external image vocabulary.jpg&w=150&h=150&zc=1&q=100Early years teaching practices and
intergrating theory and practice.

'Literacy is the capacity, confidence and disposition to understand and produce the English language accurately, fluently, creatively, critically and effectively in a range of modes and digital settings and in texts designed for a range of purposes and audiences.'(DEECD, 2010, p.4)

There are two literacy teaching approaches, the literacy block and play based/ developmental language experience approach (Paatsch).

  • The Literacy block is the scaffolded approach. This is chosen to suit the individual’s needs of each student. This includes the use of task boards, whole/ small/ whole group work and is quite often the first two hours of the day when children are more alert. (Paatsch). 'In a scaffolded approach to literacy there is a place for the teacher to model, share and guide and encourage independence in reading and writing.' (Hill, 2006, p.72).

  • The play base / developmental language experience approach is the way of explaining and exploring key concepts, understandings of sounds and word structures as well as skills for reading and speaking (Paatsch). 'Language experience comes from the experiences of children, their homes and communities.' (Hill, 2006, p.84)

Graph 1:- Comparison of classes teaching approaches in Reading
Table 1:- Reading Approaches

From readings
Examples from observations
Similarities between readings and observations
Differences between readings and observations
Modelled reading
  • Teacher reads to students aloud, modelling how to read aloud a range of different texts. (Hill, 2006, p.72)
Class A, D and E were the classes that the teachers did modelled reading or used technology for modelled reading.
  • The teacher in Class A modelled how to read with different punctuation marks.
  • Class D used a program on the Net Books called ‘Ziptales’ to read and listen to stories in small groups.
  • The teacher in Class E modelled Grammar a lot by using THRASS throughout the teaching block.
Hill (2006) believes that modelled reading “provides syntax models, vocabulary and meanings that children may not hear in everyday conversations but which then become part of their talk and writing” (p.73).
  • Teacher in Class A asked lots of questions to do with voice changes at talking marks and punctuation marks, by using literal and interpretive questions for the students to explore the text further.
Class D did modelled reading in small groups – According to Hill (2006) it is usually done as a whole group.
The ‘Ziptales’ program enabled the students to practise their phonology as the program modelled how a story is to be read.
Shared reading
  • Teacher uses an enlarged book to explore the different text types. This is usually done as a whole group. (Hill, 2006, P.73)
Shared reading was observed in all of the classes (A, B, C, D, E).
  • Class A used a smart board and CD-ROM for their shared reading as a whole group.
  • Class B used an enlarged book – “The terrible tiger” for their shared reading as a whole group.
  • Class C used an enlarged book - “Who sank the Boat?” as a whole group.
  • Class D used an enlarged book Notes 4, 2011, p. 9).
  • Class E used THRASS CD – rap and sequence.
The enlarged books was used to help develop syntax (which Hill describes as ‘the grammar or the rules by which words as organised in to sentences’ (2006, p. 22).
  • Classes D and E encourage the students to verbally practise certain language features and their inter-relationship along with aiding participation in chanting phrases (ECL210 Lecture 4, 2011, p. 9
Scaffolding helps the students within their learning development, by the teacher giving prompts, reminders, encouragement and assisting the students learning. (Paatsch, Lecture 4).Which was present in Class E
In class A. The method that was used for shared reading used was choral reading.
  • Using a pointer, the students read aloud to the story as Mrs Smith pointed
Guided reading
  • Teacher assists small group reading individual text at the same levels as each other. Opportunities on working on comprehension. (Hill, 2006, p.82)
Guided reading was observed in Classes A, B, C and D.
  • Class A, B, C and D all observed a similar thing - a small group of students read the text aloud, they went through and looked at the pictures, identifying difficult words and using the pictures to figure out what these words might be.
Hill (2003) believes that guided reading assists the students in incorporating a range of different problem-solving strategies to assist them in reading the text (p.80).
This is common approach within the literacy block approach to guided reading.

Independent reading
  • Used to build on students fluency and motivation for reading. (Hill, 2006, p.83)
Classes A, B, C and E observed independent reading.
  • In class A, some students were called up (one at a time) to read to a mother helpers. They read the book aloud whilst the helper took notes on the students’ abilities.
  • Class B started the day with independent reading as other students come in and got settled.
  • In class C and E, students read quietly to themselves when they had finished their other work.
‘The child is challenged to read on their own (at their reading level) for a period of time’ (Hill, 2006, p. 83).
This was observed in the four class rooms in different ways.

  • According to Susan Hill (2006), some of the ideas related to shared reading are to assist in teaching the students different methods of solving problems in identifying various words, learning how to read various text types and recognizing the alternative ways punctuation and grammar can be used to communicate different meanings (p. 73).

Graph 2:- Comparison of classes teaching approaches in writing
Table 2:- Writing Approachs

From readings
Examples from observations
Similarities between readings and observations
Differences between readings and observations
Modelled writing
  • Teacher demonstrates on a whiteboard or a chart how the student can use words, sentences and other text types to record ideas. (Hill, 2011, p.87).
Only in classes A and E were modelled writing observed.
  • Class A, the teacher modelled on the whiteboard how to write the letter of the week K.
  • Class E, the teacher drew upon Goal writing
In both the classroom observations the whiteboard was used to model the writing and ideas.

Shared writing
  • Teacher with the students as a whole group explores the ways to write various text types for example descriptions. (Hill, 2011 .p.88).
  • Shared writing also builds confidence in the young writers (ECL210 Lecture Notes 4, p. 10), it can also be the ‘starting point for guided writing’ (Hill 2006, p.88
Classes B, C, D and E shared writing were observed within the literacy program.
  • Class B the teacher made spelling mistakes on the daily timetable for the students to pick up and correct, ‘Brain food’.
  • Class C, the teacher gets the students to brainstorm words that describe spiders.
  • Class D, the teacher got the students to think of more ‘juicy’ describing words to make their stories more interesting.
  • Class E, the teacher drew upon Goal writing, by writing up the student ideas for their goals.
Classes D and E showed similarities to the readings in that the teacher ‘lead the class in exploring ways to write various text types, construct more complex sentences and check spelling and grammar’ (Hill, 2006, p.88).
  • Class C, the teacher uses a text type of a poem about an animal only using adjectives/ describing words. The class then begin to create a poem together on the white board
This is consistent with Hill and is the only class observed to lead onto guided writing from this activity.
Class B rather than being a continuation of the enlarged book as suggested in Hill (2006 p.88), it was more a follow up to another daily ritual the class had called ‘Brain food’.
Guided writing
  • Usually done within small groups or individual. Guided writing is linked to reading and various texts. Students may use templates as a scaffold for writing. (Hill, 2011, p.88).
Only class C observed guided writing within the literacy block.
  • A small group of students stay on the floor and create a poem with the teacher.
The teacher provided a mini short lesson to demonstrate a particular aspect of text type, (in class C case it was a poem) grammar, punctuation or spelling (Hill 2006 p.88).

Independent writing
  • Used to build on students fluency and motivation for writing. Is also a time for the student to express themselves. (Hill, 2011, p.83)
Classes A, C, D and E all observed independent writing.
  • Class A after the teacher had modelled the letter writing, the students then worked in their writing books to do the letter.
  • Class C the group of students not doing guided writing with the teachers went to work on their own creative poem.
  • Class D, it was observed that being a prep class some students found this difficult.
  • Class E, the students worked on their goals for learning putting some of the brainstorming ideas down into sentences.
In four of the five classes’ modelled writing, shared writing and guided writing all led onto Independent writing to allow students to express themselves.
Class B did not do independent writing on the day of observation.
Language experience
Approach of making the connections between oral language and writing language. (Hill, 2011, p.87)
THRASS comes under this heading. THRASS is the teacher modelling the sounds that the letters make for example chsound in Chair and watch.
Class E was the only class to observe this approach. Examples observed included
  • Show and tell.
  • Thrass CD
*This approach was good for Class E as there was quite a few students with language delays.
THRASS is a certain teaching approach that aims to assists students to achieve an understanding of the ‘building blocks’ to literacy. (Fewster, 2005, p.3).
According to Hill sharing time and show and tell are both strategies used to develop a student’s language. (p.44).
These both were observed within class E.