Language Arts Development

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EAT 1 Literacy and Elementary Reading
REAT Task 1
Melissa Williams
June 7, 2012

Language Arts development encompasses many different aspects of learning. There are many theories that suggest the different ways that children learn, but in the end there are six key concepts that each child must master in order to be fully proficient. These are reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing. These concepts build upon each other and work together to ensure that the child will have a strong educational foundation.

Reading begins early in childhood and usually begins with a child learning to recognize things such as store names, signs, logos, and advertisement images. This form of reading is known as viewing. The child begins to associate the letters, logos, or images with the name of what they are seeing. This in turn leads to the child to being able to recognize the word or name out of the normal context in which they are accustomed. This is also used as children enter into school and the use of sight words begins. Students are shown flash cards with words and the students begin to recognize the letters that form the words on the cards and then begin to recognize them other places such as books or magazines. This helps to build the critical thinking skills that they will need in order to comprehend what they read later.

Once the student begins to make the association between letters and words, they begin to understand the sounds of the letters. This is when phonics begins to be a skill the student needs to master. Learning the sounds of each individual letter, and then how to blend those sounds to make words is a necessary step in language arts development. Parents and teachers need to embrace this time in the students learning by reading with the child as much as possible. Making sure that the books are challenging the student is also important. Challenging material encourages the student to use the critical thinking skills that they have learned to decode the words and gain comprehension. It is important that the material be hard enough to challenge the student but not so hard as to make the student feel defeated by its complexity.

In the classroom, students begin learning to ready by using decodable readers, books that contain early sight words or words that are easy to sound out using their phonics skills. As the student begins to gain knowledge about sounds and meanings, the books will move to longer, more complex sentences. At this point their comprehension is also expanding. After students master short readers, they move to more complex short chapter books, and then the natural progression to regular chapter books. At each step, the teacher makes sure to give the students a good foundation to build upon, exposing them to many different types of reading, such as poetry, biography, and fiction. The students learn to take the knowledge that they already have and use the knowledge as a background for new words or concepts that they run into while reading.

The next concept is that of writing. It goes hand in hand with reading due to the fact that if a student cannot recognize the letters needed to read a word, they will not be able to reproduce those letters to put them into print. As a student learns to read, their ability to write using more expressive and colorful vocabulary in communicating ideas grows. Reading and writing can be taught separately or simultaneously, depending on the level of the children being taught. As with speaking, writing is a form of communication that students should become proficient.

Teachers should offer as many opportunities as possible for students to practice their emerging writing skills. There are many different ways that this can be done in the classroom. If the teacher uses learning centers, then there should be one that incorporates writing practice. In the early years, this can be something...
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