Literacy development is a social experience! The image of the child reading alone in a corner on a rainy day does not begin in isolation, it grows from an environment rich with conversations about things that matter to the child! Vocabulary developed from conversations lead to a stronger recognition of words when seen in print.
The common core standards hope to call our attention as individuals to help children develop the skills in reading, writing, speaking, and listening that are the foundation for any creative and purposeful expression in language. “Talking about it” is literacy preparation. It does not matter what you talk about, the application of thought….to language….to expression…is the beginning of a literate future. The conversations are child appropriate and encouraged by an adult or older peer to increase interest and understanding of a specific task.
The carving and painting of the pumpkin was a social cognitive experience. Designing the face created a discussion about choices that could be made before the actual cuts were made. Goal setting, a self regulatory strategy, was encouraged through conversations between an adult and a seven year old young lady with ideas of her own. The conversation both supported and shaped ideas, included new language, and developed self efficacy. Following the conversation the actual cuttings were made, with the opportunity to self monitor the decisions, and make adjustments when necessary so the designer would be pleased with the results. “Can we change the mouth to have more zig zag?” led to adjustments to the original goal of what the pumpkin’s expression would become.
Conversations leading to literacy development include adult words to increase vocabulary. Academic language can be incorporated into the conversation moving the discussion towards a scientific analysis of a common experience in a common core way!