A Literacy-Rich Classroom Environment
Practices Related to Developing a Literacy-Rich Classroom
The following practices identified by Project ELIPSS promote emergent literacy for preschool children.
Practices Promoting Emergent Literacy for Preschool Children
The classroom has an attractive, inviting reading center or classroom library.
Books are displayed so that children can see the pictures on the covers.
Adults read books aloud to children daily.
Labels with signs or pictures are present on toy containers, shelves, and learning centers.
Children are encouraged to write or draw every day.
Adults model writing for children daily.
The classroom has a well-stocked writing center and art center.
The classroom has a listening center with a supply of books, cassettes,
and cds for children.
Children are encouraged to write and publish their own individual books.
Learning centers contain print props
Examples: grocery store coupons, notepads and pencils, magazines
Children’s books are placed throughout the room.
An inviting reading environment helps to stimulate children’s interests
in books and reading. By arranging the furniture and materials in a comfortable,
accessible manner, children will want to spend more time looking at books
either alone or with peers in the reading center.
Components of a
reading center include: developmentally appropriate
Reading Center Furnishings
Soft, comfortable chairs, such as bean bag chairs, giant pillows or a small foam couch
Child-sized rocking chair
Stuffed animals to “read with a friend”
Small table with two or more child-sized chairs if room permits
Bookshelves which allow books to be displayed with covers facing outward
Crates for books
Boxes or large baskets for storing books
Reading Center Materials and Equipment
Head sets, tape recorders, cd players, and recorded books
Felt board and flannel story pieces
Magnetic board and magnetic story pieces
Books for a Developmentally Appropriate Reading Center
Five to eight books per child (this is the recommended minimum for classroom use)
Books for pleasure
, pop-up books, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, song picture books, and poetry picture books Informational books
Examples: factual books on topics such as animals, insects, and machines; picture dictionaries; art and craft books
Language play books
books with simple pictures and single words or phrases, alphabet books books
with repetitive rhymes and phrases Children’s self-authored books (books made by children)
[insert Graphics related to components of reading center]
Children should have opportunities to write in an area of the classroom that has furniture and materials for writing.
Components of the writing center may include:
Furnishings for a Writing Center
Child-sized table and chairs
Small plastic tote boxes
Baskets and boxes as storage containers
Writing Center Materials
Variety of paper
Examples: lined, unlined, colored, white, paper stapled together as a book, memo pads, notebooks, envelopes
Materials that support writing
lists of the children’s names
chalk and chalkboards
magnetic board and letters
letter tiles and blocks
Letter and picture stamps and ink pads
Pencils (regular and chubby)
Examples: regular and chubby; variety of colors; glitter crayons and scented ones
Chalkboards and chalk
Magnetic boards and letters
Letter stamps and ink pads
Examples: washable stamp inks, various colors
Acetate sheets and wipe-off pens and cloths
Laminated poster board pieces and wipe-off pens and cloths
Letter and design stencils
Hole punch and yarn or ribbon for binding “books” made with hole-punch pages
Glue, paste, and tape
Examples: child-sized with rounded points, adaptive scissors, decorative edged scissors
Book of wallpaper samples for making covers for homemade “books”
Old magazines, catalogs, pictures, and postcards
Examples of writing centers:
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The art center should include a variety of materials that support development of art and literacy skills in different forms. Art can be a form of communication for young children. They develop emergent writing skills as they draw and paint.
Furnishings for an Art Center
Child-sized table and chairs
Easels (at least two)
Low set of shelves for art supplies
Bins to organize art tools and materials
Materials for an Art Center
Paper of all kinds
Variety of colored construction paper, drawing paper, tissue paper, textured papers (natural, mulberry, vellums), different weights of cardstock, origami paper
Rolls of newsprint, heavy paper, butcher paper, and easel paper
Office discards, junk mail, greeting cards, magazines, paint chip samples, and wallpaper sample books
All paper scraps, especially construction paper
Drawing and painting tools
Crayons without paper wrappers (a large variety to choose from)
Examples: fat crayons, adaptive crayons, multicolor crayons, homemade crayons, glitter crayons, gel crayons
Markers of different colors
Chalk, including fat chalks in many colors
Rulers and templates
Assortment of paint brushes (different sizes)
Adaptive grips and extended handles for brushes
Sponges and sponge shapes
Scissors (including decorative edged scissors and adapted scissors)
Glue and glue sticks
Xyron machine - to make stickers, magnets, or to laminate
Stencils and Embossing Stylus
See EC-TIIS Expressive Arts Workshop for more information on setting up the Art Center in the classroom.
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A science center can be designed to encourage emergent literacy skills.
Literacy Materials to Include in the Science Center:
Books about famous scientists
Books with simple science experiments
Informational books with science-related topics
Examples: animals, plants, insects, birds, oceanlife, and five senses
Writing pad and pencil for children to write notes about creatures in the center or to journal other observations
Chart paper and marker for children to mark daily progress of small
animal in the center or plant growth
Labels for items in the center
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Dramatic Play Center
Children’s interest in reading and writing will be sparked when print-related props are placed in the
areas. Children will use reading and writing in their play. They will also see reading and writing as purposeful, real-life activities. They will also enjoy imitating adult literacy behaviors as they play. dramatic
Literacy items to include in the Housekeeping Area:
Notepads for making lists
Telephone book by the toy telephone
Grocery store coupons
Empty food containers
Magazines and newspapers
Labels on items such as stove, refrigerator, and sink
Literacy items to include in Block Area
Books about buildings, construction and construction workers
Books about vehicles (trains, cars, planes, buses)
Posters with names of different types of workers
Materials for making signs, such as “Gas Station”:
Strips of cardboard or posterboard
Tongue depressors, straws, or popsicle sticks
Using Prop Boxes to Enhance Literacy
The following tips have been compiled by
to get the most out of a print-enriched Project
ELIPSS area. dramatic
Dramatic play settings based on familiar real-world settings usually generate the most interest and participation from children.
Children are more likely to play independently in dramatic play settings if they have prior knowledge or experience they can relate to the setting.
Adults should be available to join in play in settings that are not as familiar to children. Adult modeling of print-related behaviors (making lists, writing notes, pretending to fill out order forms) is important.
Dramatic play settings should be changed regularly in order to maintain the interest and participation of the children.
Office Prop Box
Flower Shop Prop Box
Veterinarian Prop Box
Fast Food Restaurant Prop Box