Virtual Kit: Vocabulary and Early Literacy
Early childhood is a critical period for young children's language and literacy development. The primary prevention of reading difficulties is to ensure that young children develop strong language skills and engage in meaningful experiences filled with print, literacy play, storybook reading, and writing (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
The National Early Literacy Panel NELP (2008) conducted a synthesis of scientific research in the early literacy skills of children birth through five. They identified knowledge, skills and abilities that young children need to learn to improve later literacy development. Based on the NELP Report, four areas have emerged as important for young children's early literacy experiences: oral language (which includes vocabulary knowledge), phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, and print knowledge (National Institute for Literacy, 2009).
Young children's vocabulary knowledge plays an important role in both reading/listening comprehension and decoding. Beginning readers use their word knowledge to decode by matching the phonological representation to a known word (Roskos, Tabors, & Lenhart, 2009). For comprehension tasks, vocabulary can be thought of as "little pieces of knowledge" that provide background information necessary to comprehend both oral and written language (Neuman, 2011). A child's vocabulary size at age 3 is one of the strongest predictors of their 3rd grade reading achievement (Roskos, Tabors, & Lenhart, 2009).
Families and professionals have an opportunity and responsibility to incorporate language and literacy enhancing experiences into children's daily lives. To do this, they must understand the most current research in early literacy and the evidence-based practices associated with supporting young children's language and literacy development. This Virtual Kit was designed to provide an overview of vocabulary and early literacy, birth to five.
Show me now! (I need this information tomorrow)
These websites will help you find an evidence-based practice or the evidence base for your practices.
- Bridging the Vocabulary Gap: What the Research Tells Us about Vocabulary Instruction in Early Childhood
- Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children Summary
- Shoot for the SsTaRS: A Strategy for Teaching Vocabulary to Promote Emergent Literacy
- Developing Vocabulary in Young Children
- Vocabulary Development with English Language Learners
What does this look like in practice? (I have a little more time to read about this)
- The Foundational Role of Vocabulary and Comprehension in Early Literacy
- Sagacious, Sophisticated and Sedulous: The Importance of Discussing 50-cent Words with Preschoolers
- Supporting Preschoolers' Vocabulary Learning: Using a Decision-Making Model to Select Appropriate Words and Methods
- The Educational Effects of a Vocabulary Intervention on Preschoolers' Word Knowledge and Conceptual Development: A Cluster-Randomized Trial
- Causal Supports for Early Word Learning
- Teaching Vocabulary in Storybooks: Embedding Explicit Vocabulary Instruction for Young Children
- Repeated Interactive Read-Alouds in Preschool and Kindergarten
- Kansas Guide to Learning Literacy: Birth to Five Years
What does ECRC have on this topic?
Below are selected resources from the KITS Early Childhood Resource Center. For additional resources related to the literacy go to the KITS Early Child Resource Center and click on ECRC catalogue, or call (620) 421-6550 ext. 1638 for personal assistance.
Apel, K., & Masterson, J. (2001). Beyond baby talk: from speaking to spelling: A guide to language and literacy development for parents and caregivers. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Beauchat, K. A., Blamey, K. L., & Philippakos, Z. A. (2012). Effective Read-Alouds for Early Literacy. New York: Guilford Press.
Dickinson, D. K., & Neuman, S. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Vol. 2). New York: Guilford Press.
Enzell, H. K., & Justice, L. M. (2005). Shared storybook reading: building young children's language and emergent literacy skills. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Farstrup, A. E., & Samuels, S. J. (Eds.) (2008). What research has to say about vocabulary instruction. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Hamilton, C. E., & Schwanenflugel, P. J. (2011). Paved for success: building vocabulary and language development in young learners. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
Pinkham, A. M. , Kaefer, T., & Neuman, S. B. (2012). Knowledge development in early childhood: sources of learning and classroom implications. New York: Guilford Press.
How can I find training on this topic?
- Kansas Early Childhood LETRS Training
- Language and Vocabulary: Florida's VPK Teacher Toolkit
- Intentional Literacy: Targeted Oral Language Intervention Webinar
- Dialogic Reading Practices: Connect Module 6
- Dialogic Reading Video Series
- Common Core and Early Literacy: Webinar: The Foundational Roles of Vocabulary and Comprehension in Early Literacy
- Visit the KITS online Collaborative Calendar to find out if there might be an upcoming training related to this topic.
What if I still need help?
Contact KITS by e-mail to request assistance or by calling 1-800-362-0390 ext. 1638.
If you thought this kit was helpful, you might also like ….
- Learning to Read: Early Literacy Birth to Five (2012)
- Oral Language Virtual Kit (2012)
- Kansas Kids Ready for Learning: Language and Literacy
National Early Literacy Panel. (2008). Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. Washington DC: National Institute for Literacy.
National Institute for Literacy. (2009). Early Beginnings: Early Literacy Knowledge and Insturction. Jessup, MD: U.S. Department of Education.
Neuman, S. (2011). The Effects of Vocabulary Interventions for Children At-Risk: Evidence from a meta-Analytic Review. Paper presented at the Third Annual RTI Summit, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.
Roskos, K. A., Tabors, P. O., & Lenhart, L. A. (2009). Oral Language and Early Literacy in Preschool. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
Snow, C., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.