This practical guide considers the research evidence that is needed to inform enlightened practice, and offers concrete suggestions and teaching approaches for early years settings and classrooms. This comprehensive book shows the ‘what,’ the ‘how,℉ and the ‘why’ of innovative, creative practice for teaching language and literacy. The author clearly examines how young children learn to use both spoken and written language, and shows how to assess, plan and teach for the effective learning of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Each chapter includes case studies, learning and teaching suggestions, and further reading.

Learning to Communicate and to Think

Learning to communicate and to think

Language is the most powerful tool in the development of any human being. It is undeniably the greatest asset we possess. A good grasp of language is synonymous with a sound ability to think. In other words language and thought are inseparable.

(Vygotsky, 1986:120)

The pattern is familiar: cries evolve to babbles, babbles are shaped into words, and words are joined into sentences. This sequence describes the path taken by all children as the language they hear around them is examined, internalized, and eventually developed into native-speaker competence.

(Bialystok, 2001: 21)


For the most part, we take our own language powers for granted. We treat the ability to speak, to listen and understand, to read and write as ...

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