Early literacy skills are necessary for school readiness. However, Spanish-speaking English Language Learners’ (ELLs) literacy skills are in Spanish. So, how will those skills help them in the classroom? Typically, Spanish-speaking parents teach kids literacy skills through rhyme, oral language, and by focusing on other school readiness skills such as Alphabetic and print knowledge.
ELL children’s early experiences with literacy skills have a huge impact on their ability to understand and retain what they are reading as they get older. Fundamental components of early literacy skills include:
Alphabetic Code: The English language alphabet uses letters and sounds that represent the spoken language. Phonological awareness is a crucial early literacy skill for decoding and spelling words. Parents and caretakers should ensure that young ELLs could distinguish letters and their sounds, as well as understanding concepts such as rhymes, syllables, and phonemes.
Print Knowledge: In order for ELLs to understand the concept of print, they must have awareness of print and its usage. For instance, they should be instructed that books are read on the first page of the story or chapter, the text is read from left to right, and that sentences are read from the top of the page to the bottom. Parents and caretakers should read to young ELLs on a daily basis – this could be done by reading books and functional items such as packaging, signs, and labels.
Oral Language: ELLs develop literacy and oral skills simultaneously. These skills include vocabulary development, listening and reading comprehension, and verbal expression. Engage ELLs in activities that they can describe stories, situations, places, and events. The more that they cognitively and linguistically express themselves, the more prepared they will be to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
If you are looking for a program that can help nurture and develop early literacy skills,
The Latino Family Literacy Project offers a program that helps teach early literacy skills to prepare ELLs for school instruction in English. The program called “I am READY” or ¡LISTO! is a program specifically created for preschool-aged ELLs. The program uses age-appropriate books that preschoolers can relate to. The program encourages parents to learn how to read with their young children. Additionally, it teaches parents and children how to pose questions, as well as learning other school readiness skills. Together ELL parents and children learn Spanish and English vocabulary. In addition to this program, the Project also offers seminars, webinars, and additional resources for parents, caretakers, teachers, and school administrators that work with immigrant and ELL students.