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Knowing the demands

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

Learners who do not understand the meanings of spoken English words (a receptive listening vocabulary) will not be able to develop reading and writing skills in English. It is vital that first attempts at reading and writing revolve around language that is meaningful and familiar to the learner. Before learners begin to develop phonological awareness and decoding/spelling skills, they need to be familiar with the sounds of English.

The need to develop this familiarity applies particularly to those ESOL learners who are not literate in their mother tongue or who come from a language background that uses a non-Roman alphabet (for example, Arabic, Chinese, Thai, Tamil).

We can realistically assume that learners who are bilingual in English and another language (for example, te reo Māori), or who have English as their first language will already have acquired sufficient receptive listening vocabulary to develop their reading and writing skills.15 If they have not (that is, if a speaker whose mother tongue is English appears to have a limited listening vocabulary), then the suggestions in this starting point may be of use.

15 Christie with Delaruelle, 2002.




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