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Alper (2011) discusses that the first five to six years of a childs life are the

most crucial years for literacy. She also goes on to say that play is the best way to
help a child develop literacy skills. Children play to understand a book by exploring
and acting out the key elements of the story to fully understand the text they have
just listened to (Alper, 2011). Also, by incorporating the arts into literacy, children
stay more engaged and will pick up on literacy skills naturally (Souto-Manning,
2008). Unfortunately early childhood has become more academic orientated than
play orientated. Kindergarten used to be focused on teaching literacy in a playful
way or during play and letting them experience that as they were developmentally
ready, but now since No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has come into play children and
teachers are being forced to eliminate play and center their classroom around direct
instruction and seat work. There was a study conducted where 500 Vermont
kindergarten teachers were surveyed and fewer that fourteen percent of them
believed students should be involved in formal reading instruction. They also
mentioned that using developmentally appropriate practices was a major challenge
because they didnt have the materials such as flip charts, big books, leveled
readers, etc. to do so (Gallant, 2009). I have previously learned that having children
learn to read before they are developmentally ready forces the brain to form false
connections and patterns throughout the brain which can permanently affect the
brain and learning. Yelland (n.d.) discusses the alphabet, phonological awareness,
letter sounds, print concepts, and experience using writing as a form of
communication is best developed during play and when children are interacting
with others and experimenting. Designing literacy activities around themes or
interests as well as knowing about emergent literacy and each childs needs will
ensure that the activities and processes are developmentally appropriate. She also

goes on to say that always providing literacy activities throughout centers and
throughout the day will teach children important literacy skills in a developmentally
appropriate way (Yelland, n.d.). Teachers find it very difficult to use developmentally
appropriate practices because of the demand of curriculum, standards, and
standardized tests. Many teachers are teaching as much information in as short of
time as they can, because often times their accreditation, jobs, and school funding
rely on passing scores on the standardized tests. Teachers also have very large
class sizes which makes it very hard to use individualization and developmentally
appropriate practices. Because of class sizes, teachers resort to large group work,
so they can reach as many students as possible at a time to meet all the
standards and objectives (Gallant, 2009).