The development of literacy is a pressing concern for government, business communities, general public and educational professionals. Children who experience literacy challenges are at high risk for school failure in their youth and chronic unemployment and poor health in adulthood. Language abilities in earlier childhood predict beginning literacy skills such as phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and concepts about print and reading achievement. Retrospective studies offer enough evidence of the importance of oral language skills in reading achievement. This paper tries to explain how language abilities and deficiencies impact literacy development
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Stone (2004) identified Oral language and phonological processing profiles of second grade readers as they were in kindergarten. The poor ones had three times phonological process weakness and up to four times oral language problem. This means that since they had poor language skills, they would not read well neither would their do any literacy work well given they had difficulties in their language development.
For literacy to be achieved, there are five ideas that are essential which include phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, accuracy and fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension (Alexander & Winne, 2006). All these ideas need language for them to be achieved. For a child to learn identification, isolation, and categorization of phoneme, there is need to develop language skills since they form an integral part in doing the same. The arithmetic principle deals with naming of letter of alphabets and supporting earlier understanding of alphabetic principles. In naming letter, a child has to use specific language to ensure he or she is talking about the right thing. Whichever language used is important and there is need to learn language before proceeding to knowing alphabets. This contributes to literacy and a kid who had poor language skills will encounter difficulties in the alphabetic principles. Another aspect of learning is related skills like visual memory, perception and songs to support learning. As a visual memory is stored in terms of pictures, language is needed to name the same for it to be stored and retrieved effectively. Nothing is stored without a name, and that has to involve language skills. Perception is what an individual thinks of when he or sees something. This has to be related to language and there is no way an individual can do that without the use of specific language. Songs that support learning are normally written and done in a specific language and children with poor language skills will have difficulties in using the songs.
It has been proved that children in the rural setups cannot compete effectively with their counterpart in the urban setup (Graham & Zweig, 2003). The major reason for the same is the language that they use in their daily lives. For those in the rural setups, they are normally adapted to rural and local language which is not necessarily used in their schools. This makes it difficult for them to understand what is being taught in school since they first have to learn the required language before going through the other literacy aspects. In this case, their counterparts find it easier to move up the literacy ladder due to the fact that their language skill is well developed.
To achieve some literary level among children, it is important to educate them using their first language. This will make them acquire the skills faster than when they would be taught on a foreign language. Alternatively, a lot of time needs to be set aside to develop language skills before going further with teaching other areas like arithmetic. This means there should be a systematic running process that ensures a student gets skills that will help him or her develop others.
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