Education: Language Abilities and Literacy Development
Language ability is vitally linked to literacy development. In fact, an effective approach to literacy development is its treatment as a "processing of written language." As the eleven key areas for effective reading show, the varying language abilities of children must be analyzed and addressed to fashion a literacy program enhancing their abilities in those areas.
Literacy development is linked to a number of human abilities and external forces. The influence of these factors is most often determined through their negative impacts on literacy. Some of those factors include: physical impairments such as hearing deficiencies, vision deficiencies or other impairments; external causes such as minimal or no exposure to written sources, oral stories or language beyond television, the child's lack of attention to accessible language or written sources (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 32), inadequate preschool opportunities or instruction in literacy, and/or incompatibility between the child's development and opportunities provided by home and school (Netten, Droop, & Verhoeven, 2011, p. 414). Nevertheless, an educator is faced with providing adequate literacy development for children of varying abilities, in areas including but not limited to language.
One effective approach to dealing with literacy development is to treat it as the "processing of written language" and treat language as the child's most important resource, acquired through his/her interactions with his/her family, friends and community at large (Netten, Droop, & Verhoeven, 2011, p. 414; Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 32). Examining the aspects of this important resource of language -- any language - experts find that it consists of: a meaning system with ideas, labels and...
1225; Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 32). Though written language differs from oral language in certain ways, the more facile a child is with oral language, the easier reading will be for the child. Oral language abilities help or hinder literacy development because: his/her abilities with syntax help the child anticipate words and reduce incorrect alternative words; his/her knowledge of syntax helps the child understand that the words "sound right"; his/her knowledge of meaning helps the child know whether the words make sense; his/her knowledge of phonology will help the child recognize sounds and connect them with the written letters; his/her vocabulary will help him/her decipher written words (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 34). Areas of literacy difficulty specifically connected to language are found in the areas of language processing and phonological processing. "Language processing" is the capability of using the systems of language while reading. Those systems are meaning, syntax, and phonology, all of which rely on rules (Conrad, Harris, & Williams, 2013, p. 1225; Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 33). "Phonological processing" is the awareness of speech consisting of sounds, the capability of identifying, isolating and manipulating sounds into spoken words (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 33). When a child has lesser abilities or disabilities in any of these areas, he/she requires additional help to enrich and supplement the child's abilities.
Though different specific systems exist, effective reading consists of eleven abilities, discussed here in no particular order of importance. First, the reader should be able to decipher words through the use of phonology, perception, syntax, vocabulary, memory an experience (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 41), and an example of difficulty in this area is the child's inability to link sounds and letters. Secondly, the reader should readily monitor and correct his/her reading to ensure that it is sensible, sounds correct and looks correct (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 41), and an example of difficulty in this area is a child who simply reads words and keeps going without a sensible sounding sentence. Third, the reader should be able to summarize whatever he/she has read (Fountas & Pinnell, When Readers Struggle: Teaching That Works, 2009, p. 41), and an example of difficulty in this area is…
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