Literacy Backpacks

“Language is essential to society, forming the foundation for our perceptions, communications, and daily interactions with others” (Kostelnik et al., 2014, p. 243).  Oral language in early childhood is fostered through many things such as conversations with adults and peers, pretend play, singing, questioning, etc. Oral language is also fostered through the daily reading of different genres of literature.  Children who are lucky enough to have lots of experience with nursery rhymes for example, “will have more highly developed phonological awareness” (p. 245).  Phonological awareness is the ability to hear the similarities and differences in the sounds of words or parts of words.  Also, allowing children to have fun with words through poems, music, rhymes, “silly words (goopy, soupy, boopy) and even nonsense words (anana, tabana, fanan)” will lay the strong foundation they need to connect language to literacy (p. 245).

Utilizing different genres and creating language and literacy activities that are engaging, interactive, and fun is an important part of the early childhood classroom. The concept of a thematic literacy bag, sometimes called a story sack, or backpack, has been used within the classroom, as well as an at home activity to support positive literacy experiences. These thematic bags include several language and literacy activities that support children’s learning. Literacy backpacks are often used to introduce literacy at home. The home-school connection is important, and having children share literacy that they are reading at school with their families is a great way to form this connection.  How to Make Awesomely Effective Literacy Bags (Links to an external site.) not only explains in detail what a literacy bag is, but provides useful tips on what should be placed in a literacy backpack before it is sent home. Below are two useful videos that demonstrate the benefit of literacy backpacks. 

Hug That Book — A Literacy Programme Ups the Ante (Links to an external site.)

Do Your Ears Hang Low, Story Sack (Links to an external site.)

Initial Post: For your initial post:

· Create a plan for a literacy backpack that can be used within the center, classroom or at home. Your post must include:

· A visual of what your bag might look like. You can use whichever graphics program you choose to create the visual (e.g., the drawing tools in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint). Be sure to attach your visual to your initial post.

· Instructor Tip: Your visual should be something that attracts your age group but also promotes literacy. Could you spell out each child’s name on their literacy bag or add a design that signifies their reading level? How can you make your literacy backpacks unique?

· Instructor Tip: To display you image you can take a screen shot of this image and upload it. Please visit How to Take a Screen Shot of What’s on Your Computer (Links to an external site.) for details.

· A description of the theme of your bag and introduction to the bag (e.g., Back to School, Seasons of the Year, Animals, Apples, Feelings and Emotions).

· Instructor Tip: When choosing your theme, choose theme topics that cover a wide variety of things. For example, if you choose the season of Fall, you have limited your book choices, and the children in your classroom may have no interest in Fall. By choosing a wider topic such as Seasons, you have allowed for a wider literacy selection that may be appealing to more students.

· An explanation of the developmental level/age that you would use the activities with.

· Instructor Tip: What age would best suit your theme and literacy choices? Keeping in mind everything that we learned about DAP, what do you feel makes your activities appropriate for your age group?

· Three developmentally appropriate literature selections that could be read to the child, including the title and author.

· Instructor Tip: Checking out your local book store or websites such as Barnes and Noble (Links to an external site.)Scholastic (Links to an external site.), and Amazon (Links to an external site.) will help you choose from a wide variety of children’s books. Use this information as a resource when selecting literature.

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