Children's language development

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Approaches to teaching a child how to read

  • Phonics approach 
    Children are taught to sound out words.
  • 'Look and say' approach
    Children are taught to learn whole words by recognising them through sight. 
  • Psycholinguistics approach
    The reader has to work out the meaning of a word for themselves rather than being told it. 

Spelling patterns 

  • Overgeneralisation 
    Applying a rule to other words eg nessessary; hows 
  • Homophones
    Words that sound the same but have different meanings eg where/wear

  • Phonetic spellingWhen the child spells a word how it is spoken eg purfikt (perfect)
  • Transposition/transliterationMixing letters up, most likely 'b' and 'd' eg somedody
  • Elision 
    Missing out letters eg lisning 
  • Uncertainty over prefixes/suffixes eg peacefull, lovley, makeing
  • Inversion
    Mixing up letters that are next to each other in the word eg beleive 
  • Salient sounds
    Only writing the key phonemes eg ct (cat)

Gentry's 5 spelling stages 

  • Precommunicative 
    Children begin to understand that symbols on a page mean something. They may use invented symbols representing what the child thinks of as words, but with no knowledge of ow letters represent sounds.
  • Semi-phoneticChildren understand that letters have sounds and they begin to learn the correspondence between phonemes and graphemes. They often abbreviate words and sometimes write only the initial letter. 
  • Phonetic
    Spelling tends to mirror sound. The child's writing is easier to interpret as word spacing is observed, words and lines go generally in the right direction and there tends to be a fairly good link between letter and sound. 
  • Transitional
    The child follows the basic accepted patterns of English spelling. Vowels are used in every syllable and the writer can make a good attempt to recall words and spell new ones. 
  • Correct
    The child has a basic knowledge of the English spelling system and word structure. 

Barclay's 7 stages of writing development

  • Scribbling
    Kids make random marks on the page which aren't related to letters or words. 
  • Mock handwriting
    Kids draw


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