Literacy development linked to oral development. Hmmm-?

Literacy development linked to oral development. Hmmm-?

I’ve been reading about reading again. A quote from a national report on literacy research caught my eye and seemed appropriate for general discussion on a blog.

“It is not enough to teach language-minority students reading skills alone. Extensive oral English development must be incorporated into successful literacy instruction. The most promising instructional practices for language-minority students bear out this point: Literacy programs that provide instructional support of oral language development in English, aligned with high-quality literacy instruction are the most successful.”

Does this have anything to say to biblical language teaching? How? Why?

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2 Comments

  1. Marcus Leman March 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    A question and a comment:

    Question – Does such a quote hold true for second language students who are already literate in their own language? (assuming the “literacy” comment above is related illiterate second language students)

    Comment – (1) From my days as an ESL instructor I found this quote to hold true for students from various linguistic backgrounds who were literate in their heart language. Reading floated along much more smoothly in the wake of solid listening and speaking activities. (2) In terms of biblical languages it must be asked whether learning “reading skills” in the absence of speaking skills is actually reading at all or something else entirely – more like rapid mental translation into a language that one does speak proficiently.

  2. Randall Buth March 13, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    The quote was ambiguous whether or not the English learners were literate in their first language. I think that oral fluency would help them in English reading in either case.

    I only have two personal examples for evaluating your second comment. The difference between reading-only-Hebrew and having a spoken basis for reading was an immense improvement, although from the outside I might have been called a ‘successful BH’ reader before developing speaking abilities. Also, ‘graduate reading exam level’ of French did not compare to reading French after developing speaking abilities. I did the reading exam without any communicative French, so I know the difference in that case, too. In both cases the ability to speak changed the qualitative experience of reading.

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