Speaking Out for Language: Why Language Is Central to Reading Development

May. 10, 2010

Source: Educational Researcher, 39(4): 305-310. (May 2010).

The authors argue that although the National Early Literacy Panel report provides an important distillation of research, the manner in which the data are reported underrepresents the importance of language.
Unlike other predictors with moderate associations with later reading, language exerts pervasive and indirect influences that are not described by the effect sizes used in the meta-analysis.
Furthermore, unlike code-related skills that develop rapidly during the years studied, language develops over an extended time span.

Because it is relatively difficult to devise interventions that dramatically alter children’s language abilities, the authors of this response are concerned that schools will target the more malleable code-based skills. The authors warn against such a move.

Updated: Jul. 05, 2011