The Braid of Literacy

Reading. Singing. Talking. Playing. Writing. Together all of these actions can help children become skilled readers. Weaving these practices together vocabulary, phonological awareness, narrative skills, print motivation, print awareness, and letter knowledge are acquired.

Ch-3-Figure-11

Strands of early literacy development. Reprinted from Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice, by H. S. Scarborough, in S. B. Newman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), 2002, Handbook of early literacy research, p. 98, Copyright 2002, New York, NY: Guilford Press.

We are going to get technical for just a minute, so bear with us. In 2002, literacy researcher Hollis Scarborough released a study dealing with the Braid of Literacy. In the study, Scarborough found literacy could be broken into two simple parts: Language Comprehension and Word Recognition. But more importantly, it is within these two parts that more complex things are at work. As you can see in the illustration, when all of the pieces and parts of literacy come together, they form a tightly woven braid. But it is only when they are working together.

That was too technical. But what does that all mean?

Let’s go back to reading, talking, singing, playing, and writing. When you read with your child or talk with your child, when you play and sing together, and when you write and let your child use a paper and pencil, you are weaving together these different parts of literacy.

Spend a few minutes each day trying to do at least two of these simple practices with your child.

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Speech Development

Let me preface this post by saying I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have a background in speech therapy or speech development. I do, however, know speech therapists and have done some research. Therefore, I hope you will find today’s post as a starting point to learning more information. If you have more questions or would like to know more information, please check with your child’s pediatrician or contact your local school district.

In the chart below, you will find a general guide depicting when children typically master each of the letter sounds. Keep in mind, though, every child is different and developsĀ in his or her own time.

speech chart

You will notice that boys and girls develop sound articulation at various times during early development. In general, about 50% of children have the sounds mastered by the beginning of the line at each age and about 90% of children have it mastered by the end of the line.

Take a look at the chart…you’ll notice that some sounds aren’t learned until almost 8 years old, and for some children, it takes several years to master sounds like “ing,” “r,” or “z.” To help children practice letter sounds and identify them, it is important to speak clearly to them. Baby talk is cute (words like lellow, skissors, or pasghetti), but they don’t help children articulate and learn letter sounds. Point to letters and words as you read them in books and ask your child to repeat you.