A bachelor's degree in early childhood education provides the training necessary to become a teacher at the preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary level. The balanced literacy focus refers to an approach to teaching reading that combines a traditional phonetic approach with the emerging whole language methodology, using gradual and contextual exposure to words and letters. Prospective students should hold a high school diploma or equivalent to be considered.
Balanced Literary Focus in an Early Childhood Education Program
Early childhood education programs explore child development, as well as various educational theories, approaches, and teaching methods. A high school diploma or its equivalent is necessary for admission to an early childhood education program. High school coursework in English, psychology, and sociology are beneficial. Balanced literacy is usually discussed in courses dealing with reading, such as:
- Language and literacy development
- Literacy strategies and acquisition
- Children's literature
- Curriculum development
- Acquisition and instruction of reading
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for teachers at the kindergarten and elementary level is expected to grow at an average rate of 6% during the period from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the BLS reported that kindergarten teachers earned a median salary of $51,640 and elementary teachers earned a median wage of $54,890.
Certification and Continuing Education
Early childhood teachers with an interest in the balanced literacy focus might consider pursuing a graduate certificate program in reading or literacy that provides further in-depth exploration of the balanced literacy approach. Teachers can also seek voluntary board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards as a literacy and reading specialist for early and middle childhood.
For students looking to study an early education degree program that has a balanced literacy focus, bachelor's levels are available. Courses typically focuses on reading and cover areas such as language and literacy development and children's literature.