Instead, they trace its origins back at least to the late Qing period — The late Qing was a period of intellectual ferment sparked by a sense of national crisis.
Reading is a complex psycholinguistic activity and thus beginning reading is a lengthy and complex process whereby the learner acquires expertise in the various perceptual, sensory, linguistic, cognitive, metacognitive, and social skills that are involved in literate behavior.
Through this process the child gains functional knowledge of the purposes, uses, and principles of the writing system. Experiences before Formal Reading Instruction Although a large portion of literacy acquisition occurs within the context of formal reading instruction, literacy-related awareness and knowledge start developing long before formal schooling, through pre-reading activities and interactions with print in the home and environment.
The accomplishments before formal schooling prepare the child for later school-related literacy development. There are important differences among children's early literacy experiences.
Some children are exposed to a wide array of early literacy experiences. They are frequently and regularly read to, they are exposed to oral and written language activities such as playing on the computer or playing word games, they experience the functional use of print materials in their home and preschool environments, and they have model adults who value reading and use reading in various purposeful ways.
In Marilyn J.
Adams estimated that children from these mainstream homes are exposed to thousands of hours of pre-reading activities before they enter first grade. In contrast, there are children who are never or rarely read to, live in homes with few books, are rarely exposed to rich oral and written language activities, and interact with few adult models who use reading and writing for their own purposes.
These two groups of children differ widely in their awareness and knowledge of literacy-related concepts. Through repeated interactions with literacy materials and activities children develop an awareness of the nature and function of text.
Social routines practiced during one-on-one book reading between parents and children facilitate children's acquisition of concepts about print.
Very early on children learn about the way books are handled, the differences between pictures and print, the directionality of print, and the characteristics of written-language-like routines. Shared book reading allows children to develop a sense of story structure where characters, the setting, and the plot make up the story.
By observing adults' functional use of literacy, children also learn the different purposes of different literacy activities such as writing a grocery list versus writing a letter. So, by the time they are four years old, children also learn quite a lot about the nature of print, including the names and sounds of some letters, and will pretend to "write" by scribbling as part of play activities.
The acquisition of the concepts about print is important, and several studies have shown that such awareness predicts future reading achievement and is correlated with other measures of reading achievement.
Thus, the development of concepts about print early in life seems to create the foundation upon which more sophisticated skills are built. Spoken language develops naturally and effortlessly within the context of social interactions in a community.
With the exception of those who have some physical challenges all children can produce and comprehend spoken language naturally early in life. They exhibit developments in phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and vocabulary.
Engagement in literacy activities provides children with added opportunities to experience and experiment with language. Book reading, for instance, offers multiple opportunities for the child to use language at a more abstract and complex level than would be possible through spoken language experiences.
Children learn to have a decreased reliance on immediate context for communication. This decontextualized language is the language that they will need to rely on in most school activities later on. Early literacy experiences also set the ground for growth in meta-linguistic skills.
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