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Early Literacy for Children, by C.L.

I have read many articles on preparing for TEOTWAWKI [1] that deal with valuable information on caring for our needs and those of our family. These have been full of important information and should be noted. However, I feel there is another skill that each of us needs– teaching our young children to read. I am a teacher, and I love being part of a child’s early literacy experiences. I want to share some things that have worked for my own children and my students.

Background:

I am a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and prepper. I have a B.S. in Special Education, an M.S. in Education-Curriculum and Instruction, and an M.A. in Education-Reading. I just finished my degree in reading last year. I teach in a small, rural school in the Midwest. My school is so small that I literally know every student and staff member. We are a family and care for each other. I am currently teaching K-3 special education and junior high resource study hall. My school is so small that the staff members each wear many hats, in order to make it function. In the past, I have taught junior high and senior high special education as well as general education kindergarten. Most of my teaching career has been in the primary grades though.

I do not pretend to know everything about education, but I have learned a few things that I feel need to be shared with others. We all know that beginning literacy is important. These basic skills are the foundation on which later reading and learning are built. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” I want my grandchildren to have a long list of wonderful literature they can say they have read. This list includes more than the classics; it should also include books that interest them.

Those who are planning for the uncertain times ahead should also be planning for the restructuring of our world. In the future there will be leaders, and I want them to be our children. I want them to be prepared for the task. However, they will not be our country’s future leaders unless they know how to read.

When TEOTWAWKI occurs, you may be responsible for teaching your children or other children in your group. Learning to read is critical to all teaching and learning. Without the knowledge to decode text and put meaning to that text, we are at a loss to learn other areas of curriculum. Every subject area involves reading.

Even after successfully helping many students to read, I am still amazed at how this is possible. Think about it. This very moment, you are looking at a bunch of lines, curves, and dots. At one time they were meaningless to you, but now you are able to make sense of them. You know that these lines, curves, and dots are letters of the alphabet. These letters are put in a specific order to make words. These words are put in a specific order to make sentences. These sentences are put in a specific order to make paragraphs, and these paragraphs have made an article about teaching children to read. I have used punctuation to tell you when to pause or stop as you read. I have used other text features to further help organize this article, enabling you to understand it more easily. A lot is going on as you read.

Basic Information:

Reading involves the following areas:

(The definitions for each of the above-mentioned areas of literacy came from the Reading Rockets website. Each specific web page is referenced in parentheses after the definition, and full credit is given to the authors for this information.)

Infants and Toddlers:

What are the first things you need to do to teach your child to read? Most parents and caregivers already do these things, and they’re completely unaware they are teaching literacy. It just seems a natural part of parenting and care giving. However, this natural means of parenting is no longer being practiced by some. When TEOTWAWKI occurs, we will be focused on survival and may neglect to give attention to early literacy. We must not fail in this area. You need to remember to:

Your infant or toddler may not understand what you are saying, but we learn through personal interactions with others. Point to the illustrations, and name the objects in the pictures. Also, use adjectives when describing the objects illustrated.

Preschoolers:

As your child grows, you will change the way you interact with her. She will increase communication and interactions with others. There will be an increased curiosity about the world in which she lives.

Primary School-Aged Children:

Each child develops at his own pace. Do not expect him to follow an exact timeframe to attain reading. Some children are reading by age three or four, and others learn to read at age six or seven. This is due to many factors, including life circumstances. When TEOTWAWKI occurs, your child may be under a great deal of stress. This could affect learning and other developmental areas. Do not let this trouble you. Just keep teaching, and watch for continued increases in skills. As long as this is occurring, let him develop at his own rate.

Resources:

Small-Group Reading Instruction: A Differentiated Teaching Model for Beginning and Struggling Readers [7] by Beverly Tyrone is a helpful resource and can purchased on Amazon. The book explains how to teach beginning literacy, and a compact disc is included with all of the picture cards, flash cards, and writing resources you will need to begin reading instruction. These can be printed and used to teach your child.

Other helpful resources are the phonemic awareness [8] curricula by Michael Heggerty. If they are not currently available on Amazon, they may also be purchased at http://www.literacyresourcesinc.com/store/curriculum/ [9]. These are quick lessons, which can be completed in no more than fifteen minutes. The Internet site for Reading Rockets also has many, helpful, no-cost resources.

I am not affiliated with any of these resources or their publishers in any way, and I do not receive any reimbursement from any parties involved. I have simply found all to be proven, successful ways to teach beginning literacy. They have saved me many hours in lesson preparation, and I believe they will do the same for you.

Instructional Materials:

I would advise having the following instructional materials in a large, plastic tote.

Closing:

I have written an article containing about two thousand, four hundred words telling you how to teach the beginnings of literacy. This has been an extremely abbreviated summary. However, it is my hope that it will give you the confidence and some of the information you will need for the task.

I believe that anyone can teach. Receiving a degree in education does not make one a teacher. Be patient, and share your knowledge with the next generation. Do this now. Do not wait for TEOTWAWKI. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.” Through educating your children, they will change the world.