A Literacy Rich Environment

Exploring Reggio Series Banner A Literacy Rich Environment

This post is part of the Exploring Reggio series with:

The Imagination Tree | Learn with Play at Home | One Perfect Day | Twodaloo


Literacy rich environment Letter blocks An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

The child is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.

A hundred.

Always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream….

Loris Malaguzzi, The Hundred Languages of Children

A hundred different ways to understand, to discover and to learn. And each one of these provides endless opportunities for children to develop their oral language, writing and reading. All without a single worksheet or workbook.

When I was teaching, I specialised in literacy and learning support. We had bookwork and activity sheets, flashcards and listening stations.

My co-teacher and I taught a class of 14yr olds who had reading and writing comprehension levels of lower-middle primary. The workbooks were not targeted at teenagers and even though I’d not heard of the Reggio Emilia Approach, out of respect for the students we tried to create a learning environment which inspired them to create meaningful language in context.

We saw remarkable improvements in the students’ literacy levels. A group of ‘unteachable’ students were successfully teaching themselves. It was a huge turning point in my teaching practice.

Literacy rich environment story stones An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Literacy rich environment Scrabble letters An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich EnvironmentOur environment influences our behaviour. For our students, a literacy-rich environment; one which allowed the students to engage with language in an authentic way, allowed their language development to be interwoven into activities which interested them.

“Children do not simply receive information…they transform it in order to understand it….[T]o read and write is much more than “learning the alphabet” and…is not only limited to the learning of “instrumental” techniques.”

The Hundred Languages of Children (pg. 214)

Now at home, I have tried to create a literacy-rich environment for Jack and Sarah. Here are a few things that I have out at the moment to encourage them to use language in meaningful ways.

Creating a literacy rich environment Exploration shelf An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Writing materials on our science discovery shelf

Literacy rich environment writing materials An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Writing caddy (lead pencils, coloured pencils, artline markers, coloured sharpies) and notebooks

Literacy Rich Environment Blocks and geometry materials An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Writing materials and a geometry set alongside building blocks

Literacy rich environment moveable alphabet and sandpaper letters An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Language manipulatives: Sandpaper letters and moveable alphabet

Literacy rich environment Globe An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

A globe – meaningful language

Literacy rich environment Dramatic Play An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Writing materials for dramatic play

Literacy rich environment labeling drawings An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Labelling drawings

Literacy rich environment Writing journal An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

Jack’s writing journal: He writes in this when inspiration strikes

Literacy rich environment writing materials in dramatic play An Everyday Story A Literacy Rich Environment

More opportunities for using language in dramatic play

I’ve also been hugely inspired by this wonderful video about the development of language in authentic contexts. Have a watch, I know you’ll love it.

14 thoughts on “A Literacy Rich Environment

  1. This is amazing….just a great way to help promote literacy. I love using my wooden letters on the light table…..the children love making “words” or their names.

  2. I think that it used to be that the kids that had poor literacy came from poorer homes without much stimulation. Now I think its with the kids who are so glued to their devices, they never read or are even interested in reading

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  4. So glad that your posts appear in my inbox as soon as you publish them! I’ve visited this a few times from my email and on my phone! And now finally on my computer to comment! Thank you for sharing so many ways to make literacy a part of everyday activities and make it perfectly meaningful for our children.
    Pinning, sharing, liking! :) You rock xx

  5. Gorgeous post Kate. I love to set up a literacy rich environment and as you’ve shown people in the pictures above, it’s not difficult to do. Your materials are beautiful and I always love how you present them. :)

  6. An inspiring post. I agree with Debs that providing a literacy rich environment is not hard but it is incredibly rewarding. Cammy has so many notebooks, yet when her Nanna gave her $5 to spend at the shops, she asked for a new notebook.

  7. Such lovely examples, Kate. At the moment the only literacy things we do/ have is books but I have just started putting labels on Lucy’s drawings. I am wondering if there is an ideal time to introduce a few more literacy activities with my 2.5 year old or should I wait for her to show an interest? I don’t want to push her. What do you think?

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  9. I think one of the big things in literacy is for your kids to see YOU reading and writing (and actually, drawing too . . .) If I’m writing a note, I’ll pass the two year old a scrap of paper and she’ll generally pen a note in her own way. The kids see us reading novels and talking about them, reading catalogues, magazines, recipes and instructions. Because we value literacy, they do too.

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