Parallel Learning of Reading and Writing in Early Childhood
By Mary Shea
Routledge – 2011 – 224 pages
Parallel Learning of Reading and Writing in Early Childhood explores why it’s important to provide a balanced language learning environment for young children and offers approaches for children to practice and explore language. Writing – a different but parallel process – can open the door to reading, and an effective writing approach in the home and early childhood classrooms leads to the development of phonemic awareness, understanding of phonetic principles, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Effective early childhood teachers are those that extend the knowledge children have amassed at home and use the knowledge of how children learn naturally in the world to inform their practice.
This book offers the purpose, context, and outcomes of including writing right from the start in young children’s literacy learning. Through analysis of writing samples, research, and principles of best practices, Shea outlines the essential ingredients for early language learning and provides a developmentally appropriate approach to language learning. Throughout the chapters, Shea integrates discussion of assessment, classroom environment, instructional/teacher scaffolding, and differentiating instruction across developmental levels along with the supporting theory.
This text offers pre- and in-service early childhood education teachers the content and resources to develop a deeper understanding of language learning, to prompt an examination of current practice, and to stimulate curricular re-designs that foster meaningful, joyful, and motivated learning.
"In this book, Mary Shea subtly weaves the language arts into a whole and beautiful tapestry, sensitively guiding both new and experienced educators toward a meaningful practice, rooted in research. Substantiating this developmental framework are hundreds of artifacts, capturing the work and play of children as they enter the world of drawing and writing. This book honors all those wonderful teachable moments that scaffold students and transform them into lovers of language, making both teaching and learning an exciting adventure."
--Ardith Davis Cole, Ph. D., Literacy Consultant, and Author
"Parallel Learning of Reading and Writing in Early Childhood engages early childhood education teachers to struggle against perceiving the process of becoming literate as an edifice that is best taught in isolation from all other aspects of what it means to be literate."
--Sharon Matthews, Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education, Shippensburg University
Part I A Strong Foundation for Learning Language
2. Function Before Form — Building Concepts About Print
3. Talk: An Essential Tool for Writing
4. The Writing We Need — At Home, At School
Part II Mindfully Mediating Language Learning
5. Getting Writing Started
6. Writing in Pre-K
7. Writing in Kindegarten
8. Writing in First Grade
9. Differentiating for Fluent Young Writers
Mary Shea is a Professor and Director of Graduate Literacy Programs at Canisius College.