Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten

Lea M. McGee and Lesley Mandel Morrow

May 5, 2005
ISBN 9781593851521
Price: $30.00
258 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"

Kindergarten is a time for playful and enriching learning activities that support children's literacy emergence while enhancing their social and cognitive development. The routines of a busy, engaged, productive kindergarten classroom are vividly brought to life in this information-packed book. Demonstrated are whole-class and small-group strategies for helping children acquire concepts about print and the alphabet, build phonological and phonemic awareness, learn to read sight words, develop their listening comprehension and writing abilities, and much more.

“The reader friendly text and numerous examples help this book meet its goal of being a practical resource book for teachers....What makes this book different from other practical books for teachers is that it explains the theory and research behind recommended practices....A positive aspect of this book is that teachers learn not only ideas of what to do, but also why and how children benefit from those ideas when they are put into practice....This well organized teacher-friendly book contains many examples of student's work, resources, and practical ideas. The authors, who are leaders in the field of literacy, did a good job of presenting a great deal of theory in a compact, easy to read format and have met their goal of making a useful book for practitioners.”

Education Review

“An outstanding resource for preservice and practicing teachers. In a user-friendly format, McGee and Morrow present excellent ideas for creating effective literacy practices in the kindergarten classroom. Further, they clearly explain the theory and research that underlies these practices. This is an ideal text for courses addressing emergent/early literacy at either the graduate or undergraduate level, as well as for teachers who want to expand their understanding of 'best practices' in the early literacy environment.”

—Melanie R. Kuhn, PhD, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

“This practical, research-based volume is very comprehensive and extraordinarily accessible. The book can serve as a curriculum guide that is more in-depth than commercial curricula and that more fully explains each of the suggested practices. A teacher learns not simply what to do, but why and how it benefits children. This book could also serve well as a text for students in content-based curriculum and instruction courses. Students who subsequently practice-teach at the kindergarten level will be well prepared for the literacy instruction they must provide and are likely to wear out the book's pages as they consult it daily while planning their lessons.”

—Judith Schickedanz, PhD, Department of Literacy and Language, Counseling, and Developmental Studies, School of Education, Boston University

“McGee and Morrow have painted a wonderful portrait of kindergarten that will inform the practice of early childhood educators across the country. The book vividly illustrates the kinds of interactions and classroom routines that extend children’s language and thinking to support early literacy development. Examples of children’s drawing and writing, paired with their own words about their work, provide insight into how their understanding of print grows and changes over the course of the kindergarten year. Bringing research-based instructional strategies to life for teachers and teacher educators, this book is a 'must read.'”

—Renée M. Casbergue, PhD, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of New Orleans

Teaching Literacy in Kindergarten presents practical information that I have not seen in other texts. It will be an excellent resource for new kindergarten teachers as well as more experienced teachers. The explicit teaching ideas offer a wealth of alternatives for meeting student needs. I especially enjoyed the number of ways to schedule a balanced literacy framework into the kindergarten day.”

—Rita Perre-Davis, MEd, Literacy Coordinator, Freedom Hill Elementary School, Vienna, Virginia

Table of Contents

1. A Week in Kindergarten

2. Preparing the Environment for Literacy Instruction in Kindergarten

3. What Do Kindergartners Know about Reading and Writing?

4. Whole-Group Literacy Instruction

5. Small-Group Literacy Instruction

6. Differentiating Instruction to Meet the Needs of All Learners

7. Assessment

Appendices: A. Resources for Kindergarten Teachers

B. Alphabet Letter Formation

C. ELKA Alphabet Recognition Tasks

D. ELKA Concepts about Print Tasks

E. ELKA Phonemic Awareness Tasks

F. ELKA Phonics Tasks

G. ELKA Writing Task: Invented Spelling List and Scoring Rubric.

H. Comprehension and Vocabulary Task

About the Authors

Lea M. McGee, EdD, is Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Alabama. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in children's literature, beginning reading and language arts, and foundations of language and literacy development. Dr. McGee is coauthor of Literacy's Beginnings: Supporting Young Readers and Writers and Designing Early Literacy Programs: Strategies for At-Risk Preschool and Kindergarten Children (both with Donald J. Richgels), and of Teaching Reading with Literature: Case Studies to Action Plans (with Gail Tompkins). She has published dozens of articles and book chapters in a variety of journals, including The Reading Teacher, Language Arts, and Reading Research Quarterly. She is also past president of the National Reading Conference.

Lesley Mandel Morrow, PhD, holds the rank of Professor II at Rutgers University's Graduate School of Education, where she is also coordinator of the literacy program. She began her career as a classroom teacher, then became a reading specialist, and later received her doctorate from Fordham University. Her area of research focuses on early literacy development and the organization and management of language arts programs. Her research is carried out with children and families from diverse backgrounds. Dr. Morrow has more than 200 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, and books, most recently Literacy Development in the Early Years: Helping Children Read and Write, Literacy and Young Children: Research-Based Practices (coedited with Diane M. Barone), Organizing and Managing the Language Arts Block: A Professional Development Guide, and The Literacy Center: Contexts for Reading and Writing. She is also past president of the International Reading Association.


Kindergarten teachers; staff developers; students in early childhood education and literacy education.

Course Use

Serves as a supplemental text in early literacy methods courses.