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Creating literacy-rich experiences for the young learners in your Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class will help ensure that they are able to read at proficiency in third grade, a crucial benchmark for future literacy skills. The National Early Literacy Panel (2008) released findings of a meta-analysis of approximately 500 research studies that identified the correlation between children’s early literacy skills and later literacy development. The following key indicators of later literacy success can provide a focus for teaching English Language Arts as you develop engaging activities for your young students.
English Language Arts instructional time in TK should focus on the competencies of listening and speaking and reading and writing.
According to The Early Language & Literacy Classroom Observation tool, oral language development is most effectively supported when children are actively engaged in conversations that facilitate mutual exchanges of ideas, opinions, and feelings. As a TK teacher, extend conversations in meaningful ways to build specific oral language skills, and additionally introduce and infuse new and challenging vocabulary throughout the day.
Book reading is an integral part of the daily experience and can occur in a variety of settings and groupings. Engage students in stories to support comprehension, while introducing them to the features of text, authorship, print rules, pictures and ideas, in addition to building vocabulary. Additionally, using rhymes and alliteration throughout the day is a fun way to build children’s awareness of sounds.
Motivate children to use their emerging writing skills by having many materials available throughout the classroom that encourage print and writing, both spontaneously in play and during routines. Model writing and support dictation by writing stories with ideas generated by your students, and support understanding of print conventions by making charts demonstrating upper and lower case letters, spelling and spacing, and other conventions. Help children recognize and learn to write letters of their name and common words, and engage them in the development of environmental print for labels and to express ideas.
TK allows you the gift of time to move your students along the standards continuum, preparing them for a successful Kindergarten year ahead. In 2012, the research organization WestEd and the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Child Development Division developed a publication that aligns the Preschool Learning Foundations with the Kindergarten Common Core State Standards to help guide developmentally appropriate TK instruction. The alignment of the Preschool Learning Foundations and the Common Core State Standards illustrates the developmental progression of TK-aged students. In order to prepare for younger children to enter TK, the Governor’s 2021 state budget directed the CDE to update the Preschool Learning Standards.
The Preschool Learning Foundations and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts are organized according to the same basic categories: listening and speaking; reading and writing. The Common Core State Standards also include a category identified as language standards. It includes standards for grammar and vocabulary, covered under listening and speaking in the Preschool Learning Foundations. Many of the competencies described at the preschool level become more differentiated and lead to more specific competencies at the Kindergarten level. The reading and writing Common Core State Standards focus on skills that emerge in Kindergarten, and therefore have no corresponding content in the Preschool Learning Foundations.
The teaching strategies below give concrete approaches for English language development in your classroom. They are designed to guide developmentally appropriate TK instruction, moving your students along a continuum of learning by bridging the Preschool Learning Foundations with the Kindergarten Common Core.
Strategy 1: Understanding of Language (Receptive)
Strategy 2: Follows Increasingly Complex Instructions
Strategy 3: Communication of Needs, Feelings, and Interests (Expressive)
Strategy 4: Reciprocal Communication and Conversation
Strategy 5: Comprehension and Analysis of Age-Appropriate Text, Presented by Adults
Strategy 6: Letter and Word Knowledge
Strategy 7: Phonological Awareness
Strategy 8: Emergent Writing
Strategy 9: Print Concepts
Strategy 10: Integrated Approaches for English Language Development and Family Engagement
Click the button below to download the teaching strategies (PDF).