Open Discussion Forum

Subject: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

1.  DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 20 days ago
Hi everyone!! As most of us know the ability to read and write does not develop naturally, without careful planning and instruction. Children need regular and active interactions with print. Specific abilities required for reading and writing come from immediate experiences with oral and written language. What are some of your favorite ways to embed developmentally appropriate practices into these literacy experiences?

Kim Hughes
Conscious Connections LLC
Wake Forest NC

2.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 19 days ago
Hi Kim,
i appreciate your initiating a conversation about supporting early literacy learning in developmentally appropriate ways. However, I disagree a bit with your initial contention that reading and writing cannot develop naturally. Not unlike oral language, the most promising opportunities for children to grow into readers and writers include immersion in literate environments where they are encouraged to engage in authentic literacy experiences for real purposes. Reading and making meaning from real books, producing real pieces of writing connected to their lives and intentions, playing around with letters and words in ways that they find engaging, participating in meaningful child-led conversations with peers and adults--these are the learning experiences that support young literacy learners in natural ways. In my experience, it is when EC educators attempt to push text encounters separated from meaning or in ways that hold no connection to children's intentions that children's literacy turns into a school task rather than the lifelong engagement with meaning-making that we adults hold it to be.

i join you in looking forward to reading how others support literacy for young learners but I hope to find that many of us maintain a focus on supporting reading and writing in the natural, meaningful, and joyful ways it can be.

Sherry Sanden
Illinois State University
Normal IL

3.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 19 days ago
I agree whole hardheartedly that literacy which includes reading, should
develop "naturally". Here in South Africa, we use the word "emergent
reading and writing" which is a good description of the process taking
place from birth (even in pregnancy) in gaining language development. If
one takes in to consideration that all development emerge "naturally"
then language acquisition cannot be excluded. The same caution should be
implied NOT to force language development in any way but use the famous
"windows of opportunity" of Maria Montessori. There are too many
researching done which warns us about the dangers of forcing children to
gain skills.

Vriendelike groete / Kind Regards
Sophie Breytenbach

012 802 1532 (tel)
086 621 7831 (faks)
084 840 0618 (sel)

4.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 18 days ago

​Having engaged with children for the past 35 years, I have the concern that "natural" learning is going by the wayside.  I believe Children learn their skills through interaction with their peers, families, and unfortunately technology.  I say unfortunately because we are seeing children at the age of 2, 3, & 4 entering our centers with no social skills, no language, no desire to explore.  Give them an electronic device and they are content to stay in their spot and fixate on the games for hours at a time.  When a 4 year old comes to me and says they are "bored", I give them  paper and pencil, bucket and shovel, or pieces of cardboard/glue, and say Pretend your are.......

We use a lot of music, rhyming, word association with Pictures, dancing, cadence, repetitive games, role play.

My grandson started kindergarten this year.  His very first assignment (homework) was to "face time" someone and tell them the name of his teacher.  Really?   Why not have him talk with his parents or visit a friend or relative and tell them?

I found everyone's comments very informative.  I hope my contribution helps.

Kathryn Kaminski
The Gingerbread House Daycare Center
Rosenberg TX

5.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 18 days ago
Let's not forget some underlying research findings on reading.

Learning to read and developing oral language are related. There is a lot of research demonstrating that you need to provide children with ample opportunities to develop their oral language, a foundation on which reading builds. There is also a lot of research showing that children's receptive language/vocabularies grow from children being regularly and often read good quality children's literature. There is also research connecting learning to read and learning to write, showing a strong connection between the two. The research has shown that it is unclear whether one develops before the other. A lot of research shows that reading and writing develop simultaneously. 


Dr. Nora Krieger
Associate Professor Emerita
Early Childhood Education
Bloomfield College
467 Franklin Street
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Chair, NJEEPRE (New Jersey Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia)

6.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 18 days ago
  |   view attached
I recently wrote an essay related to the subject. Some of the recommendations and strategies I found includes,
  • Reading Aloud, and using big books to help children distinguish features of print.
  • Encourage children to talk about picturess, actions, and retelling, to enhance their comprehension of stories.
  • Loan age-appropriate and culturally relevant books to families and encourage them to engage in interactive reading.

For writing;
  • We can use interactive writing where you act as the scribe, writing down, as children dictate the text to be written. 
  • Do not focus on mechanics but meaning, to empower children to write more.
  • Incorporate writing in play such as making a grocery list.
You can find attached my essay on literacy if you are interested.

Maame Efua Okine
Great Falls MT


7.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 18 days ago
What a great discussion! This is a very relevant and important topic that all working with young children should be talking about. Rooted in all child development theories are the concepts of NATURE and NUTURE, and I love that all of the posts so far connect to one or the other, or both. At the Gesell Institute, we believe that children develop (cognitively, physically, emotionally, intellectually) as they go through patterned stages of development. All children go through the same stages as they grow, yet at their own unique rate. This is the nature side. Heredity, culture, temperament all play a role in a child's growth and rate of growth as well. This translates to literacy in that children are not cognitively ready for certain aspects of reading instruction until they reach a certain stage in their development. We also believe that environment, experiences, and interactions with caregivers play a crucial role in overall development, and brain development. These build the foundation for each next stage in growth, and readiness for learning when the time is right. The goal is to not give them "beyond" what they are ready for, but instead to use developmentally appropriate activities for each child to build that foundation.
Learning and growth in children does occur naturally, but also needs the support of knowledgeable caregivers who can provide the right environment, experiences, and interactions.

For more information about what we do and resources, visit

Erin Akers
Director of Education and Development
Gesell Institute of Child Development
New Haven CT

8.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 17 days ago
Very interesting discussion about the  teacher-directed/planned vs. natural/emergent approaches to teaching literacy in kindergarten.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in literacy instruction is not an "either/or," but a "both/and" process. For me, the main consideration is to be engaged and responsive to children's experience to help "close the loop" of learning when the children make discoveries about language and literacy. We as educators can support this by creating a print-rich and language supportive environment to support development of "The Big Five" (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension) within the context of interactions in the classroom. I recently saw a teacher engaging with children at lunch help build on an alliteration a child made/discovered ("more milk") by highlighting and building on the "mmm" sound by connecting to other words starting with the "m" sound the child knows. The teacher then connected the words back to the letter "m" and even finding a printed "m" in the room to help the child connect ("closing the loop" of the child's natural learning discovery).

Building on another observation in this thread:  While there are can definitely be problems with widespread media use making engagement with more active types of learning difficult, media can be beneficial for providing "connection points" and possibilities for "extension" for guiding language and literacy development. Just like the movie "Beauty and the Beast" in the early 1990's introduced the word "provincial" to a whole generation of children, cartoons and animated films continue to be a powerful tool for building vocabulary. In a recent round of vocabulary assessments, I was amazed at how many children--including DLL and developmentally delayed children--know what pandas, penguins, and hyenas are as a result of movies they have seen. Some of the more advanced children easily identified "clarinet" because, as one child explained, Squidward plays the clarinet in Spongebob Squarepants.

While I am certainly not advocating for using cartoons or videos in the classroom (children tend to get plenty of media exposure elsewhere!), being able to connect to and build on the natural learning children experience everywhere is, to me, an important part of building children's literacy knowledge and foundation in a developmentally appropriate way.

Jared Lisonbee
Research Analyst
Utah Community Action Head Start
Salt Lake City, UT

9.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 16 days ago
I love your remarks.  I've been thinking a lot about Kindergarten Readiness and early literacy in particular.  You are so right on target, and it it is refreshing to hear your "voice."  have a great day!

Claire Yenish, MA
Pyramid Model Coach
Montana CCR&R Network
Billings, MT

10.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 16 days ago
Great discussion but let's not forget that 1/3 of young learners in the U.S. speak languages other than English. All of these great strategies will fall short of we don't join forces and help teachers learn ways to adapt their teaching to support home languages and meet the individual needs of children. There are a lot of resources available to help, such as Colorin Colorado, Language Castle, and Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. Young Children and Teaching Young Children magazines have many articles that incorporate supports for children who are dual language learners. Perhaps the the place to start is the research-based strategy of using home language supports to build on what children already know and to help them connect to comprehension of English words. What have you tried? What resources do you depend on? What more can we do to support teachers who work in linguistically diverse classrooms?

Karen Nemeth
Language Castle LLC
Newtown PA

11.  RE: DAP Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

Posted 15 days ago
I have found the NAEYC Spotlight on Language and Literacy book to be invaluable.  It has many helpful articles on different aspects of language and literacy, my favorite of which has great examples of how to build fine motor strength over time with activities that are easy to implement in the classroom.

Sherrie Rose Mayle
San Jose CA