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Literacy - What Does Your Child Need to Know?

February 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 173

For those of us who can read and write without difficulty, it can be hard to understand why some children find it so hard. But when you look at the processes, reading and writing are some of the most complex tasks that we do.

Have a look at all the different processes the brain has to do to read:

· Hear sounds joining up to make words (phonological processing)

· Be able to join sounds up (phonological awareness blending)

· Process a written code (visual processing)

· Remember what sound the shapes represent (letter to sound correspondence)

· Work out sounds the letters make when they are joined up (decoding)

· See that a word is similar to another if we take a sound out, add a sound in or change a sound (phonological awareness manipulation)

· Remember that some groups of shapes (words) have a distinct shape that represents a word (sight words)

· Access the meaning of the words in the brain (lexical access for semantics)

· Join words to other words as decoding continues (fluency)

· Access the meaning of the sentences (semantics)

· Take clues from the context (context cues)

· Understand the writer's intention (inference)

· Remember and understand what has been read (reading comprehension)

All of this has to happen at the same time! So the brain has to be multitasking in a big way, right from the earliest attempts to read.

Spelling is a similar story. For spelling to happen, we need to be doing all these processes:

· Hearing sounds joining up to make words (blending)

· Identifying individual sounds that are parts of groups of letters (eg in consonant clusters like str in stream)

· Writing the letters in sequence that correspond to the sounds (letter to sound correspondence and sequencing)

· Remembering what words look like that sound differently to how they are written (visual memory)

· Remembering the combinations of letters that make sounds (high level phonological awareness and visual memory)

· Understanding and remembering rules so that parts of words can be changed, such as suffixes and prefixes (spelling rules)

Writing needs all the skills for reading and spelling as well as these:

· Being able to hold writing implements like pencils and paper (fine motor skills)

· Recognising letters and remembering what they look like (visual memory)

· Fine motor control to make the shapes of the letters efficiently allowing for direction

· Joining up letters to make words

· Knowing where words start and finish

· Having a concept of what to say in sentences

· Joining words to make sentences

· Using punctuation including capital letters

· Knowing where sentences start and finish

· Learning how to write complex sentences, including using joining words (conjunctions) and manipulate parts of sentences (clauses)

· Knowing about paragraphs

· Knowing about and using story components

· Writing different kinds of texts

The last points on the list are learned later, and take all of a child's school years to develop to a high level. However, all of the earlier points need to be used quite early in the process.

Reading, spelling and writing are all different parts of the literacy process. Each part of the process is essential to the other parts.

If your child is having difficulty with either early literacy or developing more complex literacy skills, find a local speech pathologist to identify which parts of the process are not working. A Speech Pathologist can help your child get going with their reading, writing and spelling - or take it to a higher level.

Source: EzineArticles
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