Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Pre-Writing and Pre-Spelling (0-60 Months) click to print Print

Written by: Dorothy Steffler, Concordia University College of Alberta, and Sarah Critten, University of Hertfordshire

alphabetic principle – words are composed of letters that represent the sounds in spoken language and these letter-sound associations can be used to decipher and construct unfamiliar words

Cause-and-effect relationship – the knowledge that a specific action (cause) will result in a specific outcome (effect)

cognitive development – changes that occur in how children think as a result of maturation and intellectual growth

conventional letters – letters that are constructed in accordance with typical expectations within a given language

cursive writing – handwriting where the letter characters are joined

discontinuous print – traditional print that is found in books, magazines, signs, and so on

egocentric thought – the inability to take the perspective of another person

eye-hand coordination – the ability to control hand movement using visual input and processing

fine motor skills – the ability to control finger movements to manipulate objects

goal-oriented behaviour – behaviour that is planned and intentional prior to beginning the activity

implicit knowledge – knowledge that is outside of conscious awareness but is evident in behaviour

invented writing – children’s attempts at writing that includes some of the conventions of writing, such as linearity and left-to-right directionality, but does not include conventional spelling of words

letter-sound correspondence – the association of the alphabet letters to sounds in spoken words

mental representation – the symbolic mapping of an event in the environment (e.g., an object or stimulus) to a thought, idea, or concept

phoneme –the smallest unit of speech in a given language that is used to represent meaning

phonemic awareness – a narrower term than phonological awareness referring to the awareness of individual sounds of spoken words

phonetic – the physical sound and perception of human speech

phonological awareness – a broad term (includes phonemic awareness) referring to the awareness of speech sounds in a language – including syllables, rhyme, and individual letters in words

precommunicative writing – writing that consists of lines and scribbles and perhaps some letters

representational redescription – the unconscious mental process of redefining knowledge such that it becomes increasingly flexible and useful

symbolic representation – to allow something to stand for something else, e.g., the word “ball” stands for the toy “ball”

trial-and-error – in children, random actions that are not directed toward a specific goal

undifferentiated writing – young children’s attempts at writing that do not convey meaning

U-shaped developmental trajectory – typically demonstrated by what appears to be a brief regression in acquiring a particular skill