Language & Literacy Learning Communities

Early childhood teachers can play a crucial role in fostering young children’s emerging literacy and language skills and setting them up to be successful readers and writers. But many early childhood professionals lack formal education in child development and approaches to early literacy.


Modeled after ZERO TO THREE’s “Cradling Literacy: Building Teachers’ Skills to Nurture Early Language and Literacy from Birth to Five” curriculum, Southwest Human Development’s Literacy Communities are offered to family child care homes and child care centers.


Participants receive a total of 20 hours of professional development in the following focus areas: brain development, story telling, the importance of cultural influences on language and literacy, importance of supporting early language and literacy development through strong teacher-child relationships, the linkage between observation, assessment and literacy curriculum, as well as social and emotional development. An additional 16 hours of individualized technical assistance will be provided to each participating site to help apply the concepts learned in the training in their classrooms.


The curriculum consists of four modules broken into 12 training sessions that are designed to help early childhood teachers understand and promote early language and literacy in young children from birth to 5 years old:


    • Module 1: “A Framework for Early Language and Literacy”

      Covers the importance of stories in early learning and development, and how stories (oral and written) help to nurture and support early literacy and language.


    • Module 2: “Understanding Early Language and Literacy in Young Children”

      Provides an overview of early language and literacy development and how young children acquire these skills.


    • Module 3: “Emergent Literacy Curriculum Building”

      Focuses on the fact that children learn best when they are engaged in meaningful experiences, and how it is essential to understand what experiences are meaningful to a child in order to motivate them to learn.


    • Module 4: “Social-Emotional Literacy”

      Covers the importance of providing young children with opportunities that increase feeling word vocabulary, expand their ability to understand the emotions that they are feeling, and teach them how to express their feelings in a variety of situations.


Throughout all four modules, the participants engage in group discussions and watch a series of vignettes that reflect appropriate teacher-child interactions related to the topics discussed.


For more information about our Literacy Communities, please contact Meghan Storms at (602) 633-8748 or

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