Our Literacy Focus
Behnke Preschool focuses on language and literacy development throughout the preschool day. Based on the best research evidence by the International Reading Association, access to appropriate, high-quality early language and literacy experiences will enhance young children's development. The preschool curriculum, therefore, should emphasize a wide range of language and literacy experiences including, but not limited to, story reading, dramatic play, storytelling, and retelling. For more infomation from the International Reading Association, review their publication Literacy Development in the Preschool Years.
Some examples of how Behnke Preschool teachers incorporate language and literacy are outlined below:
- Mouth Time*: Students engage in fun and interactive activities that focus on auditory memory (repeating multi-syllabic words and non-words), phoneme awareness (rhyming, blending, elision, same initial sound, same final sound), phoneme production (labeling articulators and using them purposefully to make sounds), and sound-symbol correspondence.
Sound Spot*: We combine the Handwriting Without Tears Curriculum for developing fine motor skills with Behnke Preschool's unique focus on phonological awareness. During this time, the skills learned during Mouth Time are built upon to begin to learn grapheme (letters) – phoneme (speech sounds) correspondence. While learning about letters and the sounds they make, preschoolers also begin to make the letters first with play dough, then tracing (in rice, shaving cream, or on paper), and finally independently.
Book Time: In Behnke Preschool, students participate in a stuctured book time every day. Teachers read a theme-related story while students participate interactively by asking questions, answering questions, and acting out the story with props. Preschoolers also interact with books in an unstructered setting in our Book Corner.
Special Project: A teacher directed activity for the whole class that incorporates theme vocabulary while targeting early math, science, social, and fine motor skills.
Snack: Children are more likely to achieve success with their speech and language skills because of the high predicitability and motivation that snack time provides. For example, a child quickly learns when he or she wants more of a yummy snack, he or she can use their language to get it.
Circle Time: Circle time is used to introduce new vocabulary and concepts related to our current theme. Circle also allows for a high level of predictability that can increase children's speech and language success (e.g. Every day we ask "What color is today?" and children can become successful at answering that question because there are a limited number of responses).
Choice Time: Choice time allows for the most amount of flexibility. Teachers encourage children to engage with each other and support social interactions. In Behnke Preschool, we use the social scripts, "Can I have a turn?" and "In two minutes" consistently with all the children. Knowledge of the "social routine" allows for increased independence in social interactions. Teachers also use this time to "push-in" and work on speech and language goals in a naturalistic setting.