I believe in the power of early education. If we can give these young children amazing experiences and teach them to love learning, they will have a much better chance to be successful in grade school.
I heard about this book by Matt Glover and Kathy Collins (total teacher crushes on both of them) called "I Am Reading."
To be honest, I was going to read it out of blind allegiance because I'm honored to call Kathy a friend. When we hear that she is coming anywhere near Indiana we flip out and furiously try to see her.
See? We don't play when it comes to our Kathy.
When I got hired, this was on the book list so it was an obvious decision! My favorite thing about this professional read is the idea that we can honor and qualify so many early reading behaviors as "reading." How many times have we heard a kiddo declare, "But I can't read!" when they can't decode?
The authors stand on the premise that kids are doing so much heavy lifting with reading before they can ever decode a word. This speaks to me as I have a three-year old and I have done MANY reading workshop sessions with her. She legitimately thinks she can read- and I think that is great. We tend to spend so much time convincing children that they are readers and asking them to find their reading identities. I can't help but wonder how children would perform if they walked into the first day of kindergarten or first grade with the idea of being a reader already implanted?
Essentially, this book provides you with different lenses to view emergent readers. They are busy doing lots of work and we need to honor that so that the student understands that because they are making meaning, they are actually reading.
If you are teaching the early grade, I highly recommend this book. Kathy and Matt are super knowledgeable and you will view your early or even struggling readers in a new light.