Child Language Acquisition - reading and writing

  • Created by: Aynish
  • Created on: 17-05-19 16:59

Nature of Early Reading Books

  • Early reading - see phoneme-grapheme correspondence = connection of sounds and their written symbols 
  • Shared experience with adults - makes it more enoyable 
  • Early books introduce key learning concepts - colours and numbers
  • Introduces language in an appealing way, to encourage them to explore language further

example: Peepo - by Janet and Allen Ahlberg 

  • the whole book charts a baby's typical day through the game 'Peepo' - often played with young children (Peek-a-boo)
  • the child can peep through a hole in each page to see the picture beyond 
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Jeanne Chall (1983) Stages of Reading

  • Pre-reading / Pseudo (up to age 6) 

- Read to by caregivers 

- May immitate reading = turning pages, pretending to read (recalling story from memory), can predict the next stage of the story or even some of the words

- May identify letters

  • Inital reading and deocding (age 6-7)

- Decode words = by blending sounds of a word together

- Understand basic texts 

- Identify/recognise familiar words and letters 

  • Confirmation and fluence (age 7-8)

- Faster process - deocde more readily and read with some fluency 

- Greater sense of texts

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Jeanne Chall (1983) Stages of Reading

  • Reading for learning (age 9-14)

- Reading a wider range of texts, to obtain facts 

- Scanning for relevance 

  • Multiple viewpoints (age 14-18)

- Recognise how meaning can be conveyed in different ways 

- More critical readers - recognising bias and inference 

  • Construction and reconstruction (18+)

- Read a range of sources and synthesise to develop own interpretations 

- Skim and Scan effectively 

- Recognise relevanve 

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Approaches in Learning

  • Look and Say: Identify familiar words as a whole and then attempt to read them accurately - teach the importance of meaning and context
  • Phonetic: Blending sounds together to decode words - teaches the symbol

- The phonetic approach has TWO types:

  • Synthetic Phonics: Teaches individual phonemes away from reading - then blend them together to produce a word
  • Analytical Phonics: Break the word into key sections = Onset and Rime

- Onset = Beginning of the word - normally one or two letters long

- Rime = Follows the onset - recognise patterns between key words and individual letters

Example: if a child recognises -b as an onset follwed by -ond as the rime, this forms bond; then they should also be able to now recognise words such as pond or fond

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Techniques depend on the age of the child...

  • Up to 5 - Caregivers read stories and nursey rhymes to children = to help them enjoy the physical experience of reading 
  • 5-6 - Caregivers/teachers get the child to break down words into phonemes and match sounds to letters
  • 6-7 - Classroom tasks = set - have children read aloud and encourage them to talk about what they have read
  • 7-8 - Introduction of different genres = non-fiction, conventions (letters, emails, news articles), and they discuss the different aspects of what they have just read
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Differences between Early and Later books

Early Reading Books - contain simple sentences with monosyllablic words (words with one syllable) and repeated sounds

- As a child becomes a confident reader, they will find more variety in the texts they read and will begin to explore coventions of non-fiction 

Later books for more confident readers will have:

  • repeated constructions 
  • images linking to the text 
  • smaller font
  • longer sentences 
  • mixture of mono and pollysyllabic words
  • wide range of syntactical constructions
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Jerome Bruner - Language Acquisition Support Syste

- Adults encourage children to speak by using books to interact with them

  • Gaining attention - getting the baby's attention on a picture
  • Query - Asking what the object in the picture is 
  • Label - Telling the baby what the object in the picture is 
  • Feedback - Responding to the child's utterance 

Bruner believed children learned by not being told how to do something, but by being helped to do it when they are reading 

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Uta Firth (1985) - Learning to Read

  • Stage 1 - Logographic = pronounce individual letters, linked with sounds. Child can only link words to one phoneme 
  • Stage 2 - Alphabetic = child is more comfortable with the alphabet and can combine graphemes to make longer phonemes e.g. -t and -h to make -th
  • Stage 3 - Orthographic = can recognise a string of graphemes without having to decode them. Greater phonological awareness, to recognise sound patterns 
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Fine Motor Skills

Carers actively encourage a tripod grip from early years when drawing and writing

= how pen/pencil is held - thumb, forefinger and middle finger - top end of pen/pencil should be pointing towards the shoulder

= easier controlled movements 

Young children tend to refine their motor developments from gross (larger movements) to fine  (precise movements) motor skills

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This is writing from left to right 

Books help develop this awareness of directionality 

Most early books contain images that encourage the reader to hold the book the right way up and recognise correctly aligned letters

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Pre-Phonemic Stages of Writing

  • Random Scribbling: Anywhere on the page - has no meaning 
  • Controlled Scribbling: Directionality - all going in one way 
  • Circular Scribbling: Cursive (Circles and Ovals) all joined together and connected 
  • Drawing: Use pictures to tell a story or convey a message  = recognisition that writing conveys a meaning 
  • Mock Letters: Directional, but no seperation, and no correlation to sounds or words
  • Seperated Words: Resembles real words but could it be imitation?
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Cathy Barclay (1996) Stages of Writing

  • Stage 1 - Scribbling: learning to hold pen/pencil, random marks on page
  • Stage 2 - Mock Handwriting: letter-like forms with pictures (pseudo writing)
  • Stage 3 - Mock Letters: random letters, no awareness of spacing or matching sounds with symbols
  • Stage 4 - Conventional Letters: matching wordss with sounds, start using inital consonants to represent words
  • Stage 5 - Invented Spelling: Phonetic Spelling 
  • Stage 6 - Appropriate Spelling: More complex sentences and awareness of spelling patterns. Writing becomes more elligible 
  • Stage 7 - Correct Spelling: Most words are spelled correctly and cursive handwriting is used
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Barry Kroll (1981) 4 Stages of Writing Devleopment

  • Prepatory (up to age 6): Deevlop motor skills and learn the basics of spelling system
  • Consolidation (6-8): Writing reflects spoken language, with the use of colloquialisms, short declaratives and simple conjuctions 
  • Differentiation (8-mid teens): There's an awareness of difference between written and spoken language. More confidence in grammatical structures and sentences become more complex, with sophisticated conjuctions used
  • Intergration (mid teens+): A 'personal voice' is developed and a writing style is adopted more confidently 
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Emergent Writing

A child will make signs on a page that intend to represent a particular word or series of word

They understand that writing occurs and try to become involved in this process without having the key skills and understanding 

Might include recognisable letters but they don't make sense when placed together, showing the child is just imitating this process

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Attitudes: Creative vs Rule Based Approach

Creative Approach: Believe that children should experiment with language without strict corrections. Trial and erro allows children to become more accomplished writers, as they will be less likey to make mistakes if the primary focus is not on accuracy

Rule Based Approach: When you understand conventions of writing (spelling, grammar and punctuation) the progress of writting is faster

Our current education system assesses our ability to write accurately and coherently, with consistent examanations throughout our school career 

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John Abbot (1999) - talking more generally of educ

He used the metaphor of 'battery hens or free range chickens' to describe different educational approaches to writing

He suggested that the free range chickens (the more creative and independent learners) might be the ones who thrive 

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Jean Rothery (1980s) 4 Categories in Early Writing

  • Observation/Comment: Simplest form of writing - a child observes something and then simply comments on it
  • Recount: Subjective and chronological - structure = Oreintation (sets scene), event, reoreintation (draws a conclusion)
  • Report: Objective and factual description 
  • Narrative: Hardest to achieve, involves:

- Oreintation = sets scene

- Complication = introduces issues

- Resolution = solves complication

- Code = reason for the story (moral)

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How may a teacher introduce different genres?

The teaching of writing styles might follow a pattern:


The teacher introduces students to a type of writing and together they identify generic features, before the students are enabled to work independently to produce their own writing in their genre

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James Britton (1975) 3 Types of Writing

Expressive: Develops first - starting point, undifferentiated expressions of self - first person. Enables them to explore their own identity and preferences through writing

- As writing skills develops, children can be placed into TWO categories:

Poetic: 'literacy' - encourages early writers to think about the craft of writing by including imagery and phonologically pleasing features like alliteration or rhyme 

Transaction: 'worldly' - writer seperates identity from writing; takes an impersonal tone and becomes far removed from expressive writing

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Vygotsky - Social Interaction Theory - Teachers

Teachers can provide scaffolding and assist the children along with their developments by providing: 

  • sentence starters
  • writing guides or templates
  • targets e.g. start a sentence with an adverb, or use sophisticated connectives
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Spelling Stages

  • Pre-phonemic: Scribbling with some decipherable letters, immating writing
  • Semi-phonetic: Linking letters and sounds 
  • Phonetic: Understands all phonemes can be represented by graphemes; words are more complete
  • Transitional: Combines phonic knowledge with visual memory. More awareness of diagraphs and double letter patterns like 'Magic E' rule (child notices adding an 'e' on the end lengthens vowel sounds 'Pip' - 'Pipe' = 'i' goes from a short to long vowel)
  • Conventional: Spelling is mostly correct
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Children are encouraged to develop a cursive script after practice of the inital aquisition of print handwriting, as you don't lift the pen of the page, so you have a quicker speed of writing

A popular mid-point is casual cursive - a combination of letters join and the pen lifts of the page 

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Richard Gentry (1982) - Stages of Spelling

Precommunicative stage: Use symbols from alphabet but no knowledge of letter-sound correspondences, no understanding of upper and lower case or directionality

Semiphonetic stage: Understand letter-sound correspondence; employs rudimentary logic using single letters torepresent words, sounds, and syllables (e.g., U for you)

Phonetic stage: Uses a letter or group of letters to represent sounds that they hear in a word, sometimes vowels may be omitted when not heard 

Transitional stage: Moves from  phonology for representing words to  visual representation and an understanding of the structure of words; child may include all letters of a word but may reverse some e.g. 'only' - 'olny'

Correct stage: Knows the spelling system and prefixes and suffixes, silent consonants, alternative spellings, and irregular spellings The child's generalizations about spelling and knowledge of exceptions are usually correct

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Common Errors in Early Spelling

  • Phonetic spelling - How you speak
  • Undergeneralisation - Not adding spelling rules when needed
  • Overgeneralisation - Adding spelling rules when not needed
  • Omission - Missing letters
  • Insertion - Adding letters
  • Substitution - Letters in a word are replaced - phonetic
  • Transposition - Pair of letters are switched 'only' - 'olny'
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Strategies for Spelling - Patterns

- As a child's writing progresses, one strategy for developing spellings is to recognise patterns within words 

Example: In reception, a child might learn vowels diagraphs (cluster of 2 letters that represent 1 sound i.e "ch") - from this they may use clustering for all words that appear this way 

e.g. oo (/u/) - book, took, foot, wood

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