Monday, April 27, 2009

Literacy-Enriched Play Settings

After reading Building a Foundation for Preschool Literacy by Carol Vukelich and James Christie, I've been thinking of ways to create what they call "literacy-enriched play settings". Simply put, these play settings provide materials for children to explore reading and writing while they play. While playing in a literacy-enriched play setting, children:
  • Learn why people read and write
  • Practice the conventions of reading and writing
  • See reading and writing as something they want to be able to do

I've made a few additions to our spring flower sensory tub and the girls are loving it! Next to the flower tub we now have a tub that holds a cash register, a wallet with pretend credit cards, two phones, a small notebook, a clipboard with plain paper, and a cup with pens and colored pencils.

To introduce the materials, I suggested to Julia that we set up a flower shop. While she was arranging some flowers I pretended to answer the phone and take an order from a customer. I asked the customer questions and wrote the order on a page in the notebook. Then Julia and I worked to fill the customer's order. Julia decided that I should pretend to be the customer and pick up the order. She rang up my order, swiped my card, and gave me a slip to sign my name. Soon Julia was answering her phone and writing down orders. In the picture above she is using the flower sign to help her spell "pink daisies". Another time I suggested that we make a sign for our flower shop and draw pictures of our arrangements to make advertisements. It only took a few suggestions and a little modeling from me for Julia to understand what to do.

Here Lauren is writing down an order. She doesn't write any letters yet but her writing is a series of lines that look similar to letters. By the way, what can be cuter than a little bumblebee working in a flower shop?

The girls will now play flower shop for over an hour! I spent about ten minutes to gather the materials for an activity that provides tons of fun and playful learning. By using this flower shop the girls:
  • Learn why people read and write- to remember a customer's order, to make a sign, to make an advertisement, to sign a credit card slip
  • Practice the conventions of reading and writing- write from left to right, use resources to help with spelling
  • See reading and writing as something they want to be able to do- for over an hour!!

I am so excited to try some more literacy-enriched play! I'm thinking we can try a restaurant, a pet groomer, a bakery, a pizza shop...


  1. Very sweet...I can see Meara doing this and having a blast! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this idea! will be taking this one too, thank you!

    I am so glad you are sharing all of these!