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.

Developing an Understanding of Written Language

Developing an understanding of written language

There has been great interest in recent years in children as cognitive beings, children who selectively attend to aspects of their environments – seeing, searching, remembering, monitoring, correcting, validating and problem-solving – activities which build cognitive competencies … Because of what we now know about oral language acquisition we have to accept that children can be active constructors of their own language competencies. Too often we adopt teaching strategies which proceed as if this were not true.

(Clay, 1991:61)


In this chapter we consider the links between oracy and literacy and the similarities between the ways that children learn both language modes. Research interest, as Clay points out in the above quotation, has moved to focus ...

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