Designing Early Literacy Programs

Second Edition
Differentiated Instruction in Preschool and Kindergarten

Lea M. McGee and Donald J. Richgels

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
April 29, 2014
ISBN 9781462514243
Price: $81.00
257 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
April 30, 2014
ISBN 9781462514120
Price: $31.00
257 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
May 1, 2014
Price: $31.00
257 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (PDF) ?
Price: $62.00 $34.10
257 Pages

This acclaimed teacher resource and course text describes proven ways to accelerate the language and literacy development of young children, including those at risk for reading difficulties. The authors draw on extensive research and classroom experience to present a complete framework for differentiated instruction and early intervention. Strategies for creating literacy-rich classrooms, conducting effective assessments, and implementing targeted learning activities are illustrated with vivid examples and vignettes. Helpful reproducible assessment tools are provided. Purchasers also get access to a Web page where they can download and print the reproducible materials in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

New to This Edition

“The book does an excellent job of describing how instruction can accelerate children’s learning. McGee and Richgels reflect the richness of early childhood education. They aim for efficacious learning through a collaborative environment in which teachers can teach according to student needs by focusing on the whole class, small groups, and individual children. The authors remind us that it is necessary to offer equal resources for all children, and they also reinforce the message that there is no one-size-fits-all approach….A key reminder from the book is the significant instructional goal of teaching for the learner, not the curriculum.”

Journal of Early Childhood Literacy

“A well-written and useful book that provides a research basis for implementing early literacy instruction for high-risk children. I recommend this book for early childhood students and educators.”

Education Book Reviews (on the first edition)

“The book will assist prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers in creating centers and activities that will foster children's early literacy development....Recommended. Undergraduates and above.”

Choice (on the first edition)

“An incredibly rich resource for preschool and kindergarten teachers and administrators. At this time, when the focus of kindergarten instruction, especially, is often narrowed to a few 'essential' literacy skills, this book presents a blueprint for providing a stimulating and effective instructional program to all children. For anyone interested in hitting all of the critical language and literacy bases in the early years—in a thorough, efficient, integrated, and meaningful way—this engaging book is a 'must read.'”

—Judith A. Schickedanz, PhD, School of Education (Emerita), Boston University

“In this second edition of their outstanding book, McGee and Richgels offer new evidence and insights about the design of effective early literacy programs, especially for children most vulnerable to risk. Their focus on both prevention and intervention provides the detailed guidance that teachers need not only to support, but also to accelerate children's language and literacy learning in the early years. The in-depth case studies and the 'differentiated instruction in action' examples are truly special and valuable features.”

—Kathleen A. Roskos, PhD, Department of Education and Allied Studies, John Carroll University

“An exciting update of a foundational text. Useful in undergraduate and graduate courses on reading development and early childhood education, this text draws direct connections between theory and practice. Particularly compelling is the way that theoretical concepts are brought to life through real-life examples and applications. I recommend this book for every teacher-in-training and experienced literacy educator.”

—Laura M. Justice, PhD, EHE Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology, The Ohio State University

“This timely second edition reminds us of how early literacy instruction lays a foundation for children's later academic success. In a clear and concise manner, McGee and Richgels provide preservice and inservice teachers with a rich understanding of literacy development and practical ideas for teaching young children. Further, this important resource offers invaluable suggestions for differentiating instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners.”

—Barbara A. Bradley, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Kansas

Table of Contents

1. Who Is at Risk for Reading Difficulties?: Implications for Early Literacy Prevention and Intervention Programs

2. Accelerating Children's Language and Literacy Learning in Exemplary Prevention Classrooms

3. Keeping the End Goal in Mind: Teaching for Knowledge and Comprehension Gains

4. Literacy Development and Its Assessment

5. Using Assessment to Plan Differentiated Instruction

6. Small-Group Differentiated Instructional Activities for Early Emergent Readers and Writers

7. Small-Group Differentiated Instructional Activities for Later Emergent Readers and Writers

8. Small-Group Differentiated Instructional Activities for Experimenting Readers and Writers

9. Differentiated Instruction in Action

Appendix A. A Primer on Phonics for Teachers

Appendix B. Literacy Assessments

Appendix C. Literacy Assessment Scoring Record

Appendix D. Literacy Assessment Scoring Records for Eric, Sarah, Marceli, and Jacob

About the Authors

Lea M. McGee, EdD, is the Marie M. Clay Chair of Reading Recovery and Early Literacy at The Ohio State University. She studies the effects of preschool classroom interventions on preschool and kindergarten literacy achievement, the impact of kindergartners' "fingerpoint reading" on their first-grade text reading, young children's responses to literature, and the effects of a systematic approach to drama and retelling on kindergartners' comprehension and vocabulary development. Dr. McGee is coauthor of Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten, among other books.

Donald J. Richgels, PhD, is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus in Literacy Education at Northern Illinois University. His research interests are preschool and kindergarten classroom practice and the relationship between spoken language acquisition and literacy development.


Preschool and kindergarten teachers; reading specialists; school and child care administrators; instructors and students in early childhood education and early literacy.

Course Use

Serves as a text in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses such as Early Literacy Development, Emergent Literacy, Early Childhood Reading, and Reading Instruction for At-Risk Students.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

First Edition, © 2003
ISBN: 9781572308909
New to this edition: