Staff Development: Implementing new early literacy teaching methods

Karen Peterson, Kindergarten Teacher, Blessed Trinity, 24 years

Each year Ms. Peterson looks forward to getting together with other kindergarten teachers from across the state at the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Conference. “I always come away from this conference with a new idea or tip to use in my classroom.” One such idea changed how she teaches. For the past three years, Ms. Peterson has been using Zoophonics with her students. It uses pictorial mnemonics (animal letters), body movements (kinesthetic mnemonic), and teaches through physical games and activities. Zoophonics makes an abstract skill like language, concrete and playful. Auditory acuity and phonemic and phonological awareness are important to early literacy. Young children become more engaged in these early literacy “building blocks” when word play is combined with physical movement and the use of other modalities. Ms. Peterson has been highly successful using Zoophonics in her class with all students, especially her English Language Learners.

Ms. Peterson’s attendance at the Minnesota Kindergarten Association Conference impacts her students every day. Gifts to the Annual Excellence fund support our teachers – not only paying their salary but also providing them opportunities to learn; opportunities that impact the learning of Blessed Trinity students each and every day.