Literacy Based Curriculum

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Published on October 20, 2008

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Adapting a Transdisciplinary, Literacy-Based Curriculum for Preschoolers with Language Delays : Adapting a Transdisciplinary, Literacy-Based Curriculum for Preschoolers with Language Delays Julie Garrity Krista Gorman Kimberly Hales Christine Sullivan Learner Outcomes : Learner Outcomes How to use literature to target goals in a classroom How to collaborate with transdisciplinary team members to develop goals for a literacy based curriculum Define the role of SLP in selecting appropriate literature and topics within a curriculum Manhattan Center for Early Learning, New York, NY : Manhattan Center for Early Learning, New York, NY A special education preschool on Manhattan’s Upper East Side Student Population 60% English as a Second Language Majority from low-income families Urban, apartment dwelling families 95% have speech/language delays/disorders 100% have cognitive impairments Curriculum at MCEL Prior to 2004 : Curriculum at MCEL Prior to 2004 No cohesive school-wide curriculum Classroom curriculum developed by individual teachers, usually focused on holidays, seasons Difficult to target discipline-specific goals while reinforcing classroom themes Curriculum did not specifically target literacy skills in language delayed/ disordered and ESL population Literacy-Based Curriculum : Literacy-Based Curriculum Focuses on using children’s books as the center of all instruction Targets all areas of classroom instruction within one cohesive theme (Linder, 1999) cognition language and communication fine and gross motor social/emotional development Enables children to act out story in play Allows children to learn in a natural way Review of the Literature : Review of the Literature ESL students and those with language delays at higher risk for difficulty with emergent literacy fundamentals (Justice & Pullen, 2003) Storytelling is the single greatest predictor of literacy [Engel (1997), as cited in Novick, 1998] Pretend play & storytelling require similar competencies (e.g., language skills) [McLane & McNamee (1991), as cited in Novick, 1998] Review of the Literature : Review of the Literature Repeated readings of stories: enables children to reenact the story (Sulzby, 1985) increases children’s comments and questions about stories (Yaden, 1985) improves children’s ability to interpret and evaluate stories (as cited in Gambell, Morrow, & Pennington, 2000) Review of the Literature : Review of the Literature Reading books aloud to ESL students and providing them opportunities to reenact the story allows them to: Listen and speak in target language in a meaningful setting Interact socially and communicate in a low risk environment (Gambell, Morrow, & Pennington, 2000) Read, Play, & Learn (RP&L) : Read, Play, & Learn (RP&L) Transdisciplinary and play-based program designed by Toni Linder Professor and Graduate Coordinator in the College of Education at the University of Denver. Designed for use primarily with children ages 3-6 years Provided suggestions for adjusting activities for children developmental age ranges 1-6 Read, Play, & Learn : Read, Play, & Learn Sensorimotor (0-18 months) Learning through physical environment Functional (18-36 months) Learning through listening, watching, imitating Beginning to sequence actions and ideas Symbolic (36-60 months) Represent their learning through symbolic means (e.g., fantasy play, storytelling, drawing, music) (Linder, 1999) Read, Play, & Learn : Read, Play, & Learn Each module revolves around a specific story that is read regularly Curriculum module used for the classroom for approximately 1 month Team meets to choose themes and concepts to target from curriculum book Concepts are reinforced across several domains Read, Play, & Learn : Read, Play, & Learn Curriculum activities broken down into 12 possible learning centers, such as: Sensory Area Dramatic Play Art Area Snack Area Complexity of centers increases throughout month Challenges of Applying RP&L to Language Delayed Population: : Challenges of Applying RP&L to Language Delayed Population: Varying language levels in the classroom High language levels of books Difficulty attending to group stories and activities Children’s difficulty focusing and attending to abstract/language based activities Complex and abstract concepts, themes, and activities Adaptation of Curriculum : Adaptation of Curriculum Year 1: Adapting the Curriculum : Year 1: Adapting the Curriculum Curriculum books adapted to make them simpler Language levels brought down to the 2-3 year language level (average linguistic level of the children) Simple narrative with dialogue maintained so that story could be learned and re-enacted in classroom centers Books translated into Spanish at similar linguistic levels Learning center activities simplified Year 1: Adapting the Text“Friends” – The Curriculum Book : Year 1: Adapting the Text“Friends” – The Curriculum Book Content focused on 3 animal friends who spend the day together Average sentence length = 10.7 words Story difficult to reenact due to minimal dialogue and disjointed activities Complex vocabulary and concepts: “They sailed out on the open water, and as the day went on, they felt very brave and bold. They conquered the village pond!” (Helme, 1982, p. 10) Year 1: Adapting the Text : Year 1: Adapting the Text Original text: “Then fat Percy invited them to spend the night with him; but Johnny Mouse said he didn’t want to sleep in a pigsty.” (Helme, 1982, p. 23) Adapted text: “’Come sleep in my bed,’ says Pig. ‘I can’t sleep here,’ Mouse says. ‘It’s too dirty.’” Adapting the Learning Centers : Adapting the Learning Centers Choose activities at appropriate level Use modified activities from the curriculum Adapt activities to functional level of children Year 1: Positive Results : Year 1: Positive Results Children learned language structures and used dialogue Teams more unified in goals Classrooms more structured and focused Year 1: Lessons Learned : Year 1: Lessons Learned Themes and concepts in books too complex and abstract despite simplified language Vocabulary and concepts not familiar to culturally diverse/urban population Simplifying learning centers activities from original curriculum difficult Books not read the same way each time making it more difficult for children to learn dialogue Year 2: Adapting the Curriculum : Year 2: Adapting the Curriculum Team collaborated to choose more appropriate books (e.g., “Little Quack’s New Friend”) Objectives of original book maintained New books had: Reduced sentence length Simpler concepts and dialogue Concepts more relevant to population and functional level Year 2: Reading the Book : Year 2: Reading the Book Reasons for reading the book consistently: Language levels maintained with each reading Continuity of story maintained with fewer interjections Children learn dialogue and use the language from the story in play Year 2: Adapted Curriculum “Little Quack’s New Friend” : Year 2: Adapted Curriculum “Little Quack’s New Friend” Goals based on original curriculum module (“Friends”) Centers designed to target: Social/emotional development Gross motor, fine motor, and sensory skills Cognitive development Language/Communication Skills Year 2: Learning Centers “Little Quack’s New Friend” : Year 2: Learning Centers “Little Quack’s New Friend” Original Dramatic Play Area (“Friends”) 6 distinct sections in area Dramatization of story included: long sequences of events complex syntactic structures Adapted Dramatic Play Area (“Little Quack”) 1-2 sections in area with few props Dramatization of story included: shorter sequences of events simpler sentences repetitive dialogue Year 2: Learning Centers:Dramatic Play : Year 2: Learning Centers:Dramatic Play Language Goals supported by Dramatic Play: Vocabulary—duck, frog, tiny, green, wet, mud Actions—play, bounce, splash, dunk Conversational Turn-taking Language Structures: Questions: Can I splash with you? Verb Phrases: I love to splash. Imperative Forms: Let’s splash. Negative Forms: You can’t quack. Year 2: Learning Centers: Sensory Area : Year 2: Learning Centers: Sensory Area Language Goals supported by Sensory Area: Vocabulary—truck, mud, wet, dirty, push, build, in Language Structures: Questions: Can I have a truck? Verb Phrases: I want to squish. Imperative Forms: Let’s play. Negative Forms: You can’t have it. SLPs Working in the Classroom : SLPs Working in the Classroom Reinforce dialogue in learning centers Help children act out roles from stories Use vocabulary, syntax from story as basis for therapy goals Model use of book in centers for classroom staff Generalize language goals from story to daily routine in classroom Using Curriculum in Pull-out Sessions : Using Curriculum in Pull-out Sessions Create activities related to the book Use characters or events from the book to reinforce language goals Generalize concepts learned to other situations Apply concepts from curriculum to child specific goals Suggestions for Implementation of Transdisciplinary Literacy-Based Curriculum : Suggestions for Implementation of Transdisciplinary Literacy-Based Curriculum Teams choose books that are: Culturally and linguistically appropriate Staff training regarding: Typical language development Facilitating language with delayed/disordered preschoolers Read to language delayed/disordered preschoolers Provide adequate time for teams to plan and collaborate Critical Elements : Critical Elements Read story daily Make concepts consistent with language levels Incorporate goals into learning centers Model targeted language structures in all areas of classroom Conclusions : Conclusions Transdisciplinary literacy-based curriculum is effective Choose appropriate literature Remain goal focused throughout adaptations Bibliography : Bibliography Gambrell, L., Morrow, L., Pennington, C. (2000). Early childhood and elementary literature-based instruction: Current perspectives and special issues. In Kamil, Mosenthal, Pearson, & Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research: Volume III (pp.1-16). New York, NY: The Guilford Press. Heine, H. (1982). Friends. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks. Justice, L.M., & Pullen, P.C. (2003). Promising interventions for promoting emergent literacy skills: Three evidence-based approaches. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 23(3), 99-113. Linder, T. (1999). Read, play, and learn! Storybook activities for young children. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc. Novick, R. (1998). Supporting early literacy: The preschool years. Learning to Read & Write. Retrieved September 22, 2006 from http://www.nwrel.org/cfc/publications/pdf/preschool.pdf Thompson, L. (2006). Little Quack’s new friend. New York: Simon & Schuster.

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