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Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education


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Table of Contents

1 Introduction to Literacy: Definitions and Theoretical PerspectivesDefining literacyTheoretical perspectives on literacyAffective factors and young children's literacy learningPART 1: YOUNG CHILDREN, LANGUAGE AND LITERACY2 Understanding Oral LanguageIntroductionLanguage and communicationLanguage and speechExpressive (productive) and receptive modesProperties of languageComponents of spoken languageLanguage is functionalLanguage registerListening (receptive language)Language and cultureLanguage variations3 Oral Language: Perspectives and PhasesTheoretical perspectives on oral language learningPhases, stages and milestones of oral language developmentBilingual and multilingual language learners4 Early Childhood Settings and Oral Language Learning and DevelopmentIntroductionLanguage development and the home settingLanguage development and the childcare settingLanguage development and the preschool settingLanguage development and the early years of the primary school setting5 Key Early Childhood Learning Contexts for Oral LanguagePlay and oral languageReading aloud to childrenStorytellingConversations and discussionsInvestigations6 Learning Experiences and Activities for Speaking and ListeningIntroduction: Important considerationsSpeaking and listening activitiesActivities with a listening focusDrama as a medium for speaking and listening development7 Language, Thinking and LearningCognition and languageLanguage use and brain developmentThe relationship between language and cognitionInner speech and thinkingLanguage and learningQuestioning for cognition and learning8 Assessing Speaking and ListeningAssessment issues in Early ChildhoodWhat needs to be assessed?The components of languageCollecting data about children's oral languageDocumentation of oral language learningInterpreting the information gathered about oral language PART 2: YOUNG CHILDREN AND READING9 Understanding ReadingDefining readingFoundational knowledge for readingKnowledge about text purposesPhonological awarenessKnowledge about letters and soundsLetter-sound relationshipsWord recognition: Phases of developmentSight wordsReading developmentPerspectives on how to teach readingChild-initiated or educator-initiated literacy learning?10 Phonological Awareness, Letters, Sounds and Sight WordsPhonological awarenessTeaching phonological awarenessPrinciples for teaching phonological awarenessAssessment of phonological awarenessTeaching about letter-sound relationshipsWhat do children need to know about letter-sound relationships?Suggested sequences for teaching phonicsPrinciples of phonics teachingStrategies and games for teaching phonicsWorking with letters and soundsAssessment of letter-sound knowledgeTeaching sight wordsStrategies for teaching sight wordsAssessment of sight-word knowledge11 Vocabulary for Reading and WritingWhat do we mean by vocabulary?Why is vocabulary important in reading and writing?How does vocabulary develop?Levels of vocabulary knowledgeHow can vocabulary learning be facilitated in the early years?Indirect instructionExplicit vocabulary instructionWord studyWord sorts/classificationsPurposeful strategic conversationsUsing dictionariesUsing contextual cuesTeaching word consciousnessSome principles for vocabulary teachingAssessment of vocabulary knowledgeToolbox of Vocabulary Strategies12 Strategies for Teaching ReadingPedagogical strategies for supporting readingReading aloud to childrenShared readingGuided readingLanguage Experience ApproachBuddy readingIndependent readingReciprocal teachingLiterature circlesMatching texts to childrenFinding out about children's reading interests13 Reading for ComprehensionIntroductionHow can reading comprehension be defined?What does a child need to know and do to comprehend a text?Reading comprehension: Suggested developmental pathway'Levels' of comprehensionStrategic processes for comprehensionTeaching comprehension processes and strategiesComprehension of informational textsProviding appropriate textsVocabulary for readingComprehension of multimodal textsGood practice recommendationsAssessment of reading comprehensionToolbox of Comprehension Strategies14 Developing Reading FluencyWhat is reading fluency?Elements of reading fluencyWhy is reading fluency important?Fluency developmentKey practices for fostering reading fluencyImproving the elements of fluencyImproving expressivenessUsing ICTs to teach reading fluencyPulling it all togetherAssisting struggling readersAssessment of reading fluencyWhat not to doToolbox of Fluency Strategies PART 3: YOUNG CHILDREN AND WRITING15 Introduction to WritingWritten communicationFour components of writingThe physical aspect of writingWriting traitsThe writing processChildren's growth in written communicationUsing the phases of writing development16 Writing Purpose and Text organisationIntroductionWriting purposeAudienceWritten textsTypes of textsTeaching about texts: Beginning and emergentTeaching about texts in the early years of school17 The Writing Conventions: Grammar and PunctuationWriting conventionsWhat is grammar?Oral language and grammar as a prelude to writingUnderstanding English grammarPunctuationTeaching about the writing conventions18 Spelling and HandwritingThe importance of good spellingThe English orthographic systemSpelling knowledgeSpelling strategiesChildren's spelling developmentInvented spellingTeaching spellingSpelling activitiesSpelling journalsSpelling lessonsSpelling and editingHandwriting19 Key Strategies for Teaching WritingIntroductionModelled writingShared writingWorking with texts produced in modelled or shared writingInteractive writingLanguage Experience ApproachGuided writingIndependent writingThe teaching strategies in use20 Writing Experiences and ActivitiesThe emergence of writingSupporting the emergence of writingSupporting children's further progress as writersDeveloping writing lessons for children in the early years of schoolEstablishing the stimulus for writing activities21 Assessing and Evaluating WritingWhat to assess?Collecting information about children's writingSpellingAssessment of writing interest and motivation PART 4: FRAMING LANGUAGE AND LITERACY LEARNING22 Children's Literature by Helen AdamWhat is children's literature?The place of literature in the curriculumLaying the foundationsResponse to literatureCreating a positive environment for dynamic literary response23 Visual and Critical LiteracyIntroductionDefining critical literacyVisual literacy and its importance in the 21st centuryDefining viewing or visual literacyBroad approaches to teaching viewingSuggested themes for critical and visual literacyAssessment of visual literacy24 Language, Literacy and Information and Communication TechnologiesYoung children and ICTsSAMR and TPACKUsing ICTs to further young children's literacy learningICTs to help children learn sight words, comprehension and fluencyWriting using ICTsICT-based concept mapping for reading and writingUsing the webInteractive whiteboardsICTs and safety concerns25 Connecting with FamiliesFamily literacy practicesFamily literacy practices and emerging literacyOral language as a component of family literacyFamily literacy and emergent literacyFamily literacy diversityFamily literacy initiativesParent-educator partnershipsThe benefits of parent-educator partnershipsPartnership practicesWorking with families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds26 Planning for Language and LiteracyThe learning programThe literacy-enriched environmentLanguage and literacy programs for the different early childhood settingsThe informed early childhood professionalAppendix A: Compendium of Teaching Strategies and Activities for Language and LiteracyAppendix B: Test Your Language and Literacy Knowledge

About the Author

Janet Fellowes - Senior Lecturer, School of Education, Edith Cowan University. Grace Oakley - Associate Professor/Primary Program Course Coordinator Graduate School of Education, University of Western Australia.


Review of the first edition"Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education is a valuable text, of benefit to both pre-service teachers and to early childhood practitioners in under-five settings and for educators in the first years of school. It is contemporary in its approach and very practical in its orientation, while the ideas suggested for the support of young children's developing language and literacy competency are grounded in established theoretical perspectives and solid research. This book is an excellent resource and I applaud the authors for their work." Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 2013

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