The early years of school from Kindergarten to Year 2, are broadly considered the years when students are learning how to use spoken and written language. Instruction is focussed on developing competence and fluency in speaking and writing at 3 levels:
- words - building vocabulary and learning to spell
- sentences - sequencing words effectively too communicate ideas, using grammar and punctuation
- texts - sequencing sentences effectively to link ideas in conversations, in stories, in factual reports
- using subject specific long words that are not commonly used at home eg. marsupial, system, divide
- using longer sentence structures to compare, contrast and analyse ideas, using questions and statements to persuade, infer and discuss topics from different perspectives
- organising and sequencing ideas effectively in paragraphs and longer written texts
- well developed spelling and handwriting skills
- fluent typing and familiarity with software used in class and homework
- independent research skills - how to search independently for relevant information, how to critically evaluate sources of information
- note taking from spoken and written information, summarising from notes
- ability to engage with multiple forms of assessment such as multiple choice, short answer questions, long answer questions, essay assignments, multimedia presentations
High school can be an exciting opportunity to learn new subjects and become a more independent learner. When oral and written language skills are well developed in preparation for high school, this frees up cognitive resources for learning new subjects, new routines, higher level organisational skills, making new friends and coping with puberty!
The obvious first stop if you are concerned about your child's spoken or written communication skills is their school. Class teachers, support teachers and school psychologists should all be able to provide you with specific information on your child's literacy development. If you still have concerns, a Speech Pathologist can provide a comprehensive assessment of spoken language, reading and writing skills.