Teaching Young Students

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Preschool, kindergarten, and first grade are essential years in children’s life for learning how to read and understanding the basic fundamentals of language arts. Some of these concepts include letter recognition, sight word recognition, capitalization, punctuation, and reading fluency. Everything that children learn during these important years will follow them the rest of their lives. Reading and writing must start with the very basics of letter identification and then progress to writing and reading words and sentences. It is important for children to have a positive learning experience because reading is a very important skill that will continually be needed in everyday life. Whole language and balanced literacy are two commonly used methods for teaching language arts to beginning students. There are many activities used to teach young children how to read and write including the use of music in the classroom, sight words, games, and worksheets.

There are two main approaches to teaching reading to young students. One common approach is whole language. Kate Walsh states that whole language “emphasizes connecting children with meaningful text as the preferred path to developing fluent readers” (10). In whole language, using the context of the sentence to figure out a word is essential. Walsh further explains the importance of context cluing in whole language by describing it as “having children identify new words by discerning their meaning in the context of the text” (10). Another approach to teaching reading is balanced literacy which, unlike whole language, “fuses the literature-based approach with some phonological instruction but only on an “as needed” basis” (Walsh, Glaser, Dunne 10). Mixing these two conc...

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... the student must understand the difference between an uppercase and lowercase letter and when to use them in different situations. Independent exercises are important in the learning process for children because it makes them feel like they have accomplished something on their own, and they show what the child truly knows.

There are many different approaches to teaching language arts to young learners. It is important to understand that every classroom and every child is different. Different activities and methods should be used with different children and different situations. Learning the basics of language arts will follow with children throughout their years of schooling and throughout their life. Learning how to read and write for a young student should be a positive and fun experience. Through different methods, many teachers have made learning fun!
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