Foundations of Early Literacy Cover

Foundations of Early Literacy

A balanced approach to language, listening and literacy skills in the early years

The aim of Foundations of Early Literacy is to provide advice about the foundations of early literacy that is easily accessible, based on best practice, and - above all - fun. Each chapter therefore consists of both research-based pages and practical pages. The soundest foundations for early literacy are an active, play-based curriculum, an emphasis on oral learning, and plenty of time for music, movement, song and stories.

This book was devised to place language, listening and literacy within the wider context of children's overall physical and mental growth - recognising the overlap between all areas of early learning and development. Focus areas are:

* Learning to listen
* Time to talk
* Music, movement and memory
* Storytime
* Learning about print
* Tuning into sound
* Moving into writing

Ages: 3-6 | Pages: 136 | Code: TS0101 | ISBN: 9781921613999

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Picture of Ros Bayley

Ros Bayley

Following an extensive career as an early years educator, Ros Bayley became well-known as an early years consultant, trainer and storyteller. Throughout her career she devoted much time to developing children's creativity and imagination through story, puppetry, music, dance and dramatic play, and shared her strategies both nationally and internationally. She also had a passionate interest in the development of early literacy. Ros’s tragically early death in 2012 deprived us all of a great teacher and advocate of young children’s right to play.

Picture of Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban was the Foundation Mooroolbeek Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and in 2021, she was awarded an Honorary University Fellowship by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Her past research has focused on language and literacy development, teacher change and development, curriculum and assessment for the early childhood years and quality provision. She was the first Professor of Early Childhood Education in Victoria and the second in Australia, and before this she was Professor of Primary Education (Early Years) at the University of Warwick and President of the UK Reading Association.



Sue Palmer

Sue Palmer, a former primary principal, has written more than 200 books and educational television programs on aspects of literacy and acted as a literacy consultant. Research for her books on child development in the modern world (Toxic Childhood, Detoxing Childhood, 21st Century Boys and 21st Century Girls), led to a profound interest in the significance of play in children’s learning, and collaboration with Ros Bayley on the Foundations of Literacy project. She lives in Scotland, where she is currently a member of the Scottish government’s Early Years Task Force.


Chapter 1: Strong foundations7
The foundations of early literacy8
Fitting it in11
Creating the culture14
Smooth transitions16
Questions to think about18
Chapter 2: Learning to listen19
Discrimination of sounds20
Social listening22
Developing aural attention span24
Developing auditory memory27
Supporting children’s listening30
Chapter 3: Time to talk31
Compensating for language delay32
Talk during child-initiated learning34
Vocabulary development37
Repetition and innovation40
Developing expressive language43
Social language abilities46
Supporting talk during imaginative play48
Chapter 4: Music, movement and memory49
Steady beat, rhythm and rhyme50
Articulation and song52
Music and auditory memory54
Gross motor movements56
A musical setting58
Chapter 5: Storytime!59
Storytelling: developing listening abilities60
Storytelling: developing speaking abilities63
Reading aloud – five a day!65
Developing imaginative engagement67
Nurturing children’s imaginations68
Chapter 6: Learning about print71
Awareness of print72
Concepts about print74
Supporting children’s involvement with print77
Alphabet knowledge80
Chapter 7: Tuning into sound71
Awareness of rhyme and rhythm83
Sounds of language86
Sound–symbol associations88
Supporting understanding of the sounds of language90
Chapter 8: Moving into writing91
Handwriting movements93
Pencil control97
Shared writing100
Supporting early writing103
1. Language development104
2. PREPARE chart105
3. Stages in early writing106
4. Left-handed children107
5. Australian National Curriculum – English: Foundation Year108
6. Handwriting110
References and further reading111
Recommended resources112