Learning Difficulties Australia


Language & Literacy

Key Research Papers
Programs and Resources: Oral Language Resources
Programs and Resources: Other Resources
Government Initiatives
Useful Links
Oral Language Resources: Introduction
Oral Language Resources: Theoretical Foundations and Principles for Oral Language Development
Oral Language Resources: Contents

Key Research Papers

Comparative effectiveness of phonological awareness and oral language intervention for children with low emergent literacy skills
Ruth Fielding-Barnsley & Ian Hay, University of Tasmania
This paper reports the results of an intervention aimed to develop language and phonological awareness skills in children with low emergent literacy skills. Post test results demonstrated both intervention groups made significant gains on measures of encoding (spelling) compared to the class at-risk control group with the phonological awareness group showing an advantage over the language group. Intervention targeting both language and phonological awareness skills are both effective in countering the effects of low emergent literacy skills.
Authors: Ruth Fielding-Barnsley & Ian Hay, University of Tasmania

Early intervention: What's not to like?
If a child has language problems, when would be the best age to intervene? At 18 months of age, when they are just at the outset of f learning language, or at five years, when they are re in school? Most people would say this is a no-brainer, with early intervention being preferred... There is, however, a problem with early intervention that is easily overlooked, but which is well-documented in the case of children’s language problems. . This is the phenomenon of the "late bloomer". Quite simply, the earlier you identify children’s language difficulties, the higher the proportion of cases will prove to be "false positives" who spontaneously move into the normal range without any intervention.

Speech and Language Problems in Children
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
Children vary in their development of speech and language skills. Health professionals have milestones for what's normal. These milestones help determine if a child is on track or if he or she may need extra help. For example, a child usually has one or two words like "Hi," "dog," "Dada," or "Mama" by her first birthday.
Sometimes a delay may be caused by hearing loss, while other times it may be due to a speech or language disorder. Language disorders can mean that the child has trouble understanding what others say or difficulty sharing her thoughts. Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking may have a speech disorder.
If your child's speech or language appears to be delayed, talk to your child's doctor.

LD Auditory Processing Disorder in Children
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2004)
Auditory processing is a term used to describe what happens when your brain recognizes and interprets the sounds around you. The "disorder" part of auditory processing disorder means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of the information. For further information and links to related links to information, see: http://www.ldonline.org/article/8056.

Auditory processing deficits in children with reading and language impairments: can they (and should they) be treated?
Authors: G M McArthur, D Ellis, C M Atkinson, M Coltheart
Cognition 01/07/200807/2008; 107(3):946-77.
ISSN: 0010-0277
DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2007.12.005
Sixty-five children with specific reading disability (SRD), 25 children with specific language impairment (SLI), and 37 age-matched controls were tested for their frequency discrimination, rapid auditory processing,vowel discrimination, and consonant-vowel discrimination. Subgroups of children with SRD or SLI produced abnormal frequency discrimination(42%), rapid auditory processing (12%), vowel discrimination (23%), or consonant-vowel discrimination (18%) thresholds for their age.Twenty-eight of these children trained on a programme that targeted their specific auditory processing deficit for 6 weeks. Twenty-five of these 28 trainees produced normal thresholds for their targeted processing skill after training. These gains were not explained by gains in auditory attention, in the ability to do psychophysical tasks in general, or by test-retest effects. The 25 successful trainees also produced significantly higher scores on spoken language and spelling tests after training. However, an untrained control group showed test-retest effects on the same tests. These results suggest that auditory processing deficits can be treated successfully in children with SRD and SLI but that this does not help them acquire new reading,spelling, or spoken language skills.

Criteria for SLI: the Stark and Tallal legacy and beyond
Author: E Plante
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Since it first appeared, the Stark and Tallal (1981 ) criteria for the selection of children with specific language impairment (SLI) has had a profound influence on research with this population. A review of the recent literature indicates that these criteria continue to be used, in part or in whole, in current research. However, the recent literature also provides illustrations of the use and interpretations of norm-referenced tests that can serve to update current best practices in subject selection. The original criteria for IQ and language test scores, along with their more recent adaptations, are reconsidered in light of current information on the use of tests with SLI.

Specificity and characteristics of learning disabilities
Authors: Natasha Eisenmajer, Nola Ross, Chris Pratt
Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines
01/11/200511/2005; 46(10):1108-15.
ISSN: 0021-9630
DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00394.x
BACKGROUND:The specificity of impairments in specific reading disabilities (SRD) and specific language impairments (SLI) has recently been questioned,with many children recruited for studies of SRD and SLI demonstrating impairments in both reading and oral language development. This has implications for the results of SRD and SLI studies where both reading and oral language skills are not assessed. Thus there is a need to compare the profiles of children with both oral language and reading impairments to groups of children with SRD and SLI.

From Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development                                                                   
Authors: Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah A. Phillips, Editors, 2000
Board on Children, Youth, and Families National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
Scientists have had a long-standing fascination with the complexities of the process of human development. Parents have always been captivated by the rapid growth and development that characterize the earliest years of their children's lives. Professional service providers continue to search for new knowledge to inform their work. Consequently, one of the distinctive features of the science of early childhood development is the extent to which it evolves under the anxious and eager eyes of millions of families, policy makers, and service providers who seek authoritative guidance as they address the challenges of promoting the health and well-being of young children.

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Programs and Resources

Oral Language Resources

The development of oral language remains the most significant factor in children’s learning and development. In an increasingly visual world, the development of oral language relies on conversations between young children and more competent language users.

This LDA Resource provides Revised Expressive and Receptive Language Individual and Class Checklists, reviews of published resources for developing oral language through games, activities and conversations, and a list of references to several distributors of oral language and other resources. Information on each resource gives details such as who it could be used by and for, language focus, skills addressed, and suggestions for use.


Revised Expressive and Receptive Language Class Checklist
Revised Individual Student Expressive and Receptive Checklist
Spot on Speaking
Away with Words
Language Bites
Pirate Talk
Look Who’s Listening
Story Talk
Word Journey
Distributors of Oral Language and Other Resources

Theoretical Foundations and Principles for Oral Language Development
Konza, D (2011) Research into Practice: Oral Language, Government of South Australia, Department of Education and Children’s Services: Literacy Secretariat, available online: http://www.decs.sa.gov.au/literacy/files/links/UtRP_1_1_v2.pdf
This paper by Deslea Konza introduces a series of papers on the ‘big six’ of literacy, published on the website of South Australia’s DECS Literacy Secretariat. In succinct and readable style, it outlines the importance of oral language with reference to research. It provides principles regarding its development and the role of the teacher, along with a range of practical teaching strategies.

Munro, J (2011) Teaching Oral Language: building a firm foundation using ICPALER in the early primary years. ACER Press. May be purchased from https://shop.acer.edu.au/acer-shop/product/A5165BK
This book provides in-depth theoretical foundations and a model for analysing oral language, well suited to literacy leaders, teachers and researchers who need this deeper understanding. In brief, ICPALER stands for Ideas, Conventions, Purpose, Ability to Learn how to use language, Expressing ideas, Receiving ideas. The chapters of the book unpack each of these dimensions of language and the implications for understanding development, diagnosing difficulties and teaching to support appropriate development.

Other resources

Love and Reilly – Speech and language products
Authors Elizabeth Love and Sue Reilly are Speech Language Pathologists who also have qualifications in education. They worked extensively with individuals who have speech and language impairment and have a particular interest in the relationship between language and literacy development. 'Love and Reilly' create products promoting oral language and literacy for the clinic and in the classroom, while meeting the needs of language learning disabled individuals.

Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), a free peer-reviewed electronic journal established in 1999, is sponsored by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and covers topics related to the development, care, and education of children from birth to approximately age 8. ECRP emphasizes articles reporting on practice-related research and development, and on issues related to practice, parent participation, and policy.

Get Ready to Read!
Get Ready to Read! (GRTR!) is a national initiative to build the early literacy skills of preschool-age children. The initiative provides an easy-to-administer, research-based screening tool to help prepare all preschool children build the skills they need to learn to read when they enter school. This website is a part of NCLD's initiative to provide information to help build early literacy skills by integrating emergent literacy screening and learning activities into routine early childhood education, child-care and parenting practices.

RecognitionandResponse.org is a comprehensive online resource that provides educators with information about this cutting edge approach to early education offering information and resources to help early educators address the needs of young children (3 to 5 year olds) who show signs that they may not be learning in an expected manner, even before they begin kindergarten.

Reading Rockets Early Literacy Development
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers learn skills everyday that will help them become readers. It's an exciting and important time of learning! Other related areas include Parent Tips, Preschool and Childcare, and Phonemic Awareness.

Speech, Language, and Hearing
Before children learn to read, they learn the sounds of language by listening and speaking. These skills provide the foundation for later literacy. Many students who struggle with reading have language-based difficulties including spoken language.
Featured partner: American Speech–Language–Hearing Association

Core Knowledge Language Arts Program Pilot
New York City Public School Three-Year Pilot results for Kindergarten through Grade 2 are now available.
Earlier results from the pilot schools were very promising insofar as student achievement. See a summary the New York City Department of Education evaluation of the NYC Core Knowledge Language Arts Pilot for Kindergarten and Grade 1.

What Your _ Grader Needs to Know
The popular Core Knowledge Grader Series
In one convenient volume per grade — from What Your Preschooler Needs to Know through What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know — the eight-volume Core Knowledge Series provides parents, teachers, and children with an engaging, illustrated introduction to the important knowledge outlined in the Core Knowledge Sequence. Each book suggests related readings and resources. The kindergarten and first grade books also include sections on how children learn to read.

What Your Preschooler Needs to Know
Read-Alouds to Get Ready for Kindergarten
... includes beautifully illustrated selections for parents to read to their 3–5 year old child. You'll find favorite poems and rhymes, beloved stories and fables, and songs, as well as history, science, and fine art read-alouds, all on an appropriate level for your preschooler to understand. Best of all, the read-alouds provide specific sidebar tips to parents to ensure maximum learning and benefit.
Millions of children have benefited from the acclaimed Core Knowledge Series, developed in consultation with parents, educators, and the most distinguished developmental psychologists. In addition to valuable advice to parents, including what it means for a child to be ready for kindergarten, special sidebars throughout the book help parents make reading aloud fun and interactive, suggesting questions to ask, connections to make, and games to play to enrich their preschooler’s learning experience.

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Government Initiatives

A child who is healthy, attends school, and is able to read will have better educational outcomes
This is the sixth and final report in the Education and Health Standing Committee’s Inquiry into improving educational outcomes for Western Australians Inquiry into Improving Educational Outcomes for Western Australians of All Ages. This Report documents three core areas to help improve educational outcomes for Western Australian children, namely:
•    The development of improved strategies to address poor attendance;
•    Focusing on and improving literacy levels from an early age; and
•    Improving the health of preschool and school children.
 The Committee found through the course of the Inquiry a strong correlation between the social determinants of health and educational outcomes.

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Useful Links

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA)
SPA is the national peak body for the speech pathology profession in Australia.
Speech pathologists are university trained allied health professionals with expertise in the assessment and treatment of communication and/or swallowing difficulties.
SPA’s main objectives include:
To prescribe, guide and govern the clinical and ethical standards of members in their practice of speech pathology
To facilitate and promote opportunities for members to pursue knowledge and develop professionally
To disseminate professional positions to key stakeholder groups including: the government, consumers, referrers and the public

Children of the Code
The Children of the Code Project is a ‘case in point’ for how poorly our society understands learning and the personal and societal costs of unhealthy learning. Consisting of over 100 interviews with field leading scientists and scholars the COTC project has produced over 140 video segments that cover subjects ranging from the origin of writing to the neurology involved in producing the virtual language experience we call reading.

A testimonial for Children of the Code says it all: "This is probably the most interesting, educational, insightful, researched, helpful, meaningful information I've received since becoming a teacher." - J. Stillman, Budlong Elementary, L.A. California
The Children of the Code project has five major components:
A Television, DVD and Web documentary series;
A college, university, and professional development DVD series;
A cross-indexed website/database containing videos and transcripts of our interviews with the world's leading experts in fields related to reading;
A variety of professional development events for educators;
A series of presentations for parents, policy makers, and the general public.
All of Children of the Code online resources are free. Public schools and non-profit organizations can freely embed our content in their own courses and websites.

The Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL), is a research to practice technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education, to promote the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based early literacy learning of young children identified with disabilities, developmental delays, and those at risk for poor outcomes.

For Speech-Language Pathologists
Resources developed in partnership with: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
Speech-language pathologists and reading achievement
Literacy is an essential prerequisite to students' academic achievement, social wellbeing, and lifetime opportunities. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have the specialized knowledge and experience that's needed to identify communication disorders and provide the help that children need to build their language literacy skills.
SLPs play an important role in both special education and regular education settings providing classroom-based services,  co-teach with classroom teachers and reading specialists, working with students who are at risk for reading and learning difficulties and with children who are experiencing academic failure - see article Responsiveness to Intervention: New Roles for Speech-Language Pathologists.

NIDCD – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (USA)
The NIDCD, established by the Federal Government, is mandated to conduct and support biomedical and behavioral research and research training in the normal and disordered processes of hearing, balance, smell, taste, voice, speech, and language. The Institute also conducts and supports research and research training related to disease prevention and health promotion; addresses special biomedical and behavioral problems associated with people who have communication impairments or disorders; and supports efforts to create devices which substitute for lost and impaired sensory and communication function

Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development
The Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development (Encyclopedia) is the first comprehensive, authoritative, archival, science-based, bilingual online resource focused on children's language and literacy development for the Canadian education sector. The Encyclopedia helps to provide answers to questions about children's language and literacy – answers that are based on relevant and up-to-date research presented in an easily accessible format. Early learning childcare practitioners, teachers, policymakers, and parents can all draw on the Encyclopedia for reliable, evidence-based information to support their daily practices and to make decisions in the best interests of the children in their care.
This web-based resource was originally developed by the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network (CLLRNet) and was launched in 2007. Since 2010, it has continued to be developed within the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Western Ontario, under the direction of Dr. Donald G. Jamieson (Editor-in-Chief) and Dr. Jeren Balayeva (General Editor).
The Encyclopedia aims to cover a wide range of topics, including the development of oral language, reading, writing, and numeracy. In order to provide in-depth, quality information, each topic (section) is broken down into several Encyclopedia entries, and each entry (an article about 2,000 words in length) focuses on a specific aspect of the topic. Each topic is coordinated by leading Canadian language and literacy researchers who help to identify authors and review entries. The participation of these section editors has been critical to the project's success to date. These individuals will continue to play an invaluable role in the ongoing growth and expansion of the Encyclopedia.
Moreover, the goal of the Encyclopedia is to bring the best international research on language and literacy development to Canada. Thus, in addition to the many expert Canadian researchers contributing to the Encyclopedia, an increasing number of researchers from other countries are becoming involved in this project, including researchers from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Finland, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
Key Messages

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