Collaborative support by the teacher preparation institution and the field placement is essential.

Programs that educate early childhood professionals should require mastery of information about the many kinds of knowledge and skills that can be acquired in the preschool years in preparation for reading achievement in school. Their knowledge base should include (at least) the following:

  • information about how to provide rich conceptual experiences that promote growth in vocabulary and reasoning skills;

  • knowledge about word and vocabulary development, from early referential (naming) abilities to relational and abstract terms and finer-shaded meanings;

  • knowledge of the early development of speaking and of listening comprehension skills, and the kinds of syntactic and prose structures that preschool children should be in the course of mastering;

  • information on young children’s sense of story;

  • information on young children’s sensitivity to the sounds of language;

  • information on young children’s understanding of concepts of print and the developmental patterns of emergent reading and writing;

  • information on young children’s development of concepts of space, including directionality;

  • knowledge of fine motor development; and

  • knowledge about how to instill motivation to read.

Young teachers need support from mentor teachers as they develop. Even after this training is completed, though, teachers need access to ongoing, career-long development.

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