Button, S. W. and Millward, P. (2005) 'Talking and literacy in the early years.', Forum., 47 (1). pp. 34-38.
Whilst it is clear that the move towards literacy is one of the ways in which school experience is likely to affect the child’s language, it is also evident that the pressure to help children become effective readers and writers can mean that we lose sight of the importance of talk, and the significance it has for the children’s development as language users (DfES, 2003a). The recently issued guidelines, Speaking, Listening, Learning have been published by the DfES partly in response to teachers’ concerns that speaking and listening have been neglected in the NLS (DfES, 2003a). It is not just that talk is such a pervasive feature of our lives, and not just that it is largely through talk that our social experience is constituted, but that talk is, as well, the basis of literacy, and literacy is developed out of peoples’ experience of interacting through oral language. It is not possible to attend to the children’s reading and writing (or their knowledge and understanding of, say, mathematics or history) without attending to their talk, and in attending to their talk we are able to cultivate their development as literate members of a society.
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