Child Language Acquisition - the development of reading

Terminology and theorists that explain how children learn to read.

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Developing Reading
When does reading start?
Literacy differs from oracy in that reading and writing skills are explicitly taught to young
children, as an established part of formal schooling from age 4. However, children also
encounter the written word in other aspects of daily routines and cultural experiences,
outside of reading books.
All around are words and symbols to interpret, not always written in strings of words or in
the narrative structure of storybooks, e.g. "PUSH" and "PULL" on doors and company
names and logos on shop signs.
Children also absorb information from TV and computer sources, and these have
become part of the young learner's literacy environment.
Different types of reading books
Baby and toddler books aim to help with speech development by providing pictures for
children to label objects and package/network build.
They're often based around themes or topics using hypernyms (weather, clothes,
animals) to provide children with relevant hyponyms (rain, socks, dogs).
Nouns and adjectives are the most common word classes in early books, and they link
children's literacy experiences with the equivalent stage of speech acquisition, by giving
labels for objects.
Early storybooks are designed to be read to children, not by them and therefore they
contain complicated words and grammatical structures that children can understand,
even though they cannot read them or use them in their own speech.
Books for young children aim to be enjoyable and introduce children to stories and
storytelling, as well as often being instructional.
Children become independent readers around the age of 8.
Jerome Bruner's LASS (Language Acquisition Support System) Theory:
Adults encourage children's speech by using books to interact with babies and young
Bruner saw parentchild interactions with books as fourphased:
1. Gaining attention ­ getting the baby's attention on a picture
2. Query ­ Asking the baby what the object in the picture is
3. Label ­ Telling the baby what the object in the picture is
4. Feedback ­ Responding to the baby's utterance.
Children need to understand that written texts:
Reflect the relationship between written symbols (graphemes) and sounds (phonemes)
Have cohesion, with different parts interconnecting
Are organised in particular ways, with chapter headings, etc.
Differ in their organisation according to genre
Represent the original culture, following its rules and conventions
The `look and say' or wholeword approach to teaching children to read
Children learn the shape of words, not breaking them down phonologically. With the
`look and say' method, children learn to recognise whole words or sentences rather than
individual phonemes.

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Flashcards with individual words written on them are used for this method, often
accompanied with a related picture so that children can link the object and the referent.
Children learn the different sounds made by different letters and letter blends and some
rules of putting them together. Emphasis is on developing phonological awareness and
on hearing, differentiating and replicating sounds in spoken words.…read more

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Visual Looking at the pictures and using the visual narrative to interpret
unfamiliar words or ideas
Syntactic Applying knowledge of word order and word classes to work out if a
word seems right in the context
Contextual Searching for understanding in the situation of the story ­ comparing
it to their own experience or their pragmatic understanding of social
Miscue Making errors when reading: a child might miss a word or substitute
another that looks similar, or guess a word from accompanying
pictures.…read more

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Reading Schemes are deliberately staged in difficulty to help children acquire and extend
lexical and semantic knowledge, as well as developing grammatical understanding.
Familiarity is established through characterbased and narrative approaches, as the aim
is to build confidence through the stages.
Key features of reading schemes are:
Lexical repetition ­ especially the new lexis introduced in each book but also
proper nouns.
Syntactical repetition of structures ­ usually subjectverbobject order and
simple sentences containing one clause (in early books).…read more

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Good grief!" said the goose.
"Well, well!" said the pig.
"Who cares?" said the sheep.
"So what?" said the horse.
"What next?" said the cow.
Proverb or aphorism ­ This is a saying or a summary of some accepted
wisdom, e.g. `Never talk to strangers.'
Parallel sentences ­ This is similar to a balanced sentence except that here
there is some repetition of the syntax (grammatical structure) of the sentence, e.g.
"the pianist was annoyed. The bandleader was unhappy.…read more

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This is great! Thank you very much :-)


Perfect revision tool, helped me to fill some gaps I missed. Thank you so much. My entire class is focusing on spoken acquisition, so this has really helped me to consolidate my learning. 

Paul Dutton

A thorough and highly detailed revision guide packed with useful information about reading development.

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