Director of Special Services:
The Language and Literacy Connection
What does language have to do with reading? Language has been found to be a good predictor of literacy skills, or a child’s ability to read. During early years, experiences with talking and listening prepare children to read and write later in life. Working on skills such as phonological awareness (the recognition that words are made up of separate sounds) is extremely important. For example, a child will need to be aware that the word “dog” has three separate sounds - d, aw, g. Pointing out new vocabulary and print during special activities such as outings to the park, the zoo and at holidays can also build their knowledge of words and help with reading.
As a child enters into middle school and high school, language becomes the foundation of reading comprehension, or understanding what is read. By that time, a child must be familiar with a variety of words for each subject area in order to understand higher level textbooks. For example, in biology, a child is exposed to words such as homeostasis, mutation, and karyotype. Understanding this new “vocabulary language” is the first step to understanding the text. Skills such as being able to locate definitions in the dictionary or glossary, putting these definitions into their own words, and practicing words on flashcards can help students with reading comprehension.
Working together, we can help students become better users of language, better readers and ultimately, more educated adults.