Developing Reading

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S.B Heath

In 1980 Heath studied three different American communities' use of both spoken language and writing/reading practices within the home. Comparing two working-class areas - one predominately black, the other white - with a middle-class suburb, she found that early school literacy experiences reflected middle-class values, with activities based around shared books/reading and creative writing.

The other communities' cultural activities were more oral. Storytelling, singing and rhymes were part of daily experiences. Actions, gestures and visual images played a more active part, perhaps resulting from community gatherings. She argued that, because early literary is shaped by the community an the home, schools should recognise children's literacy experiences instead of imposing their own.

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Jerome Bruner (LASS)

The Language Acquisition Support System (LASS) theory explains how adults encourage children's speech by using books to interact with babies and young children.

He saw parent-child interactions with books as four phased:

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 the the baby's utteranceLanguage

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Lev Vygotsky

He believed that children learn not by being told how to do something but by being helped to do it when they are ready - and part of the 'scaffolding' process. Both Bruner and Vygotsky see children as active learners and believe that the social contexts of their experiences are very important.

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B.F Skinner

His view that learning takes place through positive reinforcement is perhaps evident in the way parents and teachers correct children's reading. 

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Types of reading cues

Graphophonic: looking at the shape of words, linking these to familiar graphemes/words to interpret them

Semantic: understanding the meanings of words and making connections between words in order to decode new ones

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 experiences of their pragmatic understanding of social conventions

Miscue: making errors when reading: a child might miss a word or substitute another that looks similar, or guess a word from accompanying pictures

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Chall's stages of children's reading development

0: Pre reading and pseudo-reading: 'Pretend' reading (turning pages and repeating stories perhaps previously read to them) Some letter and word recognition, especially letter in their own name. Predicting single words or the next stage of a story. - up to 6 years old

1: Initial reading a decoding: Reading simple texts containing high-frequency lexis (this happens when children start to learn the relationship between phonemes and graphemes) Estimated 600 words understood. - 6-7 years old

2: Confirmation and fluency: Reading texts more quickly, accurately and fluently, paying more attention to the meanings of words and texts. Estimated 3,000 words understood. - 7-8 years old

3: Reading for learning: Reading for knowledge and information becomes the motivation. - 9-14 years old

4: Multiplicity and complexity: Responding critically to what they read and analysing texts. - 14-17 years old

4: Construction and reconstruction: Reading selectively and forming opinions about what they have read - 18+ years

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