Research shows that literacy—the ability to listen, speak, read, and write - begins developing long before children enter elementary school. This book helps early childhood educators nurture that development. It begins with an argument for offering children literacy-rich activities and creating an environment for carrying out those activities. It then focuses on enjoyable and effective ways to build essential skills, such as oral language and phonemic awareness, and create dramatic play areas, book nooks, writing centers, and other literacy-rich spaces. Includes photographs, student work, and straight talk about kids and learning, Literacy and the Youngest Learner is destined to become a classic.