“Despite that fact that age related sequences are not completely mapped out for all domains of oral language, we should use the knowledge we do have to monitor whether or not children are mastering oral language skills at a pace that will allow them to become successful learners, thinkers and readers. We want them to be “ready for school,” but we also want them to continue to be successful throughout their school years.”
Here are some additional links mapping out developmental sequences for the 4 levels of language:
Sounds: http://www.playingwithwords365.com/2011/09/speech-articulation-development-whats-normal-what-isnt/ (Katie, a pediatric speech language pathologist)
Words: http://www.theroadmap.ualberta.ca/vocabularies Andrew Biemiller
Sentences: http://udel.edu/~roberta/pdfs/Bear%20chaptBrandone.pdf Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek
Discourse: http://complexneeds.org.uk/modules/Module-2.4-Assessment-monitoring-and-evaluation/All/downloads/m08p080c/the_pragmatics_profile.pdf Hazel Dewart and Susie Summers
Looking at Words in More Depth
A Word Gap
The research literature tells us that some children will have a 30 million word gap by the time they are 3. We learn from an article in Education Week about research by Hart and Risley (Meaningful Differences) who studied children of different backgrounds as they developed vocabulary from 7 months to 3 years.
The researchers found that, on average, children from professional families heard more than 2,150 words an hour. Those in working-class families heard about 1,250 words. Children in families on welfare heard little more than 600 words an hour.……
The hourly estimates from those original 42 families were extrapolated to predict that by age 3, children of professionals would hear about 45 million words, compared with only 13 million for a child in poverty—the source of the 30 million-word gap…
We know from subsequent research that this gap (The Achievement Gap) continues to exist. We need to know why, to what extent, and what we can do about it.
A deeper look at the developmental sequence for words.
In their book, “How Babies Talk,” Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek trace “vocabulary” development from 8 to 12 to 24 months. They describe children who said their first “real” words: at 12 months (Priscilla), at 18 months (Edgar), and at 17.5 months (Michael). They include details about “first” word appearance for each of these children, including the information that Michael “had one continuous ear infection from 9 to 13 months” and Priscilla “is the firstborn child of two English professors.” Knowing context matters when time frames are used to suggest what is “normal” development.
They define “real” words as having four characteristics: (pp 93-94)
1 The same word is used consistently to signal the same meaning.
2 The word the baby uses approximates the sound of the conventional word used by the family.
3 The word is spoken with the intention to communicate and not just as something the baby is immediately imitating.
4 The word is used in a variety of settings to name items of the same type that the child had not heard anyone name before.
The next big benchmark in word/vocabulary learning is the “vocabulary spurt.”
“Some time after toddlers have learned about 50 words, around 19 to 21 months on average, the entire character of word learning changes….) (p. 115)
During the last half of the second year toddlers often experience an explosive period of vocabulary growth, including words their parents would wish they didn’t have. The rate has been estimated at nine new words a day, 63 new words per week….”
The authors continue… “In this chapter we examine the “vocabulary spurt” or the “naming explosions.” What are toddlers doing at this time? What kinds of words are they saying? How are they saying them? ….What is going on behind the scenes that allow the vocabulary spurt to occur?....Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of toddlers who reach the vocabulary spurt more slowly than their peers. We focus on red flags in early language learning and look at populations of toddlers who approach word learning in a less standard way.” (p. 116)
How do we/can we monitor growth in word/vocabulary development?
Hoffman, Teale and Paciga suggest that we need to go beyond just counting words.
Assessing Vocabulary in the