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Communication, Language & Literacy

Communication, Language and Literacy Domain (CLL)

From birth, children are learning language and developing the ability to communicate. The Communication, Language and Literacy domain describes many important aspects of children’s language and early literacy development.

Language development begins with children’s ability to understand what others are communicating to them. Infants and toddlers understand more words than they can say. Children learn the meaning of words and other forms of communication first. They gradually learn to express themselves, starting with the ability to express their needs through crying, gesturing, and facial expressions, and later using words. By the time they are preschoolers, most children have developed a large vocabulary and are learning the rules of language such as grammar.

As children are learning the language their family speaks, it is also a good time for them to begin learning to speak another language. Brain research clearly shows that learning new languages is much easier if children begin early in life. During the first years of life, connections are being formed in the brain. When children hear the sounds of language, they form connections in the brain that expand the potential for further learning in that language. If children do not hear a language in the early years and form these connections, it will be much harder for them to learn it later. There are many advantages to learning a new language, including stronger cognitive abilities such as flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and better listening skills. In addition, learning a new language improves a child’s understanding of native language. Therefore, the Early Learning Guidelines elevates the value that preschoolers have opportunities to begin to learn a new language, which ideally would be a language that is used in their community. For instance, if there are a large number of Spanish speakers in the community, Spanish would be a natural choice as a new language that children begin to learn. Even sign language can readily be included in daily routines.

Children whose families speak a language other than English at home are learning English as a new language. The Early Learning Guidelines refer to this type of language learning as “Dual Language Learning” (DLL) because children are learning to communicate in their home language and in English. Dual Language Learning children need to continue to learn and speak their family’s language because learning their home language lays the foundation for learning English plus they will learn other concepts more easily. Children whose families speak a language other than English will probably demonstrate progress on the Early Learning Guidelines in their home language, so it is important to encourage children and their families to continue to use their own language while they are learning English.

Teachers and caregivers should keep in mind that children with disabilities may need extra support when they are communicating with others. They may need listening devices to help them hear so that they can learn the sounds, words, and expressions used in language. They may need therapy or assistive devices to help them communicate clearly. Teachers and caregivers should communicate with and observe young children carefully to determine if they are picking up communication skills early on and seek additional assistance if a child is delayed in this area.

Children also learn many important early literacy skills as they grow and develop. The youngest children build their foundation for reading and writing as they explore books, listen to songs and nursery rhymes, hear stories, and begin to draw and scribble. Preschoolers learn to follow along as someone reads to them, remember familiar stories and talk about them, learn the names of the letters of the alphabet, and begin to be more intentional about what they draw and scribble. Children also develop phonological awareness as they play with the sounds of language. All of these characteristics and skills are important because they lay the foundation for children to become successful readers and writers in elementary school. Given a good early foundation some children develop these characteristics before entering kindergarten while others may develop them later. Adults build nurturing relationships by paying close attention to what children are trying to communicate. Responding consistently to children’s communication, children become good communicators. This is especially important for infants and toddlers as they learn first how to communicate nonverbally and then with words. Teachers and caregivers also promote communication skills and early literacy skills as they talk with, read to, and sing with children of all ages. Children learn that reading and writing are important as they see adults using these skills in everyday life. Adults can point out letters, help children follow print, and play games to introduce early literacy concepts such as the sounds included in words. Technology and interactive media are tools to help children record their thoughts in pictures and words which are important aspects of early writing skills. Children best learn early literacy skills while participating in daily routines

Communication, Language and (CLL) Domain

Component: Communicating and Oral Language Development

Goal CLL-1: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children successfully communicate for multiple purposes.

Goal CLL-2: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children speak clearly and use the grammar of their home language.

Goal CLL-3: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children understand and use an ever- expanding vocabulary.

Component: Foundations for Reading

Goal CLL-4: Through their explorations, play and social interactions, children develop interest, motivation, and appreciation for literacy-based materials and activities.

Goal CLL-5: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children comprehend, use, and begin to reflect on and analyze information in books and other media.

Goal CLL-6: Through their explorations, play and social interactions, children begin to recognize basic concepts of print and discover that they can get meaning from print.

Goal CLL-7: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children listen, identify, and respond to sounds, and develop phonological awareness.

Goal CLL-8: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children develop knowledge of letters and the alphabetic principle.

Component: Foundations for Writing

Goal CLL-9: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children use writing and drawing as means of communication.

Goal CLL-10: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions, children grow in their understanding of letters and writing skills.

Component: Learning New Languages

Goal CLL-11: Through their explorations, play, and social interactions children demonstrate an understanding that there are multiple languages and begin to communicate in another language other than their home language.

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