Taking professionals and students step by step through conceptualizing, planning, and implementing an effective early literacy program, this book focuses on preventing reading difficulties and promoting success in at-risk 3- to 5-year-olds. The authors draw on extensive research and many years of influential work in real classrooms. A comprehensive framework is delineated for helping young children construct meaning from different kinds of texts, develop key oral language skills, and learn concepts about print and the alphabet. Ideas for tailoring instruction to the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners are accompanied by clear assessment guidelines. The book also offers practical, how-to-do-it suggestions for setting up literacy activities and arranging the classroom environment. Concluding chapters bring the authors' approach to life with vivid depictions of a preschool and a kindergarten classroom in action. Two invaluable appendices provide additional useful resources: reproducible sheets for conducting literacy assessments and a primer on phonics for teachers.