Concept Maps in Early Childhood Literacy Classrooms
This paper explores the use of concept maps in early childhood literacy classroom, with particular emphasis on specific methods that teachers can apply. Concept maps--as visual organizers that can enrich students' understanding of a new concept-- are often used in middle schools, high schools, and universities. However, due to young children’s academic and cognitive level, concept mapping has a limited use in early childhood classrooms. Drawing on both theoretical and empirical research by scholars and practitioners, the paper discusses instructional strategies and challenges of using concept maps in early childhood classrooms. The paper summarizes research from cognitive theory, developmental psychology, and information processing theory to provide a theoretical framework for understanding how concept maps might be incorporated into a early childhood literacy curriculum. Then, by synthesizing the existing researches on concept mapping, the paper attempts to explore instructional strategies and challenges in teaching concept maps. Implications for further implement of concept maps are discussed in the end.