Invitational literacy

I wonder if you’ve been caught up in the pressure for assessing literacy development? Did that result in ticking off checklists and requiring more group instruction?

It’s certainly reasonable to pay attention to whether children are making progress in the building blocks for becoming literate members of the community. That probably means that you’ve noted that they are hearing, seeing, and speaking clearly so that they can deal with receptive and expressive language (hearing what people say and processing it, while being able to express what they want to say!). But sometimes the step that is skipped is- considering why it matters!

Let’s think about what might make it matter. It might help to think what made a literate environment matter to you. Perhaps you were lucky enough to hear a grandmother singing while she cooked, or listened to Dad or an Uncle or big brother tell stories about people or places important to them, or a Kindy teacher shared a poem at a special time every day, or a parent read to you (or to a group of you!) at bedtime. Maybe you sat and drew at a table while lists were being made of what to buy at the shops or recipes were being read or you got to sign your name at the bottom of a card or email to someone far away. Somewhere along the way, you decided it was important to be able to read and write. For a few children, that transition seems to just happen; they breathe in an understanding of books and print as easily as they breathe the air around them, but for others, it’s an effort, and to make the struggle worthwhile, it needs to matter. This is where it’s important to invite children into a world where literacy matters. Purposeful print will make more sense to some children than ‘sweet stories’, while others will curl up on cushions in a reading corner or under a tree and listen to whoever is willing to read to them, to create memorable characters, find funny pets, interesting places, amazing adventures.

How are children invited into literacy at your place?

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