The PYP recognizes that language plays a key role in developing children’s social and thinking skills across all curriculum areas. The children learn language, learn about language and learn through language. Every day, children are engaged in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a meaningful context and for an authentic audience.

Throughout the Elementary School, teachers use FIRST STEPS language resources to support the planning, teaching and assessing of language. The language curriculum is organized under the following headings:

  • Reading and Writing
  • Listening and Speaking
  • Viewing and presenting

Children will learn to read through daily, meaningful engagements with texts. Through daily messages and big books, children learn about the relationships between letter symbols and the sounds they represent; they learn about print conventions such as punctuation and font choice; they begin to build a bank of sight words that they can read; they develop a set of strategies they can use to help them read texts. As they listen to books read aloud to them, they become familiar with some of the techniques that writers use to make their writing more effective. Through author studies, children begin to develop a bank of authors they know and like, and learn to compare author and illustrator styles. The Kindergarten classroom libraries contain books from a wide range of genre, organized into fiction and non-fiction sections.

In Kindergarten, the children will have opportunities to experiment with writing a wide range of texts, including personal greeting cards and notes, lists, rotas, schedules, requests, invitations, reflections, labels and signs, for a meaningful purpose and an authentic audience. Over the course of the year, the children will be introduced to narrative and personal recount text forms. Children will begin by listening to and analyzing personal recounts and narratives before experimenting with writing texts, first by co-authoring texts with an adult and then by writing their own texts. By reading and analyzing narratives and personal recounts, children learn to add details and choose words that will help their reader to get a clearer picture.

Children learn to spell as they read and write. We look at how letters can be put together to represent different sounds. Throughout the year, children work at their own levels, conducting group and personal inquiries into how spelling works.

Learning Language, Learning About Language And Learning Through Language on PhotoPeach


Today Aika brought a newspaper to school. She was excited and explained to everyone that it was her “first time to get a kid’s newspaper”. She showed some of her favourite pages. The children questioned Aika and made comments.

Jenny Look, there’s animals.
Lisa A newspaper is to tell all about everything that is going on in the world and about the weather.
Aika No, not weather. It’s not about weather. Because I know, because I saw(ed). Not weather.
Lisa That’s all right. Maybe only big kids have weather. Maybe when you are seven is weather. And grown–ups. Because my grandpa is reading about the weather.
Jenny A newspaper is non –fiction.
Aika But it can be a story too, because here, look, it’s a story. It’s for kids, that’s why it’s a story.
Jenny But my grandfather read about the Prime minister. It says about it in big writing at the top.
Lisa His name is Kan.
Jenny No, the England Prime minister.
Lisa Oh. Japan Prime minister’s name is Kan.
Eileen My grandma cut out picture –a giraffe. She gave to my mum and my mum gave to me.
Saku Look, Hiragna
Aika And Kanji
Tasha How do you know which is Kanji and which is Hiragana
Saku Look small one, letters, Hiragana. And big one Kanji.
Issey And Katakana

The children crowd around the newspaper to peer at the writing. Up till now the discussion has been in English. However, the language now switches to Japanese, as the children discuss ideas and exchange theories about the various Japanese writing systems. After a while, I intervene with a question, and the discussion reverts back to English

Tasha I wonder if newspapers are always written in Japanese?
Saku Japan, Japan.
Carl In Swedish sometimes. In Sweden.
Eileen In Ireland have English. I see it.
Paige In America newspapers are in English but once I saw one in New York, it was in Japanese but my mom couldn’t read it.
Jenny I read big people’s newspapers because I am interested in them.
Eileen Some newspaper getting dirty hands.
Anish Daddy because newspaper (Because Daddy reads the newspaper)

It’s time for the next lesson, so the discussion stops here. I am impressed with how much the children know about newspapers. I would like to follow up on their interest. I suggest to the children that we could collect some newspapers and compare them to see how they are different and how they are the same. I think aloud that it would be interesting to find out more about what newspapers are for. I look forward to seeing where the children take this next.

The next day Carl brings a newspaper to our morning meeting. The children crowd around to look. “Is it in Sweden?” someone asks? “Not Sweden, Swedish” someone else corrects. Carl explains that the paper is in English “because only Sweden newspaper in Sweden. Not here. My daddy read English newspaper here.”


The children seem fascinated, so I decide to deviate form my original plan, and go with the newspaper flow instead. Recently some children have shown an interest in double letters in spelling. I ask the children to work with a partner and ask them to look for double letters in the text. I hope that this will ecourage them to look carefully at the text. I am interested to see what other things they notice once they start looking carefully.



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