Saturday, 19 Jun 2021

Language and Literacy

  • Language is a system of conventional spoken, manual (signed), or written symbols by means of which human beings, as members of a social group and participants in its culture, express themselves.

What is literacy?

  • Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and write in at least one method of writing.

Language and Literacy

  • Language and literacy are major domains of early childhood development and they are also intertwined. These are connected areas, but refer to different things. Language development involves the development of the skills used to communicate with others through languages, while literacy development involves the ability to read and write.
  • Language is the key to the child’s future academic success.
  • Language learning begins at birth-in fact, some researchers say that a baby can distinguish the sounds of his native language when he is still in the womb.

Language development

  • Language Development refers to children’s emerging abilities to understand and use language.

Language Skills

  • Language skills are receptive— the ability to listen to and understand language—and expressive— the ability to use language to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Children’s language ability affects learning and development in all areas, especially emerging literacy.

Emerging literacy

  • Emerging literacy refers to the knowledge and skills that lay the foundation for reading and writing.
  • For infants and toddlers, emerging literacy is embedded in the Language and Communication domain. This reflects how closely connected these emerging literacy skills are to very young children’s beginning receptive, expressive, and vocabulary skills.
  • For pre-schoolers, Language and Literacy are distinct domains. They reflect children’s growing skills as they begin to grasp differences between spoken and written language, as well as how they are connected.
  • Language and literacy skills can develop in any language, and for the most part, they develop first in the child’s home language. Supporting development of the home language helps prepare young children for learning English.

Language and Literacy for DLLs

  • Children who are dual language learners (DLLs) need intentional support to develop their home language as well as acquire English. For example, this may include creating environments that include their home language and culture; planning and organizing thematic instruction; and supporting them through transitions.

Tips for parents who has DLLs

1. Parents need to encourage their children’s use of home language.

2. Early family literacy experiences such as reading books with children in their home language (children’s books) and practicing rhyming in their first language help children learn to read before they go to school.

3. Although it might seem that children have smaller vocabularies in the short term, they end up building larger total vocabularies than children who only know one language.

4. A young child has the potential to develop both languages. Learning two languages during the early years will not delay the child’s English language development.

5. Make sure the child is exposed to both your home language and English as early as possible in a variety of contexts: preschool programs or child care programs, cultural events, community gatherings, playgroups and family gatherings in each language. Parents also need to learn English to support their child to use and hear both languages.

Domains of Language and Literacy

a. Language and Communication Domain

The Language and Communication domain includes the following sub-domains for infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers:

  1. Attending and Understanding
  2. Communicating and Speaking
  3. Vocabulary

The Language and Communication domain also includes the following sub-domain for infants and toddlers:

                4. Emergent Literacy

b. Literacy Domain

The Literacy domain includes the following sub-domains for pre-schoolers:

  1. Phonological Awareness
  2. Print and Alphabet Knowledge
  3. Comprehension and Text Structure
  4. Writing

Effective Teaching Practices

  • The effective teaching practices that follow are grouped in three categories: Interactions, Environment, and Individualization.

Home Visitors

Teaching practices in home visiting are the ways that home visitors work with families to provide experiences that support their child’s development and learning, engage in responsive interactions, and use the home as the learning environment.

Home visitors:

  • Facilitate parent-child interactions
  • Engage parents in focusing on their child’s development
  • Directly encourage parents to teach, talk, and interact with their child in responsive and warm ways
  • Use family activities, routines, and materials in the home for learning
  • Collaborate with parents to plan activities and experiences


  • Literacy is an achievement that rests on language competence at all levels, from the elemental sounds to the most overarching structures of text (Moats, 2010, p. 2).

Image: Pexels


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