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Illinois Early Learning Guidelines

2013 Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Early Literacy

Standard: Children demonstrate interest in and comprehension of printed materials.

Keep In Mind

Child development does not occur in isolation; children reach their developmental milestones within their social and cultural contexts. However, while “how the child develops” may look different, “what the child develops” can be observed in a more universal fashion. Below are some indicators that may warrant a discussion with child’s healthcare provider for closer examination.

  • Does not smile by four months of age
  • Does not babble, point, or make meaningful gestures by 12 months of age
  • Does not verbally imitate the names of familiar objects by 18 months of age
  • Does not use three-word phrases by age three

Early Literacy includes both spoken components and written forms of language.[1] Children develop early literacy skills through their everyday interactions with their caregivers. These include singing, rhyming, and reading books together. Young children explore books though looking, mouthing, and touching them. They “read” books by simply moving books around or turning pages. These early experiences are the beginning of reading and writing for young children and influence the development of their literacy skills.

During the second year of life, children show an increased interest in books. They point to certain pictures, and initiate reading together by gesturing to a particular book. Children identify pictures of certain objects that they are familiar with and name them. Children also become aware of print that is found in their environment. This includes magazines, newspapers, signs, and symbols. Scribbling and drawing also happen during the end of the second and throughout the third year. Opportunities to hold writing utensils, scribble, and draw help children develop their pre-writing skills.

Children begin to build the foundation for early literacy by exploring printed materials and building a capacity for reading printed materials.

Indicators for children include:

  • Shows awareness of printed materials, e.g., stares at a picture in a book
  • Reaches out to grasp and mouth books
  • Uses multiple senses to explore books, e.g., explores books with different textures
  • Uses hands to manipulate printed materials, e.g., attempts to turn pages of a board book, grasps objects in hands
  • Points or makes sounds while looking at picture books
  • Focuses attention while looking at printed materials for brief periods of time

Strategies for interaction

  • Introduce books from diverse cultures and incorporate them into the child’s daily routine
  • Allow the child to explore books by mouthing and turning the pages
  • Share different types of printed materials with the child, e.g., board books, magazines, cereal boxes
  • Name and point to objects in the child’s environment
  • Spend time with the child reading and looking at books together

Children become participants as they actively engage in literacy activities with printed materials.

Indicators for children include:

  • Points to pictures in a book and reacts, e.g., smiles when sees a picture of a dog
  • Initiates literacy activities, e.g., gestures toward a book or attempts to turn pages of a paper book or magazine
  • Imitates gestures and sounds during activities, e.g., hand actions during singing, babbles as caregiver reads book
  • Increases ability to focus for longer periods of time on printed materials
  • Grasps objects and attempts to scribble, e.g., makes a slight mark with a crayon on a piece of paper

Strategies for interaction

  • Use songs and word rhymes; sing finger-play songs such as “pat-a-cake”
  • Point and name pictures in books
  • Read or sign stories that repeat words or phrases; ensure to say or sign these words or phrases in the child’s primary language if possible
  • Create designated areas in the classroom or at home where books are easily accessible to the child
  • Provide the child with opportunities to hold different types of writing utensils in his/her hands, e.g., large crayon or thick paint brushes

Children begin to demonstrate an understanding of printed words and materials.

Indicators for children include:

  • Turns the pages of a board book, one by one
  • Points to familiar pictures and actions in books
  • Repeats familiar words in a book when being read to
  • Begins to anticipate what may happen next in a familiar book, e.g., generates sounds and movements and/or uses words for pictures
  • Randomly scribbles
  • Identifies a favorite book and signals familiar others to read with him or her, e.g., brings the book over, or points and gestures

Strategies for interaction

  • Provide access to magazines and books throughout the child’s day
  • Encourage the child to repeat words and point to objects that are found in magazines and books
  • Name objects in the child’s environment, e.g., bed, window, table, bottle
  • Spend quality time with the child during which reading is the focus; follow the child’s lead during this time

Children engage others in literacy activities, and have an increased awareness and understanding of the variety of different types of print found in their environment

Indicators for children include:

  • Imitates adult role when engages with printed materials, e.g., pretends to read a book or newspaper to stuffed animals or dolls
  • Participates in early literacy activities independently, e.g., sits in a reading nook and browses through the pages
  • Recites parts of a book from memory
  • Scribbles in a more orderly fashion and begins to name what he or she has drawn
  • Expresses what happens next when reading a familiar book with a caregiver, e.g., uses gestures, words, and/or sounds

Strategies for interaction

  • Provide the child with books that he or she can connect to, e.g., a book about different foods, or about family
  • Encourage the child to guess what is happening in the book or what will happen next in a story by using pictures as a guide
  • Provide opportunities for the child to use art materials such as paper, paint, and crayons
  • Create a special book with the child’s picture and ensure that it reflects the child as a unique individual; read this book often with the child

Real World Story

Discover how this Real World Story is related to: domain 1: Social & Emotional Emotional ExpressionRelationship with Adultsdomain 2: Physical Gross MotorFine Motordomain 4: Cognitive Symbolic ThoughtCreative Expression

Sam is 32 months old. He is sitting in his Uncle Steve’s lap and together they are looking at an electronic reader. Steve is reading an electronic book to Sam, while Sam follows along, looking at the images on the screen. Steve says, “Look, Sam, do you see the turtle?” Sam nods his head, points to the image, and says, “Turtle!” Steve moves his fingers over the screen to turn to the next page. Sam begins to attempt the same action over the screen. Steve stops reading and asks, “Do you want to try to turn the page?” Sam nods his head and attempts again. He is successful and claps his hands when he is finished. Steve exclaims, “Yay! You did it!” matching Sam’s enthusiasm.

They continue to read the story and Sam turns all the pages on the screen for Steve. Sam interrupts Steve a few times to point to an image and names what he is pointing to. When they reach the end of the story, Sam says, “More book” to Steve. Steve nods and begins to read another brief story. Sam sits back in Steve’s lap and listens. Steve gets to a point in the story where there is a lion’s roar. Sam leaps up and begins to crawl on the floor, roaring. Steve puts the electronic reader aside, and begins to crawl on all fours with Sam. Sam laughs and chases Steve around the room.

THIS EXAMPLE ILLUSTRATES an interaction with technology between a child and a care- giver. As previously mentioned, for children over the age of two, limited use of electronic media, such as touch electronic readers, tablets, or smart phones, can be enriching, as long as there is interaction with adults.[4] As in every aspect of development, meaningful interactions between children and caregivers are most beneficial for healthy development.[5]

Sam and Steve are engaged in the same manner as they would be if reading a regular book. Steve makes sure to allow Sam to lead the interaction, and follows his lead throughout. He supports Sam’s fine motor development and eye-hand coordination by letting him flip the pages, using his finger and wrist in a specific way, and genuinely praises Sam when he is successful. Steve is also aware of when to stop the interaction with the electronic reader and does, once Sam disengages. They then transition to a different interaction in which they are engaged in creative movement and pretend play, building upon the story they just read.

NOTE: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under two years of age not engage in any screen time and that those older than 2 watch or engage with no more than one to two hours a day of quality programming.

Endnotes

  1. Tallal, P. (2000). The Science of Literacy: from the Laboratory to the classroom. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(6), 2202–2222. Reprinted from: Erikson Institute WebCT.
  2. Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. (2012). Joint position statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. View
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media. (2011). “Policy Statement: Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years,” Pediatrics, 128(5), 1753; American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010). “Policy Statement—Media Education,” Pediatrics, 126(5), 1012–1017. View
  4. Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. (2012). Joint position statement issued by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College. View
  5. American Academy of Pediatrics, Council on Communications and Media. (2011). “Policy Statement: Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years,” Pediatrics, 128(5), 1753; American Academy of Pediatrics. (2010). “Policy Statement—Media Education,” Pediatrics, 126(5), 1012–1017. View
Discover how Early Literacy is related to: self-regulation Attention Regulationdomain 1: Social & Emotional Relationship with Adultsdomain 4: Cognitive Concept DevelopmentCreative Expression

Print Version

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Guidelines Webinar

This webinar provides a short overview of the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three. It also provides a tour of the resources available on the Illinois Early Learning Project website that can support the use of the guidelines in practice and at home.

Resources

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Disclaimer

The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.

The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.

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