The role of early oral language in literacy development

(Language Magazine) In their book, Early Childhood Literacy: The National Early Literacy Panel and Beyond, Timothy Shanahan and Christopher Lonigan explore the connection between early oral language development and later reading comprehension success. Through its research, the The National Early Literacy Panel (NELP) discovered that the more complex aspects of oral language, including syntax or grammar, complex measures of vocabulary (such as those in which children actually define or explain word meanings), and listening comprehension were clearly related to later reading comprehension, but that simpler measures of oral language (e.g., the widely used Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test) had very limited associations with reading comprehension. Put simply, readers must translate print to language and then, much as in listening, they must interpret the meaning of that language. Numerous studies support this approach by showing that word reading and language comprehension are relatively independent skills, but that each contributes significantly to reading comprehension. Read Article

Tales2go note: this is consistent with our study results and the ’simple view’ of reading. Listening to audiobooks provides repeated exposure to spoken sophisticated words, thereby increasing vocabulary and fluency (i.e., listening comprehension), which is the foundation of word knowledge (i.e., language comprehension). As above language comprehension is an independent skill from word reading (i.e., decoding). Both skills are necessary for proficient reading.

Publication:      Language Magazine
Author:            Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., and Christopher Lonigan, Ph.D.
Publish Date:   8.15.2016