Award-Winning Author Discusses Early Childhood Literacy

OtoshiRasmussen College hosted an interview on May 2 with award-winning author and illustrator Kathryn Otoshi to bring attention to early childhood literacy. Otoshi’s book "One" was featured as part of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Week of the Young Child.

Otoshi and Rasmussen College’s Cece Westby discussed how to incorporate books and other activities into an early childhood education (ECE) curriculum, as well as how to best teach children about the themes of self-esteem and bullying presented in "One."

Ideas on using'One' in the classroom

Rasmussen College put together materials for kids that go along with the book, including colored sticks and feathers. “The idea is that we want to help young children create a self-portrait that represents who they are,” Westby says.

Educators have put together other ways to get kids more involved with the book, Otoshi said. These include skits, colorful art projects and role-playing.

Otoshi discussed how educators can use her illustrations to connect activities they may do with kids. “I really try to build layers into the book,” she says. “So [with] very young kids … you can just talk about the color wheel. I divided up the whole book so the primary colors have a primary role. Secondary colors have a secondary role.”

The role of parents in education

Teachers can only do so much—it’s up to parents to make sure lessons in "One" continue outside the classroom. After all, parents play an important role in a child’s education. So how can parents help?

"Our early childhood students are in a position where they’re very tightly connected to young children’s parents. Because of that, they become the connector between school and home.”

“It’s really about repetition,” Otoshi said. “We have a book and it’s being read, but beyond that it becomes about that vocabulary being used at the school, that same vocabulary being consistent in the home, and using it in a way where it becomes very comfortable so even young kids understand what it means to be kind or what responsibility is.”

So what does that mean for Rasmussen College students in the ECE program?

“Our early childhood students are in a position where they’re very tightly connected to young children’s parents,” Westby said. “Because of that, they become the connector between school and home.”

Overview of topics covered

Westby and Otoshi covered a wealth of other topics included in "One" and spoke about ECE in general. To learn more, watch the entire Google+ Hangout. If you don’t want to watch it in its entirety, here are some of the specific discussion points covered:

  • Otoshi’s background and upcoming books (2:00)
  • Primary motivation for "One" (5:24)
  • Takeaway Otoshi hopes kids get from "One" (8:10)
  • How book activities differ based on child’s age (13:50)
  • Otoshi’s message for ECE students (27:25)
  • Where to buy "One" (28:32)

Promoting literacy in the classroom is only a part of an educator’s ever-changing role. For resources to help you keep up with the ECE field, check out these ECE resources that can keep you up to date with the latest trends.

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She enjoys writing engaging content to help former, current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

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