Happy Birthday Literacy Land!

It is hard to believe that it has only been 2 years since we started this blog.  I feel like I have known these wonderful ladies forever!

If you are new to our blog, let me introduce myself.  I am Jessica Hamilton from Hanging Out in First!  I actually teach Kindergarten this year but I taught the previous 6 years in first grade, as well as 2 years of second and 1 of fifth.  I live in small town Virginia with my husband and 3 boys.


Since I have taught so many years in primary grades, I have learned a lot about it.  I have learned how to take a child that has never seen a book or a letter before and not only get them to read but to love reading!

There are many aspects of emergent literacy that a teacher has to be aware of in order to effectively teach it.  They can be summarized into categories:

Phonemic Awareness
-Understanding sounds and how words are made of seperate sounds.
-Knowing how to separate sounds and then learning to manipulate those sounds.
-Understanding rhyming - matching rhyming words, knowing if 2 words rhyme, and being able to produce rhymes.
-Isolating sounds - matching the beg/medial/end sounds of words, separating onset and rime, and being able to manipulate the onset and rime.

-Alphabet - recognizing letters by name and by sound
-Blending (we call it stretching) sounds into words

Concept of Print
-Knowing the parts of a book - front, back, first page, first word, pictures, words
-Reading left to right, top to bottom
-Concept of Word - one to one correspondence while reading
-Knowing the difference between a sound, a letter, a word, and a sentence
-Understanding that the words on the page need to match the picture on the page.

-Handwriting - learning to physically write the letters of the alphabet
-Segmenting each sound and encoding it
-Understanding how to write a sentence - more than one word, spaces in between words, must make sense, periods/capital letters
-Illustrating the sentence that you write correctly
-Not being afraid of spelling errors

-Retelling a story in the correct order
-Knowing what a character is
-Understanding that you have to think while you read
-Understanding feelings of characters
-Understanding that we can read for fun or read to learn
-Learning to love reading!

-Becoming fluent with letter naming, letter sounds, phoneme segmenting, blending, sight words, simple sentences

-Remembering that these guys are only 5 and they are new to so many of the words that are found in stories!  Exposing them to language and not being afraid to tell them to "illustrate" their picture rather than to "draw" it!

The interesting thing about emergent literacy is trying to teach all of these skills while still letting them play and be children.  It can be easy to forget when we have so many skills to teach and so much growth that must be made, but I promise you that it CAN be done!

Rule number one of teaching emergent literacy:

They are just little and we want to SPARK their love for reading..... If you do it now, it will last forever!


  1. It is so hard at times to keep in mind that they are so young. With such high demands from the state, district, community.... it can hard to lose track of the main goal. Great post!

  2. Thanks for the reminder, Jessica! We have to dive in early and get them ready for reading and love it at the same time.


  3. Great post!! Seeing the list of things we have to do in one day can be so daunting. And then we look at their little faces and remember how young they really are. Play! You are so right. It can be done. We just have to be creative.