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Language and Literacy in Early Childhood



Ang, L;

(2008)

Language and Literacy in Early Childhood.

In: Arnold, W and Powell, K and Mol, H, (eds.)
Literacy in the Language Classroom: The Role of the YL professional in Developing Reading in Young Learners.
(pp. 99-115).

IATEFL YL SIG: Canterbury, UK.


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Abstract

Acquiring language is widely perceived as a crucial tool in young children’s
development. Current studies have shown that language, communication and literacy
are fundamental to all aspects of human development, especially during early
childhood; the foundation years of a young learner’s development. Riley has written
‘[I]ncreasingly, research findings indicate the importance of the first years of
education. Children’s ability to use spoken and written language fluently and with
confidence and for a range of purposes enables them to access at an early age what
education has to offer’ (Riley J. & Reedy D. 2003, p.92). Indeed, the early childhood
years serve as an essential foundation for subsequent literacy development. The
phrase ‘emergent literacy’ is often used to describe the wealth of language and
literacy that a child acquires in early childhood, well before compulsory schooling
begins. Yet, while there is widespread agreement among educators that early
childhood education plays a vital role in the consolidation of a young learner’s
literacy, there is increasingly less consensus about when and how best to support
children achieve their literacy potential. Taking into account current issues in
language and literacy development in early childhood, this paper aims to do the
following:
1) Firstly, to provide a brief map of the current debates and national agendas on
literacy in Early Childhood Education
2) Secondly, to identify some of the assumptions which underpin current
understanding of literacy development in early childhood
3) Thirdly, to explore examples of current national agenda of literacy
development in the UK and Singapore

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