Friday, September 3, 2010

The Connection Between Oral Language and Literacy

I came across an article that talks about the connection (and interdependence) between oral language skills and literacy. An excerpt from the article explains this connection in a nutshell: "Strong oral language skills pave the way for the development of literacy in a second language...and literacy skills enhance oral language development." (The article can be accessed in full here.)

Something that stood out to me in the article was a section that discusses the importance of both top-down and bottom-up processes in reading. Relevant and interesting contexts are used to generate meaning (top-down processes), while also explicitly teaching sound patterns, syllables, and word families (bottom-up). A few of my previous posts discuss this concept, including the posts entitled "Teaching Reading to Beginning Level English Language Learners," "How do we 'Keep Language in the Teaching of Second Language Reading'?", "ESOL Instruction from the Bottom-Up," and "Why Phonics for ELLs/ESOL Students?"

An additional resource on the topic of oral language and literacy is a discussion on the LINCS adult education English language acquisition list. A summary of the discussion can be found here. (See also my blog post entitled, "Free Online Resource for Developing Oral Proficiency in Adult English Language Learners".)

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