English Language AQA A2: Child language acquisition of READING

Sorry order is a bit weird, website wont cooperate

  • Created by: mvolpe
  • Created on: 17-01-16 13:18


Zone of Proximal Development

Vygotsky theorised that cognitive development comes from problem solving experiences that are shared with peers.
Basically, one learns to do hard tasks by working collaboratively with people more advanced than them. 
He also said that the difference between the 'actual development level' (what you are capable of alone now) and the 'level of potential development' (what you could be capable of doing on your own with practice) is called the Zone of Proximal Development. To move objects into your ZPD, you must have someone simplify or explain the concept for you, which is called 'scaffolding'. Then with practice and guidance from someone more skilled, you are able to master the task and your actual development level is increased.
This is applicable in the context of CLA because teachers and caregivers move slightly more complex linguistic concepts into the child's ZPD by scaffolding. For example, child struggles to pronounce multisyllabic word with digraphs and trigraphs, so caregiver breaks down word into phonics (scaffolding), which moves the word into the child's ZPD.

1 of 11


Cues are hidden prompts in text that kids use to grasp new spellings and structures that writers build in to aid understanding. A child's response to a cue can show what kind of cue it is, or simply by analysing the text, locating unfamiliar words, and working out how the author has attempted to make it more accessible
looking at shapes of words and linking them to familiar words to interpret
using the meaning of words and making connections between words in order to decode new ones
looking at pictures and using the visual narrative to guess unfamiliar ideas or words
understanding the sentence construction and being able to guess the correct word next in the sentence
using situation in story and comparing it to their own experience of pragmatics and social convention
A MISCUE is an error made by a child while reading, where they miss a word or attempt to substitute a similar one 

2 of 11


Jeane Chall theorised of the stages of reading development, splitting it into six stages (bear in mind the ages attached are estimations of averages, not definitive guides eg a child at age 5 could be at stage 1)

0 - Pre-reading/psuedoreading
Pretending to read books, turning pages, recognising letters in own name
Ages up to 6

1 - Initial reading + decoding
Reading simple texts with high freq. lexis, understanding approx 600 words
Ages 6-7

2 - Confirmation + fluency
Reading texts more quickly + accurately, paying attention to semantics more, understanding approx 3000 words
Ages 7-8

3 of 11


B F Skinner was more of a psychologist, but his theories apply. 

He theorised that children learn language by assosciating words with meanings, and when they got it right, they were Positively Reinforced by a congratulatory statement from a caregiver. This positive reinforcement is an incentive to try harder and remember what gave them that positive reinforcement. When you see a child being congratulated, think Skinner.
This theory overlaps somewhat with Bruner, but Bruner doesnt mention positive reinforcement, and theyre both equally valid

4 of 11


3 - Reading for learning
Reading for knowledge and information
Ages 9-14

4 - Multiplicity + complexity
Responding critically and analysing 
Ages 14-17

5 - Construction + reconstruction
Reading selectively and forming opinions
Ages 18+ 

Using Chall's stages in a transcript shows AO2 understanding, and that you as the student are able to grasp the relative development of the child. You can then apply this information to exisiting theories later. It generally serves as a guide to you.

5 of 11

PHONICS ii - synthetic and analytic methods

children learn to recognise and memorise 44 phonemes and their related graphemes (eg 'ng' digraph makes 'ŋ' sound) and are taught to sound out each phoneme, then blend together to make the full word.
s - w - ee - p = sweep
Kids memorise about 5 - 6 sounds a week, and it is mainly taught through multisensory methods such as the kids reading the phoneme, listening to the sound, assemble the sound with little magnetic letters etc.
kids learn to break down whole words into phonemes and graphemes, then look for patterns in visual or phonetic appearance. This is sort of the opposite of synthetic phonics, where the kid starts with the phonemes and builds a word, because with analytics the word is taken in its entirety first then broken down into parts the kid recognises. 
Words broken down into onset (phoneme at the beginning of the word) and the rime (rest of the word beginning with a vowel). To be really fancy, the rime can be broken down further into the nucleus (the core vowel sound of the same syllable) and the coda (the following consonants of the same syllable).
However, the phonics method of teaching uses the term rime as simply the second half of the word, whereas in a syllabic approach it means second half of the syllable. To avoid confusion, stick to single syllable words when breaking down further.
This approach allows kids to recognise onset and rime, then vary the onset to learn new words. Eg kid learns word 'grow', and by changing the onset it becomes 'throw', 'mow', 'blow' etc,

6 of 11


another pair that split reading down into stages

1) sight vocab/whole word stage
child recognises word as a whole, and is not aware of any kind of phonetic structure or link between graphemes and phonemes
2) discrimination net stage
more alert to visual structure of word, when presented with unfamiliar word theyre likely to base decoding on similarities to known words as a whole
3) phonological recoding stage
extensive use of letter-sound correspondences and 'sounding out' words. All readers go through this stage, regardless of which phonics method they learnt
4) orthographic stage
words recognised by spelling rather than sound, reading at this stage is much faster and less complicated than sounding out. Necessary to distinguish between pairs such as 'pint' and 'mint', which have a similar spelling and would confuse most unexperienced readers. 

note: discrimination net stage is about mistakes made, whereas orthographic stage is about accurate and complete handling

7 of 11


CLA at young age is guided by PARENT/CAREGIVER. If a transcript appears with caregiver and child interacting, 99% guarantee you can talk about Bruner

Theorised of a LASS (which is just mocking Chomsky's LAD), standing for Language Acquisition Support System, which is simply the parent guiding the attempts at reading of the child

At young ages this happens in 4 steps 

  • gaining attention of child ("look at this here [points at page with drawing of lion]")
  • query ("whats this? do you know what this is?")
  • label ("this is a LION")
  • feedback ("you see there? very good")

similar theories drawn from CLA - Speech of Bruner's can sometimes be applicable, such as the use of Child Directed Speech, and children clearly enjoying/benefiting from interaction with the caregiver.

8 of 11

READING SCHEMES i - key features

Reading schemes are deliberately staged in difficulty to build children's skills gradually.
Key features are:

LEXICAL REPETITION: mainly proper nouns, especially new lexis introduced in each book
SYNTACTICAL REPETITION OF STRUCTURES: usually SVO and simple sentences containing one clause
SIMPLE VERBS: single verbs used over verb phrases
ONE SENTENCE PER LINE: children normally pause when shifting down a line, so there are few occurrences of sentences being split over two lines
ANAPHORIC REFERENCING: pronouns (he/she/them) instead of proper nouns
LIMITED USE OF MODIFIERS: text is kept simple and clean to aid understanding of plot, too many modifiers can cause distraction
TEXT/IMAGE COHESION: picture tells story of text on page, works as a visual cue

9 of 11

READING SCHEMES ii - what to look for

reading schemes can be approached in a formulaic manner by looking at key aspects. This reveals information like level of difficulty, and purpose of the reading scheme.

GRAPHOLOGY: page layout, type font and size, amount of white space (more white space focuses young children's attention on the images. Also serves to separate out text and images into two distinct sections, which can be assessed by the reader one at a time), pictures, etc
LEXIS/MORPHOLOGY:  average word length, ease of spellings (phonetic/non phonetic), vocab familiar to kids etc
SEMANTICS: concrete nouns, abstract nouns, pictures to aid context
SENTENCES/SYNTAX: average sentence length, number of simple sentences, active/passive voice, closeness of subject to verb, etc
PHONOLOGY: alliteration, assonance, sibilance, (<=  these three aid memory and are 'phonetically pleasing') onomatopoeia

10 of 11

PHONICS i - adv and disadv

Advantages of phonics

  • systematic approach breeds confidence in kids by giving them a tool to combat difficult words
  • helps with spelling by learning graphemes before phonemes
  • breaks complicated process of reading down into easily digestible chunks

Disadvantages of phonics

  • fails with non-phonetic words, eg ocean, sugar
  • doesnt actually promote comprehension of words, just their sound
11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Language resources:

See all English Language resources »See all Child language acquisition resources »