ECE 231: Early Language and Literacy Development

Course Description

This course serves as an introductory methods course in early childhood language and literacy development. Students explore the development of language from birth-age 8 and learn effective strategies for promoting language in the early childhood years. Students plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities to support language development for all children.  Students also learn how to create literacy-rich environments for the purpose of supporting young children in developing listening, speaking, reading and writing skills that will support them in developing into capable and competent communicators prepared to enter elementary school grades.  Field experience required: 10 hours. (3 credits)



  • ECE 101: Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • ECE 176: Health, Safety and Nutrition: Birth to Eight
  • ECE 210: Observation and Assessment in ECE Program
  • ECE 217: The Exceptional Learner
  • ECE 222: Curriculum for Young Children - Methods and Techniques or ECE 261: Infant / Toddler Care: Methods and Techniques
  • ECE 247: Child Development: Birth to Eight

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

At the Associate of Science level, students will: 
  1. Promote Child Development and Learning- understand how young children develop and learn and how to use developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive and challenging learning environments inclusive of all young children (NAEYC, Standard 1).
  2. Establish Family and Community Relationships- understand and support diverse family and community characteristics and engage with families and communities through respectful, reciprocal relationships (NAEYC, Standard 2).
  3. Observe, document and Assess- utilize a variety of assessment tools to observe and document development and to plan for future instruction respective of each child’s developmental needs (NAEYC, Standard 3).
  4. Utilize Developmentally Effective Approaches- develop positive relationships and supportive interactions with young children and using effective strategies and tools for teaching and learning in early education, (NAEYC, Standard 4). NAEYC, Standard 3).
  5. Use Content Knowledge to build Meaningful Curriculum- develop experiences within environments that are safe, healthy, inclusionary and culturally pluralistic and reflect understanding of developmentally appropriate practices, (NAEYC, Standard 5).
  6. Develop as a Professional- engage in continuous reflective and collaborative learning and identify oneself as an emerging professional within the early childhood field (NAEYC, Standard 6). 7.
  7. Engage in Field Experiences to support learning with various age groups and across multiple early childhood settings (NAEYC, Standard 7).


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Describe current best practices in language arts instruction for children birth-age 8 (NAEYC, Standard 4, 5). 
  2. Explain the interrelatedness of listening, speaking, reading and writing in preparing young children to become capable and competent communicators (NAEYC, Standard 1).
  3. Describe the teacher's role in promoting emergent literacy (NAEYC, Standard 4, 5).
  4. Create activities for young children, utilizing Early Learning & Development Standards related to language and literacy development. (NAEYC, Standard 3).
  5. Create literacy experiences for young children (NAEYC, Standards 4, 5).
  6. Plan and implement developmentally appropriate literacy experiences (NAEYC, Standards 4, 5).
  7. Apply dialogic strategies when reading to young children (NAEYC, Standards 4, 5).
  8. Analyze literacy materials for appropriateness, complexity and bias (NAEYC, Standard 6).
  9. Analyze the developmental stages of writing and its association with the alphabetic principle (NAEYC, Standard 6).
  10. Describe strategies for working with the bilingual learner and students with special needs (NAEYC, Standard 4, 5).
  11. Apply reflective practices (NAEYC, Standard 6).

General Education Outcomes (GEOs):

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading


Weeks 1-8 - Discussions


Week 1: Reflection Paper: Early Literacy Experiences


Week 2: Reflection Paper: Talking with Children  


Week 3: Learning Experience Plan (draft) *Key assessment


Week 4: Midterm- Book Analysis


Week 5: Letter to Parents and Reflection Paper


Week 6: Early Writing Analysis


Week 7: Literacy Presentation


Week 8: Reflection Paper: Field Experience10%
Week 8: Final Exam (Week 8)10%




Required Textbooks

Please note that there is not a required textbook assigned for this course. 

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

  • McGee, L.M. & Schickendanz, J.A., (2007).  Repeated interactive read-alouds in preschool and kindergarten. International Reading Association. (Course Documents)

  • Santoro, L.E., Chard, D.J., Howard, L. & Baker, S.K. (2008).  Making the very most of classroom read-alouds to promtoe comprehension and vocabulary.  International Reading Association. (Course Documents)

  • Whitehurst, G.J., Dialogic Reading: An effective way to read to preschoolers.

Week 4

  • Wanless, S.B. & Crawford, P.A., (2016).  Reading your way to a culturally responsive classroom. (Course Documents)

  • Hoffman, Teale & Yokota, (2015).  The Book Matters!  Choosing complex narrative texts to support literacy discussion.  NAEYC. (Course Documents)

Week 5

  • Yopp & Yopp. (2000). Supporting phonemic awareness development in the classroom.  The Reading Teacher, Vol. 54, No. 2. (Course Documents)

Week 6

Week 7

Course Schedule







Early Language & Literacy Development in Children Birth-Age 8

  • Read; NAEYC position statement summary on learning to read and write;
  • Read; Roskos, K.A., Christie, J.F., & Richgels, D.J., (2003).  The essentials of early literacy instruction.  Young Children, NAEYC.
  • CT Early Learning Development Standards (pages 34-39) or other applicable state learning standards.
  • Review the lecture materials;
  • Participate in discussions;
  • Submit Written Reflection: Early Literacy Development.



Oral Language/Vocabulary Development

  • Read: Dickenson, D.K., & Tabors, P.O., (2002). Fostering Language and Literacy in Classroom and Homes.  Young Children. NAEYC.
  • Read:  Hart & Risley, (2003), The Early Catastrophe, the 30 million word gap by age 3.
  • Review the lecture material;
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit reflection paper on ‘Talking with Children’  * Field experience required.



Creating Interactive Read-Alouds for Young Children

  • Read: McGee & Schickedanz, (2007), Repeated interactive read-alouds in preschool and kindergarten, International Reading Association, (pp.742-751).
  • Read: Santoro, L.E., Chard, D.J., Howard, L. & Baker, S.K. (2008).  Making the very most of classroom read-alouds to promtoe comprehension and vocabulary.  International Reading Association.
  • Read: Whitehurst, G.J., Dialogic Reading: An effective way to read to preschoolers. 
  • Review lecture material.
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit Lesson Plan. *Field experience required.



Culturally Responsive Teaching

  • Read Hoffman, Teale & Yokota (2015).
  • Read Wanless & Crawford, (2016).  Reading your way to a culturally responsive classroom.
  • Review the Lecture material;
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit book list of culturally appropriate texts for use in early childhood.
  • Complete Midterm Exam

Midterm Exam

Chapters 1, 2, 5, 6 and all related readings from weeks 1-4;

SLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6



Phonological Awareness for Young Children 

  • Read: Yopp & Yopp, (2000).

  • Review lecture material;
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit poster of phonological awareness activities.



Early Writing and Spelling Development 

  • Read:  Cabell, Tortorelli & Gerde, (2013).
  • Read:  Byington, T., & Kim, Y. (2017).  

  • Review lecture material;
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit reflection on framework for individualizing early writing instruction. 



Designing the Environment

  • Read:  Literacy Rich Environments.
  • Gerde, Bingham & Wasik, (20120).  Writing in Early Childhood Classrooms:  Guidance for Best Practices.
  • Review the Lecture material;
  • Participate in discussion;
  • Submit portfolio of literacy-rich environment;
  • Submit field experience form for key assessment.  



Final Exam

All course readings.

  • Complete Final Exam
  • Submit Course Evaluation

* Key Assessments:  Students enrolled in the Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degree program in Early Childhood Education must successfully complete one assignment in each class that is designed to demonstrate knowledge of the key competencies required of early childhood teachers. The key assessment for this course is the Interactive Read-Aloud. Students will submit the interactive read-aloud experience plan, video of their storytelling and reflection on the experience. For additional field experience hours, students will also submit an analysis of a child’s writing and then create an effective literacy environment in their classrooms that they will take pictures of and upload for grading onto Blackboard.

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COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.