Proficiency in oral language has long been considered important by teachers for self-expression and for communicating ideas.
Children who are learning to speak English catch on to the rules:
first by grasping the early structures
then those of medium difficulty
and finally those of greater difficulty.
Awareness of features that will allow a learner to master a wide range of structural knowledge about English sentences should help teachers develop more powerful language programmes.
This book describes a technique for recording and assessing change in children's oral language development. It was developed for research studies of young children from three ethnic groups but has been widely used in New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and the United States. Experience has shown that Record of Oral Language helps practising teachers to observe and understand changes in young children's language. The book is directed towards teachers who wish to do this.
Young children's control of English is assumed to increase gradually over most of their school years. The changes occurring can be monitored through the use of this Record of Oral Language and of another assessment called Biks and Gutches, which you will find in a companion volume. Teachers could judge from either or both of these assessments which children have made poor, average, or good progress. These techniques are appropriate:
for children of four to seven years of age with English as a mother tongue for up to five years after children begin to learn English as another language.
Performance on these tasks can be used to select children for more intensive attention to oral language learning or to check what changes have occurred in children's language as a result of particular instruction. Change over time can be an important indicator of whether a particular child will know how to learn more about language for themselves in the future.
About the Author
Marie Clay, FRSNZ, FNZPsS, FNZEI(Hon), Emeritus Professor, taught in primary schools and then at the University of Auckland where, for the next 30 years she introduced educational psychologists to ways of preventing psychological problems. She did post-graduate study in Developmental Psychology at the University of Minnesota on a Fulbright Scholarship and completed her doctorate at the University of Auckland with a thesis entitled "Emergent Literacy." Her 'Reading (and writing) Recovery' is an early literacy intervention, which is now implemented in five countries, and three languages. Literacy Lessons Designed For Individuals integrates what has been learned from that innovation with new research and theoretical advocacies. Shifts in early literacy learning can be monitored by teachers using her Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement in English, Spanish and French. A series of individual lessons can be delivered in those languages to about 150,000 children worldwide annually using a guidebook called Reading Recovery: Guidelines for Teachers in Training. Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals is a similar guidebook which aims to make accelerated progress possible for a wider range of problems. Marie Clay was past-President of the International Reading Association, served on the editorial committees of professional journals, was a research consultant at home and abroad including UNESCO, chaired a Social Science Research Committee advising government on policies and research allocations, and worked internationally with problem-solving related to early intervention research and practice.