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Early Language and Literacy Portfolio

Sandy Segura

LBS 310

Prof. Stacy
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Teacher Disposition

Language and literacy are two very important concepts that are taught in the classroom

environment. The reason these two skills are important to grasp in early education is because they are

continuously used and expanded on within each grade level a student enters. As a child I can recall my

struggle with learning to read and develop my vocabulary skills. As a future educator it is important to

learn from my personal growth and implement it in the classroom. Since I struggled with these concepts

as a child, I learned that children should not only learn from the teacher but from other resources, such

as gaining knowledge from interactive activities with fellow peers. The memories I have most from

kindergarten were my struggles in language and literacy. I would not want those experiences for my

future students. I would want them to be proud of their accomplishments gaining these skills. As a

future educator it is important to take into consideration that every student learns through a different

technique. Some students may be visual learners while others may be audio learners. This is why I would

teach using a number of activities and lessons that are engaging and connect to language and literacy.

The photographs below are of a previous assignment from a Liberal Studies 203 course. I chose to

include these slides because they contribute some of the similar ideas I have had and can also make

comparisons to how I have grown, and how my ideas toward education have expanded. I have learned a

lot through the text “Literacy Beginnings A Prekindergarten Handbook” by authors’ Gay Su Pinnell &

Irene C. Fountas. As a future educator I would like to be open minded to different teaching techniques in

order to ensure my students grow and gain the skills they need to succeed.
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Classroom Design

The classroom environment is significant to the students’ development in subjects such

as language and literacy. Reading and writing are two skills that students will continue to

enhance and carry with them into each grade level, for this reason students should have access

to these skills throughout the classroom. One way I would have my classroom set up is by

providing students with printed labels and organization. According to the text Literacy

Beginnings: A Prekindergarten Handbook by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas, it states,

“Labeling objects in your room with pictures and words is another opportunity to expose

children to new words and to support their developing awareness of print in the world” (p. 87).

Using this idea I would have the class labeled with different areas that will include: writing,

math, art, and play centers and a library. These centers will be labeled in separate locations in

the class, and they will include work that the students completed throughout the year. It is also

important to label storage containers and places to put materials away. Labeling storages will

provide students with more print environment and gain the confidence and responsibility in

knowing where to put items away. It would also be beneficial to have a list of the alphabet

because knowledge the alphabet is significant to language and literacy in that with will help

them recognize letters in print. The alphabet list can be provided above the white board where

it will be in perfect view of the students.

Another way to include print in the classroom is by creating a word wall and a math

wall. The word wall will be located in the reading center and it will include lists of high and low

frequency words the children will have learned in class. The math wall will include pictures of

geometric shapes and their names, and numbers should also be given and written out. Another
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way to introduce print in the classroom environment is by providing a library for the students.

This section will be located in between the play area and writing centers. I would also like to

provide students with bilingual books. I feel that providing books in different languages will

bring students together socially by understanding another person’s culture. Another important

aspect is the play and art center that will be located across one another. It is important for

students to be able to express themselves and interact with one another because socializing

will help them to enhance their language skills and they will become more comfortable with

one another. According to Pinnell and Fountas state, “The whole environment should make

sense to the children who are working, playing, and learning within it” (page56). As a potential

teacher it is important to take the layout of a classroom very seriously. These are all important

ways in which I will take into consideration when planning the design of my classroom, and can

be provided in the images below.

Math Center Teacher’s Alphabet (above) Doorway

hg White Board

Play Area
& math wall

Book Shelf
Book shelf

Bean bag chairs

Writing Center Center
& Word Wall Desk Desk

My Classroom Layout (my design). Made. 12/9/16

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Classroom Design

My Photograph. (White Board & Labeling) 12/09/16 My Photograph. (Math Wall.) 12/09/16

My Photograph (Classroom Design) 12/09/16 My Photograph (Writing Center) 12/09/16

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Facilitating Language/Literacy Development

In order to help develop students’ language and literacy skills students will need to be

provided with a large amount of social and engaging activities. According to the text it states,

“Language is a social tool, and there are important understandings that children need to

develop over time” ( Pinnell & Fountas, 2011, p. 79). Poetry and rhymes are a way to develop

these skills. When children become comfortable following along they will be able to read the

poems themselves through memorization, this

activity will allow them to focus on both

language and literacy development. In this

case I would like to provide my students with

an area in the classroom dedicated to learning

poetry where they can interact with each

other, use instruments such as a piano, and

have their own book of songs that they have

learned throughout the year, the two

photographs I have provided to the left can be

used as a reference. The text states, “children

enjoy the patterns and rhymes again and again

and in the process they learn new vocabulary

words but also more complex language

patterns and grammatical structures” (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011, p. 85). As a potential educator I

would like to provide these activities to develop language and literacy skills in my students.
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Early Reading

Another important concept children must learn in their classroom environment is

reading development. One way I would want to enhance my students’ skills is by reading aloud

to them. I would schedule a time of day to sit my students down at the carpet and read to

them. I can also use this read aloud as an opportunity to have them practice the alphabet and

vocabulary words. For instance, I can pick four letters to focus on and ask the students what

words within the book have

the same beginning sound

as the letters that were

chosen to work with. Then

these words can be added

underneath a word wall

(such as the image I have

personally provided to the

left). Another Read aloud

activity that can be used to make books enjoyable for children and they can become more

interactive with storytelling. Pinnell and Fountas state, “To make wonderful books memorable,

children can respond to them in various ways—role-play, make puppets, paint pictures, cook

coup, make clay or play dough objects, ect” (2011, p. 121). These activities sound very

interactive and I have had my personal share in role playing a story, and I thought it was a fun

way of connecting to the story. Once in a theater class that was connected to teaching

techniques in the classroom, our professor had each group of students act out three scenes
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from a fairy tale of our choosing. The three scenes had to be in order from beginning, middle,

and the end. This would be a very unique way of teaching students how story sequence works

and a fun way of having them work together. As a teacher I would want my lessons to be as

interactive as possible.

A third way I would want to support students reading comprehension is through their

own shared reading. According to the text shared reading is a way for children to understand

the process of how print works such as reading from left to right and page by page. I have been

fortunate enough to work with children and observe

them grow in their knowledge of shared reading.

The reading states, “As you work with young

children, your best tools are your own eyes and

ears. Sit beside a child and watch him working.

Observation is the best way to assess their growth

in understanding” (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011, p. 208).

As a tutor it is my job to help students with their reading comprehension and to observe them

as they read independently. I have also had the fortunate opportunity in helping my nephew

progress with his reading comprehension. In the picture I have provided above taken on

12/09/16, is of a time I helped him read his first sentence from a children’s book Goodnight

Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Through these observations I have also learned that it does not

benefit children to use the same routine each time because children find it tedious and loose

interest in the activity, for this very reason I believe it is best to use more than one engaging

reading activity to peek students’ interest and help enhance their literacy skills.
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Early Writing

Writing is also an important skill students will develop in the classroom setting and it

can also be a challenging one. When practicing with my nephew in helping with his writing skills

he would become easily frustrated when his writing would look as he called it “messy”. One

practice I would use to teach writing to children is through independent writing and drawing.

The text explains, “Children can also use drawing to reflect what they have done or something

they have learned…Just a

step from drawing is

experimenting with all

kinds of writing” (Pinnell &

Fountas, 2011, p. 161). This

is one approach I would

take into consideration

when teaching children to

write. It is important to let

children express their thoughts and feelings to gain the confidence in sharing with others and

gaining practice in language and literacy skills. The image I have provided above taken 12/09/16

is a perfect example of this activity. The image is one that my nephew worked on. He wrote

scribbles, drew pictures, and even practiced writing his name. This was a picture he gave to me

and hung up on my cabinet. Whenever he gives me a new picture he tells me small details

about what he wrote and why. This practice is useful in the classroom because children can

save their work view their growth in writing throughout the year.
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Another useful activity I would perform in the classroom to advance students writing is

through a bookmaking. First I would bring them together as a class and inform them of what is

necessary for bookmaking such as the writing and illustration and what an author and

illustrator do. We would choose a topic as a class, write a story, and add pictures. Once the

students have the concept of bookmaking I would provide them with paper folded booklets

to create their own stories. The pictures I provided taken on 12/09/16 are instructions students

can follow when they work on their bookmaking activity. Pinnell and Fountas state, “The goal of

bookmaking is to help children think as writers. You want them to work with intention so that

they are purposefully moving forward. Through bookmaking they will learn much about

planning, and teaching is key” ( 2011, p. 167). I fortunately have had the opportunity

completing a bookmaking activity in my liberal studies 310 course. I thought the experience was

fun and following the instructions to fold a sheet of paper and making into a book was very

enjoyable. Through my own personal experience I decided this would be a fun activity to

incorporate into my class and that it would benefit students by developing their writing skills.
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Embracing Differences

As a potential educator I believe it is necessary for children to learn to embrace the knowledge of family

backgrounds and cultures. The reason for my beliefs in embracing differences is because it is important

to make all students feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe in their classroom environment. I would like

to provide images in the classroom of children with different background. I would also like to provide

print in different languages and even print containing positive messages that encourage students’

different characteristics. For example in the image I provided below taken on 12/09/16 is of unity

between a group of children that represent different cultural background, that I would want to include

in my classroom. Another way to include culture

or knowledge of other languages is through print.

The authors of Literacy Beginnings state, “In

addition, you may want include labels for objects in

your room in several different languages and even

include some books read in other languages in your

class listening center” (Pinnell & Fountas, 2011, p.

102). This is an approach I would like to include into my classroom environment because I think it would

be a unique way to introduce students to differences of culture and language. Books are also a useful

way to introduce children to language. One book I found

interesting was Just A Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting

Book by Yuyi Moralez the image to right I have provided was

taken on 12/11/16. The reason I enjoyed this book is because it

introduces the reader to numbers in English and Spanish. It also

uses food and colorful decorations that represent some

Hispanic cultures. This was also the first cultural and bilingual
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children’s book I was ever introduced to, and I would like to give my students a wider range of books to

learn from. These are some approaches I would use to introduce my students to the differences of

culture and language.

Providing students with books in other languages can be useful to also teach children about

differences in abilities. Students should understand that they will all not be at the same level in a specific

subject. Some students may be more advanced than others and should be respectful of that. As a tutor I

have had the experience of working with a student who needs support in English language learning.

When he speaks to me in Spanish I will respond to him in English. I learned that when I would respond to

him in Spanish it would discourage him from practicing speaking and completing his reading lesson in

English. In order to support students’ English language development I would use repetition of books and

also point to pictures to introduce them to proper names. Pinnelle & Fountas (2011) state, “Shared

reading involves children in a great deal of language repetition, often language that is different from or

more complex than the language they can currently use in speech. This experience gives English

language learners a chance to practice their new language, learn the meaning of words, and use the

sentence structures of English” ( p. 100). Providing books that are bilingual in a student’s specific at

home language can help encourage them and gain a better understanding of translation and practice

their language skills. When I tutor my student that is learning English I will first separate him from the

group to have more one on one practice. This practice allows him to gain the practice he needs such as

learning the letters and sounds of the alphabet in English, where as his other classmates have already

achieved this form of literacy. As a future educator it is important to be understanding of children with

language barriers and to support them as much as possible in their classroom environment. Using books

is a very useful way to help children overcome these abilities and as an educator I will need to learn

several approaches to encourage students to grow and succeed in the classroom.

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Working with Families

As a potential educator it would be beneficial to gain the help of students’ families. Students

should receive help to expand their education inside the classroom and their home environment.

A significant way families can support their children is by using narrative talk. As part of the students’

homework I would have them spend with their family members whether it is sharing a hobby, during

meal time, or even reading aloud. From the text Beginning Literacy with Language by David K. Dickinson

and Patton O. Tabors Chapter 4 “Eating and Reading” discusses the importance of narrative talk

between family members and children. This is one way support from families can help educators. As a

potential educator I would encourage students to engage in conversations with their family members as

much as possible. Mealtime conversations for instance can be

very beneficial to students’ growth in language and literacy.

The text states, “This is a form of narrative talk that children

need to learn in order to be successful in school tasks such as

recognizing sequences of events and planning for getting

homework home, completed, and returned to school”

(Dickinson and Tabors, 2001, p. 78). Not only can meal time be beneficial for children to learn from

narrative talk, but family members can also engage with children by reading to them and helping them

enhance their literacy and language skills. The photograph above can support the example of how

children can also learn from their family members. When children gain the support and encouragement

from their family members it will allow them to grow with the necessary skills to improve in the

classroom environment. As a potential teacher I would like to provide my students with the confidence

and encouragement they will need to enhance their literacy and language skills, and using all of the

approaches mentioned will help to achieve those goals.

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Reference List

Dickinson, David K. & Tabors, Patton O. (2001). Beginning Literacy with Language. Baltimore: Brookes
Publishing Co. p. 78.
Fountas, Irene C. & Pinnell, Gay Su. (2011). Literacy Beginnings a Prekindergarten Handbook. Heinemann

Portsmouth, NH, p. 56, 85, 87, 79, 100, 102, 121, 161, 167, 208.

Morales, Yuyi. (2003). Just A Minute A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. San Francisco: Chronicle books.
(Photograph of book cover. Just A Minute. Taken 12/11/16)
Photograph (father reading to children) by Prof. Stacy. (PowerPoint: Module 1: Early language & Literacy
Photos taken by or photographs provided by Sandy Segura (My Photographs, Dates taken, 12/09/2016
& 12/11/2016)
Wise Brown, Margaret. (2005). Goodnight Moon. New York: HarperCollins.
(Photograph of Goodnight Moon. Taken 12/09/16)