Chapter 7
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Chapter 7. Preschool: Building Literacy upon Language. Focus Questions. This chapter is designed to address the following questions: What major language development milestones occur in the preschool period?

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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

Chapter 7

Preschool: Building Literacy upon Language

Focus questions

Focus Questions

This chapter is designed to address the following questions:

  • What major language development milestones occur in the preschool period?

  • What major achievements in language content, form, and use characterize the preschool period?

  • What factors influence preschoolers’ individual achievements in language?

  • How do researchers and clinicians measure language development in the preschool period?



  • Preschool period: two years prior to a child’s entry into elementary school

    ~ 3 and 5 years of age for children in the U.S.

  • “Firsts:”

    • _____________________________________ _____________________________________

    • Gain important abilities in ________________; transition to comprehension and expressing language in multiple modalities, oral and written

    • ______________________________________ ______________________________________

What major language development milestones occur in the preschool period

What Major Language Development Milestones Occur in the Preschool Period?

  • ________________________________ ________________________________.

  • Acquisition of ______________ language

  • Exposure to language in the __________ __________ and acquisition of important emergent ____________

    • Crowning achievement of the preschool period

Decontextualized language

Decontextualized Language

  • Incorporate decontextualized language in conversations in addition to contextualizedlanguage

  • Contextualized language: __________ __________________________________

    • Relies upon ___________________ that a speaker and a listener share, and upon gestures, intonation, and ___________________ situational cues

Decontextualized language cont

Decontextualized Language, cont

  • Decontextualized language: relies heavily upon ___________________ in construction of meaning

    • May not contain _____________ and does not assume that a speaker and listener share background knowledge or context as is the case for contextualized language

    • Cannot rely on the _______________________ to help communicate to the listener

    • Use highly precise ________________________ to represent events that are beyond the here and now

    • Fundamental to ________________

Emergent literacy

Emergent Literacy

  • Emergent literacy: _______________ ________________________________

  • Children’s literacy abilities depend upon the _______________ skills they began to acquire in infancy and toddlerhood

    • Need well-developed ___________________ before they are able to make sense of the grapheme (letter) to phoneme (sound) correspondences and need well-developed vocabulary to derive meaning from text

Emergent literacy cont

Emergent Literacy, cont

  • Metalinguistic ability: _____________ _______________________________

    • Correlates with children’s success with ___________________ instruction, both of which depend upon the ability to focus on language as an object of attention

Emergent literacy cont1

Emergent Literacy, cont

  • 3 important achievements in emergent literacy for preschoolers:

    • Alphabet knowledge: ____________________ __________________________________

    • Print awareness: ______________________ ____________________________________

    • Phonological awareness: _________________ ____________________________________ ____________________________________

Alphabet knowledge

Alphabet Knowledge

  • _____________________________ _____________________________ _____________________________ __________________________

Alphabet knowledge cont

Alphabet Knowledge, cont

  • 4 complementary hypotheses that characterize the order by which preschool children learn the names of individual alphabet letters:

    • Own-name advantage: __________________ _____________________________________

    • Letter-name pronunciation effect: _________ _____________________________________ _____________________________________

Alphabet knowledge cont1

Alphabet Knowledge, cont

  • Letter-order hypothesis: letters occurring _______ in the alphabet string are learned before letters occurring _____ in the alphabet string

  • Consonant-order hypothesis: letters for which corresponding _____________ _________ are learned early in development are learned earlier than letters for which corresponding consonant phonemes are learned _______

Print awareness

Print Awareness

  • Achievements that children generally acquire along a developmental continuum

    • Print interest: ________________________

      • Recognize that print exists in the environment and in books

    • Print functions: _________________________ ______________________________________

    • Print conventions: _______________________ ______________________________________

    • Print forms: ____________– words and letters

    • Print part-to-whole relationships: __________ _______________________

Print awareness cont

Print Awareness, cont

  • Children’s oral language abilities and the interactions they have with print exert influences on how they develop ___________________

    • Adult references to print during book reading sessions

Phonological awareness

Phonological Awareness

  • Sensitivity to the sound structures of words

    • Emerges incrementally, beginning at _______ of age,

  • “Shallow” level: implicit and rudimentary sensitivity to large units of sound structure

    • __________________________________

    • __________________________________

    • __________________________________

    • __________________________________ __________________________________

    • __________________________________

Phonological awareness cont

Phonological Awareness, cont

  • “Deep” level: explicit and analytical knowledge of even smaller phonological segments of speech

    • ______________________________

    • ______________________________ ______________________________

    • ______________________________ ______________________

Achievements in content

Achievements in Content

  • Learn an average of 13,000 words by the time they enter ____________

  • Fast mapping: ____________________

  • Knowledge of semantics and syntax: _____ ___________________

  • Learn new words through shared ________ ____________

  • New language content: _______________ ____________________

Fast mapping as a means to acquire new words

Fast Mapping as a Means to Acquire New Words

  • Fast mapping: acquire a general representation of a new word with as little as a single exposure

  • Slow mapping: refine representations over time with multiple exposures to a word in varying contexts

  • Dale’s 4-stage vocabulary knowledge development:

    • Stage 1: ___________________

    • Stage 2: ___________________

    • Stage 3: ___________________

    • Stage 4: ___________________

Using knowledge of semantics and syntax to infer the meanings of new words

Using Knowledge of Semantics and Syntax to Infer the Meanings of New Words

  • __________ object names on the basis of information about other objects, but shift to weigh an object’s function more heavily than its perceptual appearance

  • Use knowledge about objects’ _______ when inferring the meaning of new words

Using knowledge of semantics and syntax to infer the meaning of new words cont

Using Knowledge of Semantics and Syntax to Infer the Meaning of New Words Cont.

  • Select animate objects as referents for _____ ______________ and inanimate objects as the referents for ____________

  • Recruit ____________ that signal a novel word’s form class (e.g., noun, verb, adjective) to narrow the possibilities for that word’s referent

Shared storybook reading as a means to acquire new words

Shared Storybook Reading as a Means to Acquire New Words

  • Maternal language in storybook reading activities contains a more diverse array of _________________________ and tends to have a higher level of ___________ than in other language contexts, including play

  • Frequency with which parents and children engage in book reading interactions and the quality of the language children hear as they engage in storybook reading interactions may impact ________________

New language content deictic terms

New Language Content: Deictic Terms

  • Deictic terms: ______________________ __________________________________ __________________________________

    • Ex. Here and this: proximity to the speaker and there and that: proximity to the listener

    • Children must be able to adopt the perspective of their conversational partner

    • Generally mastered by the time they enter schools

New language content relational terms

New Language Content: Relational Terms

  • Relational terms: interrogatives (questions), temporal terms, opposites, locational perspectives, and kinship terms

  • Understand and use once they are able to _____________________________ _______________________________



  • Understand _______________ words: what where, who, whose, and which, before understand and use ________ ______________: when, how, and why

Temporal terms

Temporal Terms

  • Order of events (before, after)

  • Duration of events (since, until)

  • Concurrence of events (while, during)

  • Understand order before concurrence of events

  • Preschoolers do not understand the meaning of _____________; tend to interpret sentences according to word order or according to their experience



  • Learn opposites that they can perceive ________ (such as big/small) before they learn more _________ opposites (such as same/different)

Locational prepositions

Locational Prepositions

  • Describe spatial relations

  • Include: _______________________ ______________________________

Kinship terms

Kinship Terms

  • Initially interpret kinship terms such as mommy, daddy, sister, and brother to refer to ________ _____________

    • Come to understand general meaning of these and other kinship terms, including son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, and parent

  • Complexity of each term has the greatest impact upon the _________________________, followed by children’s familiarity with the family member to which each kinship term refers

  • Difficulty with the ____________ that some kinship terms possess

Grammatical and derivational morphology

Grammatical and Derivational Morphology

  • Grammatical morphemes: _____________ __________________________________ __________________________________

  • Derivational morphology: _____________ __________________________________ __________________________________ __________________________

    • Common derivational morphemes: pre-, -est, -ness, -ly

  • Children acquire morphemes in roughly the __________, even across different _______

Grammatical and derivational morphology cont

Grammatical and Derivational Morphology, cont

  • Influences on the order by which children acquire grammatical and derivational morphemes:

    • ____________________________

    • ________________

    • _________________________________

    • ______________

    • ______________

    • ___________________

Grammatical and derivational morphology cont1

Grammatical and Derivational Morphology, cont

  • Greatest area of development in the preschool period occurs in ______________

    • Inflect verbs with tense, to provide information about time

      • Verb beserves as an important marker of time

  • Copula: when the verb ____ or any of its derivatives serve as the ___________ in a sentence

  • Auxiliary: when the verb __ or its derivatives serve as a ____________ in a sentence

Achievements in phonology

Achievements in Phonology

  • By the end of the preschool period, most children will have mastered _________ of the ______________ of their native language

  • Two patterns that may persist past the 5th birthday include ____________________

  • _______________ continues to develop- important to children’s _______ development.

Discourse functions

Discourse Functions

  • Toddlers’ 6 communicative functions: instrumental, regulatory, personal interactional, heuristic, imaginative, and informational

  • Preschoolers’ expanded functions:

    • Interpretive functions: ________________________ ___________

    • Logical functions: _____________________________

    • Participatory functions: _________________________ _________________________________________

    • Organizing functions: __________________

Discourse functions cont

Discourse Functions, cont

  • Continue to detect and use the ___________________ that others convey in order to understand messages

    • Children better understand _________ requests when the speaker uses _______ __________in addition to the _________

Conversational skills

Conversational Skills

  • Most preschoolers are able to maintain a conversation for _______________ turns, particularly when _________ the topic for discussion

  • Understand that they should _________ _________ and discover that to speak ________________ as another person makes for ____________ conversation

Narrative skills

Narrative Skills

  • Child’s ________ and _________ descriptions of real or fictional events from the past, the present, or the future

    • Minimally contains __ sequential independent clauses about the _____ past event

Narrative skills cont

Narrative Skills, cont

  • 2 types of narratives:

    • Personal: ___________________________

    • Fictional: ____________________________

  • Causal sequence unfolds following a _______ _________ chain of events or provides a reason or rationale for some series of events

  • Temporal sequence unfolds _________

Narrative skills cont1

Narrative Skills, cont

  • Most children are not able to construct true narratives with a problem and resolution (or high point) until around age ___

  • Preschoolers’ narratives become clearer as their ability to consider the __________ _______________________

  • Narrative skills are one of the best predictors of later ____________ for preschoolers at risk for _____________________________

Theory to practice

Theory to Practice

  • When talking on the telephone, we lose many of the cues that support face-to-face conversation and must use conversation that is more ________ to _______________

  • Talking on the telephone can boost children’s _______________

What factors influence individual preschoolers achievements in language

What Factors Influence Individual Preschoolers’ Achievements in Language?

  • Children acquire competence in different areas at _________________

  • Influences such as _____________ status and ________ continue to exert effects on children’s language development in the preschool period

Language profiles

Language Profiles

  • Grow more rapidly in some areas and may grow more slowly in other areas

    • _______________________________

    • _______________________________ _______________________

Early literacy profiles

Early Literacy Profiles

  • Illustrate how children can exhibit varying levels of performance across _____________________________

  • Knowing preschoolers’ strengths and weaknesses can help educators tailor early ________________ to children’s individual needs

Effects of socioeconomic status on language development

Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Language Development

  • Quality of ________________________ in the classroom and the quality of teacher ___________________ can positively impact children’s own language growth in preschool

  • Teachers can be trained to incorporate _____ _________________________

Effects of socioeconomic status on language development cont

Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Language Development, Cont

  • Benefits of classrooms with mixed SES backgrounds:

    • Experience more ________________, fewer __________________, and fewer _____________ interactions than children in homogeneous classrooms (low SES)

Effects of gender on language development

Effects of Gender on Language Development

  • Differences between girls and boys remain stable throughout the preschool years

  • Issues that could account for gender differences in language development:

    • _______________

    • ________________

    • ________________

    • __________________________________ __________________________________

    • __________________

Language sample analysis

Language Sample Analysis

  • Measures of _____________:

    • Total Number of Words (TNW)

    • Number of Different Words (NDW)

    • Type-Token Ratio (NDW/NTW)

  • Measures of ___________:

    • Mean Length of Utterance (MLU)

    • Developmental Sentence Scoring

  • Assess _____________________:

    • Communicative functions the child uses (requesting, commenting, responding to questions)

    • Communication acts (repair strategies, interruptions, and false starts)

Language sample analysis cont

Language Sample Analysis Cont.

  • Language samples should be representative

    • Reliable: _____________________________ _____________________________________

    • Valid: ________________________________ _____________________________________

The preschool language scale 5 th ed

The Preschool Language Scale, 5th Ed.

  • _______________ measure of vocabulary, grammar, morphology, and language reasoning that contains 2 scales

    • Auditory Comprehension Scale: children’s language comprehension abilities

      • receptive vocabulary, comprehension of concepts and grammatical markers, and ability to make comparisons and references

    • Expressive Communication Scale: children’s language production

      • expressive vocabulary, using grammatical markers, word segmentation, completing analogies, and telling a story in sequence

Multicultural focus

Multicultural Focus

  • Norm referenced measures developed for English-speaking children may fail to paint an accurate picture of bilingual children’s competencies

  • Structured interviews with parents, caregivers, or teachers

  • Inquire about:

    • ______________________________________

    • _______________________________________

    • _______________________________________

    • __________________________________________

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