‘The beginning is the most important part of the work.‘ – Plato
A few weeks ago, a group of bloggers (including me!) began a book study of the new Fountas and Pinnell book, Literacy Beginnings: A Pre-Kindergarten Handbook. When Vanessa from Pre-K Pages asked me to participate, I was unsure at first. The books subtitle after all is ‘A Pre-Kindergarten Handbook’ and I teach kindergarten. What would this book have to offer me? Well, five chapters in, I’m so grateful I decided to join the party.
If you teach kindergarten, or even first grade, why would this book be valuable for you? Here are a few reasons I’ve realized so far (I reserve the right to come up with more as I go deeper into the book):
- I do teach Pre-K. Depending on what type of area you teach in, many of your students haven’t attended a formal preschool. Usually, close to half my sprouts fall into this category. They’ve either attended an in home daycare (not a preschool) or simply been home with a family member (awesome, but also not a preschool). It’s not unusual for many kindergartners to march in the first day not knowing a single letter, number, their name, or how to hold a pencil. Welcome to Pre-K inside your kindergarten classroom!
- If you can’t walk, you can’t run. If you can’t run, you’ll never fly. Just like anything, the foundation of literacy is the most critical base of knowledge our youngest learners will build upon. As a teacher of young children, having a deep understanding the stages of literacy development will only help your planning and delivery of instruction.
- Confirmation is key. Who doesn’t love knowing what they feel in their gut is right for kids (play, play, PLAY!) is the right way to go. Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell are highly regarded as the experts on literacy instruction. Read the book. Know you’re on the right path.
- Everyone can use more tools in their toolbox. The book is packed with ideas and activities to add to your repertoire. Containing countless songs, rhymes, poems, and book lists, you will not come away empty handed. It’s also filled with pages of student work examples and reproducible pages for you to use right away in your classroom. It’s worth the price of admission.