CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 7 . . . . November 24, 2006
In this thought-provoking book, originally published in the United Kingdom in 2004, literacy expert Sue Palmer and early years consultant Ros Bayley outline their seven-strand approach to nurturing literacy development in young children.
The authors posit that later success in literacy depends on early attention to listening and speaking skills. They note that Scandinavian countries have a completely oral curriculum until children are seven years old and the students display greater attention spans and a have a higher boredom threshold.
Each chapter focuses on a strand of practice: "Learning to Listen," "Time to Talk," "Music, Movement and Memory," "Storytime," "Learning about print," "Tuning into sound," and "Moving into writing". Research-based background information is presented, along with over 150 interactive games, discussion-starters, and rhymes. The activities develop crucial skills in a fun, relaxed manner. For example, to widen the range of aural discrimination, take children on a "listening walk," or play "spot the sound". Ideas such as offering visual support (with pictures, photographs, small objects) and modelling pole-bridging talk (or giving running commentary on activities) can easily be incorporated into an early years classroom or library storytime.
The book is well organized, with each chapter building on the previous skill set. Bordered end notes discuss supports for children with special needs. Nine appendices include a language development overview, literacy activity checklists and a PREPARE (Plan, Recount, Explore, Predict, Analyse, Report, Explain) chart that lists questions to initiate discussion with children.
Palmer and Bayley's seven strands are designed to "switch on the searchlights" and develop the skills children need before they are able to read and write. This book is a valuable resource for anyone working with young children and their families.
Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.