American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Language and Literacy in Preschool Children: Sessions

Plenary Session

Big Ideas in Emergent Literacy Research, Practice, and Policy
 Laura Justice, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 77:03 

Emergent literacy is a consistent theme in research, practice, and policy concerning early education, including provision of services to children with disabilities. This session presents some of the "big ideas" in research, practice, and policy activities, such as major findings on the relations between emergent literacy skills and later reading outcomes, and influential public policies that affect how much attention is directed toward emergent literacy in public schools.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Define emergent literacy and describe major skill domains
  • Describe three major advances in emergent literacy research in the last decade
  • Describe major policies that have influenced emergent literacy emphasis in schools and clinics

Assessment and Intervention

Children's Motivation and Engagement in Early Literacy Learning
 Joan Kaderavek, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 86:10  

Motivation, also called engagement, refers to the level, duration, and complexity of children's interaction with others. Literacy engagement contributes to children's ability to learn critical literacy skills. When young children exhibit positive engagement in classroom routines and activities, they learn more. Classrooms where more children are engaged more of the time promote positive academic achievement. Consequently, skilled practitioners evaluate and monitor children's engagement levels and facilitate change and adaptation if engagement is not high. In this workshop, you will learn to identify critical components of early literacy motivation, assess children's literacy engagement levels, and enhance early childhood classrooms and adult-child interactions to foster high child-literacy engagement.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Define motivation and engagement, and identify sub-components of child behavior that contribute to motivation levels
  • Identify factors that contribute to children's literacy motivation
  • Use a tool to assess children's engagement levels and interpret results
  • Describe practices that positively influence children's literacy motivation and engagement

Emergent Writing in Preschool: From Research to Practice
 Sonia Cabell, PhD
Runtime: 56:01 

Preschool-age children benefit from having many opportunities to express themselves through writing. This session gives an overview of emergent writing development among young children. You will understand how emergent writing fits under the larger umbrella of emergent literacy development and why writing in preschool appears to be important for later reading success. In addition to providing up-to-date research findings, this session includes practical guidelines for incorporating writing opportunities into the preschool classroom, with emphasis on techniques for providing appropriate scaffolding to support children's writing efforts.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of current research findings regarding emergent writing
  • List the developmental progression of children's writing ability
  • Apply techniques for supporting children's writing development in the preschool classroom

Assessment of Emergent Literacy Skills in Preschool Children
 Donna Boudreau, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 64:53 

In this session you'll learn the role of the SLP in the assessment of emergent literacy skills, and consider the varied purposes for assessment. Key developmental areas predictive of later literacy achievement are reviewed. Currently available standardized measures to screen or assess emergent literacy skills in preschool children are discussed. Non-standardized assessment tools, including criterion-referenced measures, questionnaires, and portfolio assessment, are also considered.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of emergent literacy in language assessment with preschool children
  • Identify key areas of development that are predictive of later literacy achievement
  • Identify appropriate tools, given the purpose of the assessment
  • Identify measurement tools that address various areas of literacy development in preschoolers
  • Choose emergent literacy measures to best meet your assessment needs

Literacy Intervention in the Preschool Classroom
 Tiffany P. Hogan, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 64:08  

Preschool literacy intervention provides the foundation on which reading skills develop. In this session, you'll get a historical perspective on literacy intervention in the preschool classroom, to set the stage for a discussion of current best practice. A scope of instruction for literacy intervention will be described, along with approaches for teaching literacy by stimulating lower- and higher-level language skills in the preschool classroom. Finally, sample literacy lessons for use in the preschool classroom will be reviewed.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • List major changes in preschool pedagogy in chronological order
  • Define "scope of instruction" in terms of literacy intervention that incorporates lower- and higher-level language skills
  • Describe three approaches for teaching literacy by stimulating lower- and higher-level language skills in the preschool classroom
  • Create an example literacy lesson for use in a preschool classroom 

Vocabulary Development
 C. Melanie Schuele, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 72:21 

The importance of a diverse and well-developed vocabulary for children's academic success is widely recognized by researchers and educators. The current emphasis on literacy achievement in all children is accompanied by renewed interest in understanding vocabulary development in preschool as a foundation for later school success. Typically children who begin formal schooling with an impoverished vocabulary continue to have insufficient vocabulary knowledge throughout their school years. This session provides an overview and update on what is known about how preschool children add words to their lexicon, and the limitations in word learning in children with language impairments and children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. A strong knowledge base in word learning in typical children provides a context in which to consider ways to improve the language learning of preschool children with limited vocabulary knowledge.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe vocabulary learning in typically developing three- to five-year-olds
  • Discuss barriers to vocabulary learning in preschoolers
  • Explain the role of vocabulary in models of emergent literacy and reading acquisition

Vocabulary Instruction and Intervention for Preschool Children
C. Melanie Schuele, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 77:29  

Because the preschool years are an active and important time for vocabulary growth, preschool teachers and SLPs must be concerned with the word learning of all children, and particularly those with language impairments, those from socioeconomically disadvantaged homes, and those who are English language learners. In this session, we will discuss what each child brings to learning words and examine opportunities to learn new words in the classroom, in intervention, and at home. Our focus will be on building children's word learning skills and enhancing their opportunities to learn words. SLPs and teachers must plan instruction that includes words across grammatical categories and presents words in a sequence that facilitates word learning. Ultimately, good word learners acquire much of their vocabulary incidentally, and interventionists must seek to improve children's incidental word learning by working collaboratively with teachers and parents.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Discuss what it means to increase a child's vocabulary knowledge
  • Describe strategies for increasing preschool children's vocabulary knowledge in classroom interactions
  • Describe strategies for increasing preschool children's vocabulary knowledge in small group or individual intervention

Enhancing Phonological Awareness: Fundamental Principles
 Froma P. Roth, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 72:28  

This session focuses on the development of phonological awareness and the importance of the metaphonological skill set for the acquisition of literacy in children. Key principles of phonological awareness training for children with and without language and learning disabilities are presented, as well as specific scaffolding strategies for effective and developmentally sensitive instruction.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of phonological awareness to literacy development and achievement
  • Discuss intervention/instructional task dimensions that influence student performance
  • Describe different types of instructional tasks that are sensitive to student needs

Special Populations

Language and Literacy Development of Young Children Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)
 Beverly J. Trezek, PhD
Runtime: 74:39  

Historically, the majority of students who are DHH do not achieve literacy outcomes commensurate to their hearing age peers. Challenges to acquiring age-appropriate skills can be attributed to difficulties accessing the prerequisite language and literacy skills that form the foundation for later literacy success. This session introduces a framework for understanding the language and literacy development of young children who are DHH. The framework will then be used to explore effective intervention strategies with emphasis on changes in the field, including Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, cochlear implants, and the call for evidence-based literacy practices.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify at least two challenges to acquiring age-appropriate literacy skills for children who are DHH
  • Describe a framework for understanding the language and literacy development of young children who are DHH
  • Discuss at least three effective literacy instructional interventions and strategies for young children who are DHH
  • Describe three recent advances in the field of deafness that are contributing to improved literacy outcomes for young children who are DHH

Literacy Instruction for Students With Multiple, Severe Disabilities
Diane M. Browder, PhD
 Angel Lee, MEd
Runtime: 66:46  

Educators of students with significant cognitive disabilities may struggle with literacy instruction for a number of reasons, including lack of solid research, inadequate professional development, and few models of best practice. In addition, when teaching children with multiple disabilities, it can be challenging to find a consistent and independent response mode that allows students to show knowledge. This session presents a model for conducting literacy lessons using systematic instruction, focusing on read-aloud sessions. Various response modes will be discussed, along with ways to adapt materials to meet the needs of a range of children.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Provide access to literature through the use of appropriate response options
  • Use read-alouds to conduct literacy lessons in a systematic fashion
  • Adapt books and instruction to meet the needs of students who are visually impaired
  • Implement effective instruction using systematic prompting

Promoting Latino Children's Language and Literacy Development: A Culturally Informed Approach
 Carol Scheffner Hammer, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 62:48  

Latino children constitute the fastest growing population entering schools in the US, with a large percentage having Spanish as their first language. Unfortunately, many of these children enter the educational system with lower school readiness than other groups, and are at risk for less than optimal academic outcomes. This session presents a culturally informed intervention designed to promote the language and literacy development of bilingual Latino children. We will review the cultural foundation of children's language and literacy development, with emphasis on strategies for integrating children's culture into your clinical practice, the better to support children's language and literacy abilities.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • List three characteristics of the cultural foundation of children's language and literacy development
  • Describe major aspects of the cultural context of your current practices
  • Apply three strategies for integrating the culture of the children you serve into your practice

Service Delivery and Collaboration

SLPs in Preschool Classrooms: Value-Added Roles
 Shelley Gray, PhD, CCC-SLP
Runtime: 70:17 

Speech-language pathologists' activities in preschool classrooms can raise children's language and early literacy achievement. The most effective SLPs go beyond working with individual children on specific skills to engage in multiple decision making and planning activities. In this session, you'll examine strategies for influencing curriculum selection, planning the scope and sequence of language and early literacy instruction, supporting effective instructional techniques, participating in classroom-based and curriculum-based assessments, evaluating instructional effectiveness, and providing special education services in the classroom, including early-intervening and response-to-intervention models.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • List the key roles SLPs should play in promoting language and literacy development in preschool classrooms
  • Describe the role of assessment in guiding instructional planning and decision making
  • Explain how SLPs can provide effective early-intervening, response-to-intervention, and special education services in preschool classrooms

Working With Parents to Support Language and Literacy Development
 Mary Beth Bruder, PhD
Runtime: 75:53  

There is ample evidence to suggest the powerful effect families have on their children's development. These effects are the direct result of both the characteristics of the family (such as family culture, background, composition and living conditions), and the interactions, experiences, and beliefs of the family. As a result, an outcome of early childhood intervention should be the facilitation of a family's sense of confidence and competence about their child's current and future learning and development. A number of practices have been shown to do this, and these will be described.

After completing this program, you will be able to:

  • Identify reasons why families are so important to intervention
  • Identify practices that enhance a family's competence to facilitate speech and language development in their child, including helpgiving strategies and evidenced based interventions that can be delivered in the home by the parent

Approaches to Coaching with Pre-Kindergarten Teachers
 Douglas Powell, PhD
Runtime: 68:18  

Instructional level: Introductory Coaching and related forms of intensive professional development with pre-kindergarten teachers are among the most promising ways to improve the language and literacy outcomes of at-risk young children. This session describes key principles and strategies expert coaches use to develop and facilitate teachers' practices to promote language and literacy development. You will identify features of effective coaching-based professional development programs focused on language and literacy outcomes, and describe factors that promote successful implementation and teacher engagement. The course content is based on recent and rigorous research on teaching practices associated with children's oral language and code-focused literacy skills, and on outcomes of coaching-based professional development initiatives. The presentation also draws on the instructor's experiences in directing and evaluating coaching-based professional development programs with pre-kindergarten teachers of at-risk children.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe principles and specific strategies expert coaches use to facilitate significant change in teachers' language and literacy instruction
  • Describe characteristics and components of effective coaching-based professional development programs focused on language and literacy
  • Identify factors that facilitate successful implementation and teacher engagement of coaching-based professional development programs

Response to Instruction and Intervention in Preschool Settings
 Stephanie Al Otaiba, PhD
Runtime: 64:54  

Response to intervention (RTI) is a comprehensive framework used for assessment and instructional decision making. This session describes how RTI may be used in early childhood, preschool, and kindergarten settings. You will learn to use potential screeners that can help identify children who require supplementary small group or individualized intervention to support their progress, and review studies that have examined the efficacy of RTI for young children at risk of low literacy with attention to implications for practice.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe the purpose of multi-tiered models of early literacy instruction and intervention
  • Identify potential screeners
  • Identify potential progress monitoring measures
  • Locate Web-based resources to support RTI implementation

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