Language and Literacy Development: What Educators Need to Know

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Children's speaking, reading, and writing skills are closely connected, and this engaging text guides preservice and practicing teachers in choosing instructional strategies that promote the integrated development of these skills. The authors explore the foundations of language in the developing brain and show how language acquisition in early childhood influences later literacy and language use. Chapters cover phonological skills, vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, comprehension, and writing, as well as instructional techniques and programs. The book examines why some students struggle with particular language and literacy tasks and how motivation and sociocultural factors affect proficiency. Rich classroom vignettes and examples of effective teaching strategies are accompanied by accessible explanations of relevant research.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An invaluable teaching tool. The authors have masterfully integrated theoretical background, empirical evidence, and practical concerns, including helpful examples. The explanations of research methods will enable practitioners-in-training to become better consumers of research—a key component of evidence-based practice. I think this book will become the premier text for courses that address language development and literacy acquisition in educational psychology, special education, and reading programs."—Alida Anderson, PhD, Special Education Department, Center for Education, Widener University
"Byrnes and Wasik have crafted an amazing book that has been sorely needed for a long time. I found myself returning to it time and time again, and my copy is now decorated with myriad sticky notes. The authors present challenging concepts while rendering them manageable and relevant for educators. This is an ideal text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses."—JoAnne Schudt Caldwell, PhD, College of Education and Leadership, Cardinal Stritch University

"Byrnes and Wasik have created a book that celebrates teachers as professionals, as master learners who can transform classrooms, and as skilled decision makers. Weaving together the scientific literatures on language, literacy, and pedagogy, this book uses evidence on how children learn to guide educational practice about what children should learn."—Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, coauthor of How Babies Talk; Lefkowitz Professor of Psychology, Temple University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

James P. Byrnes, PhD, is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a Fellow of Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychological Association and has served as Vice President of the Jean Piaget Society. An Associate Editor of the Journal of Cognition and Development, Dr. Byrnes has published over 70 books, chapters, or articles on several different areas of cognitive development, such as logical reasoning and mathematical learning. Dr. Byrnes has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Education, and awards for his teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. His most recent work has focused primarily on developing two comprehensive theoretical models, one on adolescent decision making and one on academic achievement. The model of academic achievement has been designed specifically to provide insight into ways to eliminate or substantially reduce gender, ethnic, and racial gaps in achievement.

Barbara A. Wasik, PhD, is Associate Professor and the PNC Endowed Chair in Early Childhood in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Technology in Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her research interests are emergent literacy and early intervention in beginning reading, with a specific focus on disadvantaged children. Dr. Wasik has extensive experience in program and curriculum development, and is specifically interested in the role that teachers play in the development of children’s language and literacy skills. She has written numerous articles on early literacy, one of which received the Dina Feitelson Research Award from the International Reading Association for outstanding research article. She is the coauthor of several books, including one with Carol Seefeldt, Early Education: Three-, Four-, and Five-Year-Olds Go to School (2nd edition). Also interested in educational policy issues, Dr. Wasik is the author of several papers that have affected teaching practices in classrooms.    

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Table of Contents

I. Introductory Issues

1. Introduction

2. Brain Development, Language, and Literacy

II. The Development of Spoken Language Competence

3. An Overview of Spoken Language Competence

4. The Development of Phonological Skills

5. The Development of Word Meaning and Vocabulary

6. The Development of Grammatical Knowledge

III. The Development of Reading and Writing Skills

7. Beginning Reading

8. The Development of Reading Comprehension

9. The Development of Writing Skills

IV. Individual and Group Differences in Language and Literacy

10. Motivational Issues in Speaking, Reading, and Writing

11. Sociocultural Issues in Speaking, Reading, and Writing

V. Instructional Techniques and Programs

12. General Principles of Effective Instruction

13. Language and Literacy Programs That Work

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