CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 2 . . . . September 9, 2011
With these sentences, taken from the first paragraph of the "Introduction," author Katherine Luongo-Orlando sets the foundation on which she builds detailed descriptions, strategies and activities for the cornerstones to literacy.
Throughout the seven chapters of this book, margin notes, quotes and student samples, Katherine Luongo-Orlando's experience and scholarship are very evident. She has 18 years of experience as an elementary classroom teacher, workshop leader, curriculum developer, consultant and university researcher. Her graduate work involved exploring the importance of play, talk, language, games, print encounters, reading, writing, the arts and home practices in the development of early literacy. The depth of scholarship is found in her reference list that contains 150 sources as well as in the detailed index.
Chapter 1 starts with Play Experiences. Driven by the imagination, play is self-initiated, engaging, spontaneous and fun. Forty-three benefits of play are listed, six categories and descriptions of children's play are described, and the theoretical foundations of the play-literacy connection are reviewed, as is the role of the facilitator and the play environment. The chapter concludes with play-based literacy activities and a two-page list of materials for play centers.
Subsequent chapters contain the same rich detail:
Chapter 2 ~~ Oral Language Opportunities -- Children's Talk
Chapter 3 ~~ Language and Word Play
Chapter 4 ~~ Print Encounters
Chapter 5 ~~ Reading Events
Chapter 6 ~~ Writing Experiences
Chapter 7 ~~ Other Pathways to Literacy
Although the literacy strategies and language activities are geared to children in the formative, emergent years from pre-K through Grade 3, many of the activities, responses and checklists could be adapted for older children as well. After all, all students, including reluctant speakers, readers and writers who have positive, creative and active learning experiences through playing, storytelling, reproducing and publishing, will be inspired to grow as individuals. As educators, this is a consummation devoutly to be wished. "Life is a playground filled with learning potential." This step-by-step book will set teachers on the path to building a strong literacy foundation and inspire their own creative play. Bang the pot loudly!
Gina Varty is a teacher-librarian at Inglewood Elementary School in Edmonton, AB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.