Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Literate Kindergarten

This is my new favorite professional book for any kindergarten teacher! I think other teachers would walk away with thoughts to reflect on, too. This book encompasses all aspects of a kindergarten classroom and the energy needed to work with young learners. Every time I sat down to read this book I walked away with something I would try or implement the next day. My friend, who happens to be my literacy support is going to borrow the book (since I am so excited) and I can't wait to talk further with her about the ideas and thinking presented in this text.

Susan L. Kempton has done a fantastic job capturing the essence of working with young learners. In The Literate Kindergarten, she encourages teachers to view children through different lenses. She refers to these as domains; the cognitive domain, the creative domain, and the emotional domain. Right there, you can tell she considers, believes, and works with the whole child in mind. To help guide planning and interactions with children she thinks of these questions to guide her work within the domains, what are you wondering?, what did you discover?, and what are you feeling?.

If you are looking for a clear picture of a kdg. classroom with a schedule, routines, and helpful tips she provides all of this information in her Setting the Tone chapter. Throughout this book the reader is reminded about the importance of oral language, the use of play to foster learning in academic areas, the importance for integrating the curriculum, the use of the arts and different mediums to express learning. She speaks about writing, about thinking strategies which is really the use of comprehension strategies, and about reading. I don't know if there is anything she missed in the 172 pages. Yes, there are math and science ideas shared too! Her book is filled with ideas to promote inquiry and wonder in learning.

What she provides a kindergarten teacher the most is comfort. Comfort in knowing working with young children is uncertain, it takes energy, it takes creativity, it takes flexibility, it takes love, and time. I'm already flipping back through this book to find to reread and ponder.

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