interest-based emergent literacy project
Carry out an interest-based emergent literacy project with a small group of children (between three-five children in total). You should allow approximately five weeks
to plan, implement and write-up this assessment task. The time allocated to the project will vary depending on the children’s interest and engagement, and may even
continue after you complete your report.
Planning, implementing and documenting your emergent literacy project:
• Document the children’s interests to determine appropriate experiences for your project.
• Plan and implement an emergent literacy project where children can learn more about and extend their topic/s of interest. The project should introduce opportunities
for talk, new vocabulary and print materials into the experiences to encourage emergent literacy understandings in the children. Initially, implement 2-3 experiences,
and then based on the children’s response to these, plan and implement more experiences. Depending on the children’s responses, the project may take a different
direction from the original identified interest – this is the emergent nature of the project.
• Record/document your planning process and the children’s responses and interactions (child:child and adult:child) during the experiences. You can document the
children’s experiences and your own decision-making processes through the use of whatever recording methods you prefer. Some possibilities are a diary, photographs,
examples of children’s drawings/writing or artefacts, audio- recordings and video-recordings. You should document the children’s responses which indicate how the
project might contribute to their emergent literacy. A selection of this material should be included as appendices, and referred to throughout your discussion.
Guidelines for submission of the project report
1. Include a cover sheet – this should include your name, student number, subject title, subject code, assessment title, and number of words used in your assessment
(excluding cover sheet, contents table, references and appendices). A penalty will apply to any work submitted beyond 10% over the required word limit.
- Include a table of contents, with page numbers.
Begin with a brief description of the children and context (e.g, number of children in the group, ages, type of service, etc.). Full names of services, children or
others should be avoided in order to maintain confidentiality. Children’s first names will suffice and you should obtain parental permission to use photographs of
children. You must adhere to all confidentiality and privacy policies of the children’s service.
- Present a mind map, or similar record, of how the project developed and evolved (one page).
Describe and discuss the project, include the following:
a) How you initially identified the children’s interests
b) The new language/literacy opportunities provided and how you incorporated these within the project
c) What EYLF pedagogical practices underpinned your experiences
d) The learning that was facilitated by your actions within the experiences
Use headings for each of these sections based on the key ideas above to make your report clear for the reader. This discussion should be related to the readings and
appropriately referenced using APA referencing style.
You also need to include a selection of your project planning and implementation records, and examples of the children’s work in an Appendix. Number, label and refer
to these in the body of your assessment. Please note: the appendices are not marked but are important for providing evidence of the points made within your discussion
of the project. You are expected to present your assessment as a Word document therefore appropriate methods of reporting in appendices would be: short description and
explanations of relevant incidents; short transcripts of talk; examples of writing, drawing or photographs of artefacts made by the children. Please do not submit
audio or video recordings, or include bulky materials when submitting the assessment.
6. Evaluate the project.
Context Page Two
Overview Page Three
Project Pages Four – Six
Evaluation Page Seven
References Page Eight
Appendices Pages Nine – Ten
Include a brief description of the children and context (please use pseudonyms)
Children’s Background Information;
Long Day Child Care Centre known as “Little treasures” centre. In preschool room are 14 children each day. Children involved in this project are from preschool room.
Children involved in literacy project:
Steven H. 4.9 years old.
Glenda B. 4.2 years old
Domini L. 4.3 years old
Erik A. 4.11 years old
Cate H. 3.8 years old
This is my first project with a small group of children at this centre. To my knowledge they never done any project at this centre. After I identified children’s
interest in dinosaur, I sat with children and I explained them what is a project and how it is done. I excited children’s interest in learning more about dinosaurs.
The project evolved over a period of time and the children became active investigators working alongside with me to explore, research and develop new understanding
about why dinosaurs extinct.
4. Present a mind map, or similar record, of how the project developed and evolved
The idea of this project started when one of the preschool children Steven, brought a little booklet with a dinosaur picture on it. He presented the booklet at news
time and said that he bought it from a museum that he visited with his parents. During the news he talked about dinosaurs and he said that “the dinosaurs extinct
because the sun didn’t make it any warmer”. One of the children Evan said; “no they died because a rock hit Australia, the world and it shaked the world and the
dinosaurs died”. Other children started to share their thoughts on dinosaurs and the discussion continued from dinosaurs to big oceans. The group displayed fantastic
turn taking abilities; they were able to wait for one another to finish before verbally contributing to the discussion. The group was able to keep the focus of the
discussion and were really involved and eager to hypothesise why the Dinosaurs became extinct.
I offered the children to do research together to explore what had happened to dinosaurs. They all agreed. I said to the children that we have to make a list of what
we will need for our project. The first thing that I needed was to find out what they knew about dinosaurs and what they would like to learn. I was surprised by the
intensity of the children’s interest in dinosaurs. They wanted to know the size of the biggest dinosaur, what they ate, why they died, why the sun was cold, is there
any dinosaur on earth, the length of their legs, how fast they could run, where they kept their babies and more. The following days the children started to practice to
articulate some of the names of their dinosaurs, they drew dinosaurs (appendix), we looked at the dinosaur pictures at the internet. We printed dinosaur names and
children pasted them on their pictures. The same week we made some dinosaur bones and baked them in the oven. The bones were different lengths. The second week I hid
the dinosaur bones in the sandpit and I told children that we are going to find the bones with the help of a map. We used brown sandwich paper to draw the map of the
sandpit. After the children found the bones, we used a ruler to measure the bones and sort them in different boxes. The third week we started to print some dinosaurs
and made our own book. The children wrote in the book (appendix). On the fourth week of our project we started to write in our book all the facts we learnt about
dinosaurs. Children wrote on a paper then they glued them in the book. On the fifth week of the project we started to write a story about dinosaurs. Every child made
his/her contribution to the story. Children continue the project to this point.
5. Describe and discuss the project, include the following:
a) How you initially identified the children’s interests
The investigation into how the Dinosaurs became extinct stemmed from an initial discussion revolving around what children already know or have learnt. I noticed
children interest in dinosaurs during group activities, when children brought books, or dinosaur toys, booklets about dinosaurs. Children discussed what they knew
about Dinosaurs, one aspect they were unsure about was how the Dinosaurs died. And when Steven discussed dinosaurs at the news time I saw that there was general
interest among children to learn more about dinosaurs. It is important that discussion involves children talking with each other and listening and responding each
other’s comments (Fellows & Oakley, page 75). Every child had some knowledge about dinosaurs, and they wanted to know more about them. From children’s discussions it
was evident that the children were in dinosaurs and had a lot of knowledge about dinosaurs. Children understood that the dinosaurs died and they can now see dinosaurs
in museums. I was fascinated to see how children conducted their discussions with one another and insisted on their points (appendix). From their discussions I could
pick up very riche vocabulary that stemmed from their prior knowledge about dinosaurs. I also noticed that a small group of children continued their discussions about
dinosaurs even after other children went to different activities. So I choose this small group of children to take in-depth investigation into how the dinosaurs lived
and died as the initial discussion begin from this. I also made a note for parents about our project and suggested to help children to do some research or any activity
at home with parents.
b) the new language/literacy opportunities provided and how you incorporated these within the project
Children know that the dinosaurs don’t exist anymore. Steven said from the beginning, “I know the dinosaurs extinct”. But Glenda said: “no they didn’t extinct, they
just died”. Then I asked them if they know the difference between the words “extinct” and “died” because both words are right. But Erik interrupted and said to Steven:
“I know they died before I was born, just on time”. I explained the difference between the two words and just after that Glenda said ;”I know my pop died and they put
him in a hole, and when dinosaurs died they put them in a hole, and if we dig we can find dinosaur bones”. Kate added to this: “but we won’t see any colours on them,
we’ll see only bones. The children were thinking and reasoning. Their use of language was extended as they discussed, listened to and shared their ideas about
We started our project with a book about dinosaurs which I had borrowed from local library. Befor I read the book I talked with children about the text, identifying
and using the terms such as “letters”, “words”, “full stops”, reading from top to bottom and left to right, referring to “print” and “pictures”, referring to the title
on the book, the author and the illustrator explained children that there are some new words in the book that I’d like to explain them before I read the book. After
giving some explanation about unfamiliar words I read the book. Fellows and Oakley emphasise the importance of reading aloud to children because it provides a
meaningful context for them to hear words, which is central to their vocabulary enrichment, and to their ability to learn new words and use them in their oral
language. When I finished the book, Steven said: “I know the word fossil, it means skeleton”. The following day I printed out some fossil pictures and showed them to
children. Kate said: “Is that a fosile?” I corrected her by telling her how to say the word right. Glenda said that one day she saw a fossil a fish on the beach”.
The same day at craft time I asked children to draw a dinosaur, because we were going to make a dinosaur book”, Glenda said: but I don’t know how to draw dinosaurs”.
Steven said that he would let Glenda to copy “his dinosaur”. I displayed a picture dinosaur book on the table and children started to draw. When they finished Erik
said “I drew a lot of spikes on my dinosaur’s back”. I told him that the spikes are called “pointed plates” and that the plates helped dinosaurs to fight against their
enemies. Glenda wanted to know what the word enemy meant. Kate said: “they are the baddies” I offered them to type that word at the computer and read the explanation
together. Fellows and Oakley (Fellows & Oakley 2012) emphasise the importance of teacher’s role in guiding children by asking questions, providing demonstration and
making suggestions. Fellows and Oakley (2012) say that teachers should input new vocabulary and assist children to express their growing understanding (page77). I
added that word to the new words list that I had made the previous day.. . As children develop their ability to understand and use spoken language, they come to hear
the differences and similarities among sounds. I offered children to play with the word enemy by changing the sounds, making up new words because phonetic awareness
helps children sound out unfamiliar words. Children made up some words like: “enemy-baddy-canemy-tenemy-lenemy”. I explaind children that all these word do not make
sense but the word “enemy”. When children learn to recognise, match and then produce rhyming words they are demonstrating initial phonemic awareness because to produce
words that rhyme, they are actually deleting the first sound in a word and replacing it with another. This is an essential foundational skill that is built on in early
As we continued our project we made the dinosaur bones. For these we used salt dough recipe. I said to children that we had to look up for the recipe in a children’s
art and craft book, because the most important concept that children need to develop is the functions of print. I provided children measuring cups and spoons and
offered children to measure the flour and the salt with measuring spoon, Erik said: “but if we are going to measure we need a measuring tape, but we need a scale to
weigh the ingredients, my mum said so”. I found it hard to explain the children at that moment the difference between these two words and I told to Erik that I’ll
explain the different use of these words later. I had the flour and the salt in a container and children had to touch it to feel the texture to see the differences
between these two ingredients before they could measure them. Kate put her fingers in salt container and said “I think this feels like tiny rocks, I don’t think this
is a flour because flour is very smooth”. Erik said: “be sensible, the salt can be smooth as well as a bit bumpy”. So I asked children to give me words that describer
the flour. We end up with the following list: smooth, soft, floury, dusty, messy, white, and softest. I told children that we could add a new word like the adjective
fine to describe the texture of flour. To describe the salt children made the following list: rocky, bumby, sandy, spiky. And then Steven said: we have another list of
rhming words and they all are “sensy” words. I explained him that we should rather say that all the words make sense.
Once we had the dinosaurs’ bones ready I put them on a tray and suggested children to sort them through their sizes. Steven asked me: “we put the littlest first then
middle and then the biggest” I said to them: “yes, that is right, you line the little once first, than the middle sized and then the biggest”. When children finished
(appendix) sorting the bones I told them how to describe the subjects from the smallest to the biggest. Then we looked at the book “Big ideas for little people”
(Priddy Books, one of the books from our library) where we found different sized dinosaurs and children practised their knowledge about adjectives.
Another aspect of dinosaurs’ life that children were interested was about what the dinosaurs ate. Some children new that dinosaur ate meat or leafs. So we opened the
computer and typed the word dinosaurs. Erick Kate found all the letters on the keyboard and typed the word dinosaurs (I spelled the letters for them). From the search
we choose the following sentence: Some dinosaurs were carnivores (meat-eaters) but most were herbivores (plant-eaters). Glenda was having difficulty to articulate the
word herbivore and Erick said: “Just say herb eaters, you say herb first”. The following day Kate told us: “My mum said that some animals that live in forest are
carnivores, because they eat a lot of meat”. This was an example that the families were getting involve in our project.
Children wanted to know why dinosaurs died. Some of them had more knowledge than the others but they all knew that there was something to do with the cold weather, or
as they called it “they died because it was cold and they didn’t like cold”. All the ideas and theories children had about how the dinosaurs became extinct were great.
I decided to further that learning and test their theories as well as physically see which theories are plausible and which may not be and from that have the children
begin to make their own conclusions. And
We did an experiment with few leaves and little flowers that were on the grass. We placed all plants on a tray. I put the tray in the freezer and leave it there for 4
days. On the fifth day our and took it to children. They were amazed to see such a transformations on the plants. They started to touch them, observed them with
magnifying glass and made comments about the changes in the plants. Glenda said: “because it is super-duper cold in the fridge, the plants are icy”. I invited other
children to join our discussion. Steven looked at the plants and said: “If we put real dinosaurs in the fridge they will die. Even if we put people in the fridge they
will die, but they can open the door and come out”.
I search the net and found a song about dinosaurs (appendix). Children loved the new song so much that they wanted to learn just one more songs about dinosaurs.
To extend children’s knowledge about the dinosaurs name I offered children to adapt one of their favourite games to master dinosaur’s names.
This week we started to work on our book. I made children’s learning visible to the parents, by displaying children’s pictures, art and craft done by children, our
project web. Observations relating were documented in the daily reflective journal and children’s portfolios.
c) What EYLF pedagogical practices underpinned your experiences
This project can be linked to the Early Years Learning Framework through a number of outcomes. The most prominent being:
Outcome 4. Children are confident and involved learners
a) Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity.
b) Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry experimentation, hypothesizing, researching and investigating.
d) The learning that was facilitated by your actions within the experiences
As a small group children collaborated, conversed and worked together. I provided opportunities for children to think about, to reflect on, to discuss and predict. I
read aloud to children so they could gain more knowledge about dinosaurs and why extinct. I introduced them new words before reading the book and gave some basic
explanation about the meanings. I asked them open ended questions and listen to their answers and corrected them if they were wrong.
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations [DEEWR]. (2009a). Belonging, being and becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. ACT:
Council of Australian Governments.
Fellowes, J. & Oakley, G. (2010). Language, literacy and early childhood education. Melbourne: Oxford University Press
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