Language Development and Literature
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5.1.docx

Review the sequence of language development in Table 5.1 of your text.  Evaluate an author’s need to recognize the relationship between a reader’s level of language development and a story’s text.  Choose one of the developmental levels described in the table and identify a piece of children’s literature that is appropriate for that level.  Support your choice with information from your text as well as specific details from the literature selection.

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Language and Children 99 Table 5.1 THE SEQUENCE OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT AGE ACCOMPLISHMENT Approximately 3 months Children use intonations similar to those of adults. About 1 year They begin to use recognizable words and repeat sounds to express emotion. About 4 years They have acquired the complicated structure of their native tongue. At approximately 5 years of age Children use adultlike language, that is, they form sentences. Naming and counting are important to them. At 6 or 7 Children now speak and understand sentences they have never previously used or heard. From 8 to 10 years Children begin to use their vocabulary skillfully ( for example, not hesitating to use synonyms) and their conversational strategies noticeably improve. From 11 to 13 years Their speech closely resembles that of an adult. world with comparative ease. This is not to say, of course, that all children reach the heights of eloquent expression. Remember: experience helps determine the fi-nal outcome. As you become aware of the beauty, appeal, and sheer power of chil-dren’s literature, you realize the vital role it plays in the various aspects of children’s language development: phonological development ( sounds), semantic develop-ment ( meaning), syntactic development ( structure), and pragmatic development ( conversational rules). To help you in your work with children of all ages, and to show how authors must write their story with appropriate vocabulary, Table 5.1 pre-sents a brief overview of language development. With these basic ideas about language development in mind, note the fol-lowing general recommendations. 1. A CHILD’S ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCES THE NUMBER OF CONNECTIONS MADE IN THE BRAIN. Consequently, adults who speak to, rather than at children and read to them immediately after birth ( perhaps during even the final prenatal weeks) provide an enriched language environment for children. ( Note the lasting effects of The Cat In The Hat in Chapter 7, Literature for the Early Years.) Phyllis Reynolds Naylor attributes her own writing success to her parents, who read aloud to her every night for as far back as she can remember. In her ac-ceptance speech for winning the Newbery Medal for Shiloh, she thanked them for the “ drama” in their voices, as they recounted adventures such as Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, and Alice in Wonderland. She confesses that she was never interested in the authors—“ it was the story that was important” ( Newbery and Caldecott Medal Books, 2001, p. 168). ...
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