) to describe strategies that promote active engagement of young children with reading. These techniques include encouraging children to talk about pictures and stories in response to open-ended questions; providing feedback to expand upon children's observations and questions; and being sensitive to children's developing abilities as a guide for sophistication of questions and conversations.

Directionality - refers, in the English language, to the way print is written and read. More specifically, children learning to read learn that (1) print begins at the top of a page and continues to the bottom, (2) we read and write from left to right on the page, (3) the front of a book opens on the right, and (4) directionality is important to the identity of letters.

Early literacy - refers to the literacy practices of young children. The term respects young children as capable communicators who make meaning based on what they know and are in the process of learning.

Emergent literacy - Sulzby (1985) defines emergent literacy as the reading and writing concepts, attitudes, and behaviours that precede and develop into conventional literacy. Emergent literacy begins in the home, at birth and involves interactions with print.

Engagement - a participant's total involvement and pleasure in a reading, writing, speaking, and listening activity for its own sake.

Genres - categories of literature having distinct forms and functions such as myth, fable, poetry, fantasy,and realistic fiction.

Intonation - refers to the vocal patterns created by rising and falling pitch. A term often associated with music or chanting.

Labeling – a reader will point to an illustration of a person, place or thing, and simultaneously pronounce the word associated with that image.

Literacy – the ability to read, write, speak, listen, view, and think about ideas by understanding and using spoken and written language in diverse ways. Fundamental literacy is the ability to read and write.

Phoneme - the smallest unit of sound in a word. For example, a single or several letters (t/e/l/e/ph/o/ne).

Phonemic awareness - the ability to segment spoken words into their distinct sounds, or phonemes. The spoken word "pig" consists of three separate phonemes, one for each letter in the written word, P - I - G. The spoken word "thin" has three phonemes (th/i/n).

Picture books - books in which illustrations play an integral role in creating meaning. In a picture book, print and pictures work together.

Read-aloud - the act of reading a book out loud. During a read-aloud parents or caregivers share their enjoyment of literature and model intonation, expression and pronunciation, and foster comprehension strategies by engaging children with stories and information books.

Bainbridge, J., & Gellner, J. (2009). Glossary: Children and Computers 30 - 60 Months. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 – 60 Months. [online], p. 1-2. London, ON: Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network. Available at: Handbook of language and literacy development