A Guide to Developmental Literacy

This describes a type of literary learning which considers the child’s developmental level and uses this knowledge to create specific literary learning objectives tailored to the child.

For developmental literacy, some specific and noticeable actions or behaviors in children are described at first, which are called indicators. These actions or behaviors are grouped in phases of development. Within a particular phase, these indicators are often similar in their difficulty level and complement each other by working together. When a majority of the indicators in a phase can be noticed in a child’s work consistently, in different situations, over a period of time, one can say the child has acquired that phase. Then, teaching can start addressing indicators in the subsequent phase. Indicators can also reveal a specific level of increasing difficulty with respect to each other within a phase, but in which order they’ll be attained by each child may differ significantly.

To understand this better, here’s an instance where indicators for exploring literacy in reading are set in the following order:

·         To name all letters of the alphabet

·         To find which sounds match which specific letters

·         To distinguish words that rhyme

·         To read a few sight words

Though all children won’t necessarily attain these indicators in this order, it’s clear how all the indicators mentioned above relate fairly to the same level of reading development.

After the child’s development phase in reading, writing, or speaking has been determined, depending on what they can do, the developmental literacy framework will show what needs to be developed within that phase to help the child move to the next level in their learning.

It’s crucial to plan development learning activities carefully. If they’re below the child’s phase of development, they will find the tasks extremely easy. As a result, they will tend to lose interest before long as there’s no real challenge since the tasks are already known. In contrast, learning tasks far beyond the child’s phase of development will soon make them feel there’s no possibility of success. This will make the child disengage from the activity, either abruptly or slowly. Either of these two reasons could make children unmotivated or disengaged in their learning tasks. This happens because the tasks fail to target the children’s zone of proximal development, where they are challenged to accomplish new things and can achieve them successfully while being aware of their progress.

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