Literacy Beginnings by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas got a lot of attention this summer as Literacy Beginnings Blog Party was hosted by several bloggers. I read several posts and thought I could gather some new information for myself and maybe some ideas to refine my current thinking. I got both and am so glad I've read this text. I think it's important to know where our children are coming from and this text includes many ideas relative to kindergarten. I do think this text is must read for beginning teachers of young children. It is packed with researched backed thinking and best practice.
My favorite chapter was, Promoting Constructive Learning: Engaging Children in Inquiry. I think I knew this but never thought about putting it in print. There are two types of inquiry: information seeking and wondering. I think information seeking is easily understood. I loved this writing about wondering, "You might never know the right answer. The goal is often the pleasure of the process itself - speculating, asking more questions, sharing insights that are only possibilities." I think the inquiry part of young children is often the best part if we take the time to embrace it within the mandates of education right now.
I found this book full of new titles for me to use with my students for a variety of reasons. I loved reading even with emerging readers, "Reading is thinking." Often one we read and hear about this for transitional readers. Often when I read a book, I'm looking for things I could implement or enhance my work with students. I loved the alphabet linking chart in this book for a few reasons. It's in color. It had two picture clues for vowels, c, and g. Each picture clue was also labeled with the word below the picture. I ordered it for my classroom and another one to cut apart so my word wall headers. I'm also interested in using the concepts about print assessment described on page 224. I also love the questions they provide to help the teacher assess a student's learning during a component of a reading/writing workshop. There is a collection of poems/chants to support literacy learning within the classroom. This is just a small snapshot of this book. I felt this text help ground my thinking about early literacy.