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The Language and Literacy Connection Charlotte Enns, Ph.D. University of Manitoba, CANADA CASA 2008 Albuquerque, NM.

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Presentation on theme: "The Language and Literacy Connection Charlotte Enns, Ph.D. University of Manitoba, CANADA CASA 2008 Albuquerque, NM."— Presentation transcript:


2 The Language and Literacy Connection Charlotte Enns, Ph.D. University of Manitoba, CANADA CASA 2008 Albuquerque, NM

3 April 4, 2008C. Enns Workshop Objectives Clarify the differences and similarities between speech, language, and literacy Reinforce the concepts of learning language, learning through language, and learning about language Emphasize how meaning drives language and literacy learning Provide ideas for how to facilitate language and literacy development

4 April 4, 2008C. Enns “Edward and the Pirates” by David McPhail Once Edward learned to read, there was no stopping him. Cereal boxes at the breakfast table, seed catalogues that arrived on the coldest day of winter, the inscription on the monument in the town square, and books - all kinds of books. Edward especially liked stories of adventure. When he read about Admiral Peary racing by dogsled to the North Pole, Edward was right alongside, comforting the brave dogs and urging them on. When he read that the bold outlaw Robin Hood was surrounded by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham’s men, it was Edward who came to the rescue. And when he read about Joan of Arc leading her troops to victory, it was Edward who carried her shield and held it up just in time to deflect the blow of a battle-ax. Sometimes what Edward read seemed to become real. Once while he was reading a book about dinosaurs, he was convinced he’d seen a tyrannosaurus looking in his window.

5 April 4, 2008C. Enns Language and Literacy Hierarchy OTHER CONTENT AREAS WRITING READING TALKING/SIGNING LISTENING/VIEWING Adapted from Robertson, 2006

6 April 4, 2008C. Enns Speech vs. Language Speech is a mode of expression Speech involves the neuromuscular movements of the articulators (tongue, teeth, lips, soft palate) Speech is the ability to produce sounds Language is a conventional system for symbolic communication Language involves vocabulary, grammar and conversational rules Language allows us to express our ideas and feelings

7 April 4, 2008 Adapted from Cummins, 1984 C. Enns Language Base is Critical

8 April 4, 2008C. Enns Visual vs. Auditory Learning Visual information is processed spatially (we remember where things are located) Visual information is processed simultane- ously (we can see two things at the same time) Signed languages capitalize on these processes and use space and movement to incorporate grammati- cal information Auditory information is processed sequentially (we cannot hear two sounds at the same time - the louder sound will block out the other sound) Spoken languages are organized sequentially (sounds are added to words or words are added to sentences to change and add to the meaning)

9 April 4, 2008C. Enns Myths Deaf children won’t learn to speak if you expose them to signed language Deaf children can’t learn to read if they don’t speak

10 April 4, 2008C. Enns Key Language Functions Learning Language Learning Through Language Learning About Language

11 April 4, 2008C. Enns Language Acquisition in Deaf Children Language acquisition is about the “mind” not the sensory organs (eyes, ears, etc.) Early exposure to language is very significant for later learning Language input builds ability to further learn language Age of acquisition of ASL and poor ASL input can cause problems in literacy learning

12 April 4, 2008C. Enns Learning Through Language Theory of Mind: - being aware of what other people are thinking - Predicting what others are thinking from what we know about them - Using what we know about other people to understand a situation

13 April 4, 2008C. Enns Schick’s Research Results What predicts ToM skills? Production of complement clauses using a mental verb (use of mental verbs, such as think, know, remember, wonder) Vocabulary (ASL or English) What doesn’t predict ToM skills? General language skills (English or ASL) Hearing loss Non-verbal IQ

14 April 4, 2008C. Enns Conclusions Language skills are essential - for the communication of ToM concepts - for the ability to represent complex mental events Time teaching parents signed language is time well spent (impact on cognitive skills)

15 April 4, 2008C. Enns What is Literacy? “It is important to keep in mind that literacy is not just a basic set of mental skills, but rather the competence to exploit a particular set of cultural resources” (David Olson, 1993) Broadens the definition of literacy from simply reading and writing to include the appropriate use of language in context This definition includes the ideas of literacy in technology, science, art, mathematics, and so on Literacy and the skills involved in achieving literacy must act as tools - tools to create, construct, or complete something The focus shifts from the skill itself to the function it provides - this is the ultimate goal of literacy development

16 April 4, 2008C. Enns Shift from Reading Readiness to Emergent Literacy Emergent Literacy Spoken language, reading and writing develop together These skills mutually reinforce each other as they develop Emphasis on a literate environment and exposure to language in face-to-face and print form Reading Readiness Initial instruction should begin with a series of prerequisite skills Writing postponed until children are able to read Assumes spoken language (face-to-face language) should precede reading and writing instruction

17 April 4, 2008C. Enns Linking Meaning to Print

18 April 4, 2008C. Enns “Going Swimming” - Part 1 John swallowed the last drops of orange juice and looked at the sky. He turned to his Dad and said “Dad, will you take Sue and me swimming today?” Mr. Singer started to answer, then paused. After a moment, he replied “I’d find that enjoyable myself. But first, I better keep my promise about today’s yard work.” John bounded up from the table with such enthusiasm that he nearly upset it. Starting toward the garage he shouted “I’ll begin collecting the tools now so we can get started.”

19 April 4, 2008C. Enns “Going Swimming” - Part 2 John loaded the rake, clipper, lawn mower and sacks into the back of the truck. Mr. Singer emerged with his appointment book, found the entry that said “Smiths, 101 Cleveland, 1:00 pm Wednesday.” Climbing in next to John, Mr. Singer said “It’s just over a couple of blocks. If we hurry we can be there on time.” John turned the key and checked the rear view mirror. Just then, Mr. Singer shouted “Wait, we forgot Sue.” He jumped out and gave a loud whistle. In a moment, there was Sue, tearing around the corner of the house. She leapt into the back of the truck and began licking the rear window. Mr. Singer looked at John and chuckled. “I hope Sue won’t mind waiting for her swim until we finish the job.”

20 April 4, 2008C. Enns Second Language Literacy Transfer Language Skills (L1) (L2) Literacy Skills Literacy Skills (L1)(L2)

21 April 4, 2008C. Enns Transfer between ASL and English If students are unable to: - question - critique - debate - hypothesize - discuss, etc. in ASL, then they won’t be able to do these things in written English

22 April 4, 2008C. Enns Dynamic Processes in Literacy Learning Meaning-making Experiential Social Linguistic Recursive Integrated Metacognitive - constructing meaning from prior knowledge - Providing new experiences - Learning from others - Grammar/structure - Learning as a continuous cycle - Shifting between reader, writer, viewer, etc. - Thinking about how you learn

23 April 4, 2008C. Enns Definition Metacognition is ….. “a form of cognition (thinking) which enables reflection on cognitive processes and conscious control and monitoring of these processes” (Larkin, 2000)

24 April 4, 2008C. Enns Metacognition is the knowledge we have about how we learn. “Thinking about thinking” Correcting/revising Analysing Giving our opinion Disagreeing Reflecting Assessing/evaluating Sequencing the steps Creating a picture in our mind Using words/signs to guide us Asking questions Problem-solving

25 April 4, 2008C. Enns Why is metacognition often missing in Deaf students? Limited language skills Limited opportunities for interaction requiring these skills Dependence on others (parents/ teachers, etc.)

26 April 4, 2008C. Enns Learning About Language Metalinguistic and Metacognitive Connections: Metalinguistics - looking at language from the inside and the outside Being bilingual fosters metalinguistic awareness Explicit understanding of structures in ASL allows for comparisons to the structure and grammar of English

27 April 4, 2008C. Enns Metacognitive Skills Must Be Learned - How Do We Teach Them? Demonstrations (role modeling) Strategies Incorporate cognitive activities into daily learning Emphasize self- assessment Encourage self- regulated learning

28 April 4, 2008C. Enns Practice Activity “Think Through” Think of a typical task that you do with your students Consider the things that the students must think about when completing this task Demonstrate a “think through” of this task - say/sign what goes on in your head

29 April 4, 2008C. Enns Effective Strategies for Reading with Children Allow your child to select some of the books you read. Talk about the different parts of the book such as front, back, title, author, beginning, and end. Consider allowing your child to hold the book and turn the pages. Show them how to turn one page at a time. Read slowly (but don’t drag it out!) Vary your voice by using lots of intonation and stress (vary your signing by altering the size and shape of signs and adding facial expression). Talk about the story; relate it to the child’s own experiences. Repeat what the child says; add words to make a full sentence (e.g., Child says “Truck”, Adult says, “Yes, that’s a big truck” Monitor the child’s face and behaviour for signs of boredom or fatigue and end the session when the child loses interest. Compliment children on their attempts to read. Tell them they are readers! Adapted from Robertson, 2006

30 April 4, 2008C. Enns Making Reading Meaningful for Deaf Children Background knowledge and language skills Teaching through interpretation of text Making “phonology” visual Presenting books and stories

31 April 4, 2008C. Enns More Suggestions for Families Self-esteem - the better children feel about themselves the more they can learn A shared communication system between parents and children is vital Positive attitude to print - model reading and writing in your everyday lives Read regularly with your children - read with feeling, and connect stories with personal experiences Make your own books using photos from shared family experiences Equip your home with a TTY (for the telephone) and closed caption decoder (for the television)

32 April 4, 2008C. Enns Writer Waiting … by Shel Silverstein Oh this shiny new computer - There just isn’t nothin’ cuter. It knows everything the world ever knew. And with this great computer I don’t need no writin’ tutor, ‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do. It can sort and it can spell, It can punctuate as well. It can find and file and underline and type. It can edit and select, It can copy and correct, So, I’ll have a whole book written by tonight (Just as soon as it can think of what to write).

33 April 4, 2008C. Enns References Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and special education: Issues in assessment and pedagogy. San Diego, CA: College Hill Press. Olson, D. (1993). The world on paper: The conceptual and cognitive implications of writing and reading. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. Robertson, S. (2006). Read with me: Stress-free strategies for building language and pre-literacy skills. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, March, Winnipeg, MB. Schick, B. (2007). Theory of Mind and Reading Skills. Keynote presentation at the biennial meeting of the Canadian Association of Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Winnnipeg, MB. Charlotte Enns Website:

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