Early Childhood Education:
Language and Literacy
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Overview
Language Learning
 Literacy Learning

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Introduction

Literacy and Language: Communicate
with others
– Language: Oral or hand communication
– Literacy: Make meaning from written
language
 Read and write in language of the culture
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Interactionist Theory of Language
Development

Language development is the result of the
interaction between a biological
predisposition to learn language and social
interactions
– Nativists: Built-in constraints to learn
language
– Behaviorists: Rewarded for good language
use
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Language Development in Nursery
School

Rapid vocabulary expansion
– Progress from about 450 words at age 3 to
10,000 words at age 6
Speak in sentences of about 4 to 5 words
 Tell stories
 Use past tense
 Asks many, many questions

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Language-Rich Experiences

Developmentally appropriate language and
literacy practices (International Reading Association,
1998)
– Infants and Toddlers
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Talk to young children every day
Respond to language attempts
Sing to the infants
Read a book everyday
– Preschool: Opportunities to expand their vocabulary
 Nurturing relationships that have mutual conversation
 Play with peers
 Read a book everyday
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Language-Rich Activities

Reading books
– Read at least one book EVERY day
Lullabies
 Storytelling

– Storytelling idea: Begin a story and ask
children to determine what comes next
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Language-Rich Conversations
Show interest in what child has to say
 Use open-ended questions for elaboration
 Build language into routines (eating,
sleeping, etc.)
 Model good language use
 Use words children may not know yet but
are relevant

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Literacy
Positive literacy experiences in early childhood
shape adult literacy
 Infants: Read books one-on-one
 Nursery

– Read books individually and in groups
– Model effective reading and writing behaviors
– Make a print-rich environment so children have many
opportunities to read various types of writing

Primary
– Daily independent reading
– Meaningful writing experiences
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Print-Rich Environment

Variety of books read individually and in
small groups
– Reading books is the most important way to
develop early literacy
Variety of reading materials (e.g., product
labels, signs)
 Display children’s writing
 Relate language experiences to other
classroom experiences

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
African Children’s Literature

Pre-Colonial Literature: Predominately oral
– Many oral stories have now been converted to
storybooks
Colonial Literature: Western literature alien to
African children’s experiences
 Post-Colonial Literature: Literature written

for African children by African authors either in
the vernacular or a foreign language (Meniru,
1992)

– Does the definition suffice?
http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/cm/africana/children.htm
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Literature Checklist
Adapted from: http://eport2.cgc.maricopa.edu/published/t/li/tliszak45/collection/8/5/upload.htm
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Story Structure: Storyline flows and keeps readers’
attention. Reader can identify with the main character.
Story is original and engages interest.
Creativity: Book engages the mind and imagination of
the reader. Illustrations are creative and colorful.
Word Quality: Words are chosen well. Words sound
poetic. Vocabulary is easy to read and descriptive.
Integrity: Plot, characters, language, style, theme, and
illustrations come together to touch the mind of the
reader so the book will be remembered.
Educational Value: Content of the book adds to the
child’s knowledge, including new vocabulary.
Relevance: Relevance of the story to the child’s
experiences
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Literature Checklist
Adapted from: http://eport2.cgc.maricopa.edu/published/t/li/tliszak45/collection/8/5/upload.htm
Item Scoring: 5: Excellent; 4: Very
Good; 3: Good; 2: Average; 1: Below
Average; 0: Poor
 Total Scoring
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–
–
–
–
–
–
27-30: Excellent
23-26: Very good
19-22: Good
15-18: Average
11-14: Below Average
Less than 10: Poor
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Literature Evaluation
Story Structure
5 4 3 2 1 0
Creativity
5 4 3 2 1 0
Word Quality
5 4 3 2 1 0
Integrity
5 4 3 2 1 0
Educational Value 5 4 3 2 1 0
Relevance
Total Points
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
5 4 3 2 1 0
Writing Skills

Drawing can be a bridge for writing
experiences
– Toddlers: Tell stories through scribbles
– Nursery: Tell stories through drawing
pictures and labeling the picture
– Primary: Transition to writing more through
stories
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
English as a Second Language
If second language is learned by age 3, then
fluency tends to match that of first language
 Rate of language acquisition is slower when
learning multiple languages, but learning two
languages has cognitive advantages
 Rich literacy experiences in either language
facilitate English literacy in school

– Proficiency in Language has a strong positive
correlation with learning English
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
English as a Second Language

Stages in Acquisition
– Continue using Language
– Silent period
– Telegraphic speech
– Productive use of new language

Children may regress to a lower stage at
any point
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
English as Second Language

Developmentally appropriate language
environment for ESL students (Lake &
Pappamihiel, 2003)
– Conversation: Engage students in conversation
– Understanding: Understand and accept that
children must work harder in other language
– Experience: Meaningful experiences in language
 Pair with a more fluent partner
 Speak slowly and use gestures
– www.cal.org/ericcll/digest/0301coltrane.html
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Family Involvement

The richness of home language
experiences have a significant influence on
children’s academic performance in all
subjects throughout the rest of a child’s
academic career
– Spoken language
– Reading books
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Family Involvement

Reading books:
– Fosters literacy
– Increases vocabulary and grammar skills
– Teaches about the world
– Encourages creativity and imagination

Fostering family involvement
– Explain the importance of reading
– Suggest books and where to get them
Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
Revision
What activities can be done to promote a
language-rich environment?
 Why is reading to a child every day
important?
 How can you foster literacy in students?

Dr. K. A. Korb
University of Jos
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