November 2012




This research summary focuses on the practice of oral storytelling, which has been

shown to enhance emergent literacy and language development in young children. A

thorough review of the literature revealed the need for parents and other adult

caregivers to gain awareness of multi-faceted approaches to emergent literacy.

Specifically, it is important to grasp that a love for literacy develops through

experiences with adult caregivers. In fact, oral storytelling appears to be just as

important as reading to children when discussing potential keys to emergent literacy.

Oral storytelling is a contributor to emergent literacy and assists children in

becoming motivated to approach literacy.

What does that have to do with your practice in a Preschool or Childcare setting?  How can you use the research to further your work with young children?


I met Stephanie Jones from UGA on a Literacy Study Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy. Inspired by her passion for children and change in education, I checked out her blog.  I encourage you to do the same!

The Teaching Georgia Writing Collective – check it out!.


A week-long Study Trip to the Preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy left me exhausted, enthralled, and “in love”. As one teacher from the Loris Malaguzzi International school stated, ” If you really believe that this way really works, you have to fall in love with it and trust the children.” She went on to say that they strive to create balanced encounters so children and adults are sharing a journey of research together. What an incredible way to look at education. I will continue to study the Reggio approach and strive to bring the inspiration to my context, my school, in my town because I am “in love” with a philosophy that values children!

In Chapter one of John Dewey’s School and Society he writes:

The mere absorption of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat. Indeed, almost the only measure for success is a competitive one, in the bad sense of that term — a comparison of results in the recitation or in the examination to see which child has succeeded in getting ahead of others in storing up, in accumulating the maximum of information. So thoroughly is this the prevalent atmosphere that for one child to help another in his task has become a school crime. Where the school work consists in simply learning lessons, mutual assistance, instead of being the most natural form of cooperation and association, becomes a clandestine effort to relieve one’s neighbor of his proper duties. Where active work is going on all this is changed. Helping others, instead of being a form of charity which impoverishes the recipient, is simply an aid in setting free the powers and furthering the impulse of the one helped. A spirit of free communication, of interchange of ideas, suggestions, results, both successes and failures of previous experiences, becomes the dominating note of the recitation. 

That was written in 1915.  Why haven’t things changed?  Or maybe they have!  It may be easier for those of us in a preschool setting to make a change.  I know one effort we have made is to embrace a shift in attitude to recognize and value mentoring between students instead of “shutting it down” or punishing it.  Have you made a shift in attitude?  Can you share what you are doing?

  “The way I understand it is that everything that I ever believed about education has taken on the most compelling purpose there could ever be: time in school is for learning and using concepts and skills that will serve us, serve others and serve the planet in creating a positive, hopeful, vibrant future.”

via Learning for the Future: Twenty-first Century Schools | Cadwell Collaborative.

Do you agree?  Is this what you believe and work every day to accomplish- creating an environment that serves others- be it children, parents, teachers, environment?







If you need a short, credible, to the point case for the importance of early childhood education to share with parents, funders,      or other stakeholders, check out “The Science of Early Child Development,” a policy brief from the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University.  This brief shares five concepts that illustrate the importance of our work:

  1. Brains are built over time, from the bottom up.

  2. The interactive influences of genes and experience shape the developing brain.

  3. The brain’s capacity for change decreases with age.

  4. Cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are inextricably intertwined throughout the life course.

  5. Toxic stress dama ges developing brain architecture, which can lead to life-long problems in learning, behavior, and physical mental health.

I especially like to focus on “cognitive, emotional, and social capacities are intertwined throughout the life course”   Think about your observations of young children.  Have you noticed that you can’t have the cognitive without the social? Can you give an example?  Can you make that visible in your room through photos and documentation?

Start today as a child does; full of light and the clearest of vision.
-Brenda Veland

I found this interesting quote by Brenda Veland.  I wasn’t familiar with Ms. Veland so I tried to find out who she was…I found out that quotes associated with Brenda Ueland which I liked as well:

So you see, imagination needs noodling — long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering.
Brenda Veland (Ueland)
Brenda Ueland quotes
“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we really listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are constantly being re-created.”
I especially liked the thought of listening as a magnetic, creative force- the idea of being pulled towards someone as you listen was a strong image for me.  I know that image, it’s a teacher leaning in to a young child to truly listen and to be “recharged.”  What do you think of these quotes?  Do you know more about Brenda Veland (Ueland)?

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