Profile: Language and Emergent Literacy Deficits—Joey
Joey is 7 years of age and in first grade. On the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL) Caregiver Questionnaire, Joey’s mother and teacher agreed that he is having difficulty finding the right words to express his thoughts, telling a coherent story, and learning the connection between sounds and letters.
His mother also expressed concern about Joey being retained in first grade if his language and emergent literacy skills continue to show delays. When they were young, Joey’s father and uncles had similar difficulties in school; and his father dropped out of a community college after only a year.
On the ALL, Joey had difficulty on both spoken and language and emergent literacy tasks. His knowledge of working meanings and grammar and his understanding of stories showed deficits as did his knowledge of rhyming and other tasks measuring how sound combine to form words.
Overall, Joey achieved a depressed Language Composite below the 1st percentile and an Emergent Literacy Composite at the 5th percentile. In the area of emergent literacy, Joey performed more poorly on tasks than he did on tasks involving knowledge of sound and letter association (Phonological Orthographic Composite at the 27th percentile). Joey’s performance on the ALL is consistent with Profile: Language and Emergent Literacy Deficits.
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Profile: Emergent Literacy Deficit Only—Michael
Michael is 5 years and 7 months of age and in the fall semester of kindergarten. On the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL) Caregiver Questionnaire, both Michael’s mother and his teacher noted that he is having difficulty learning letter names and writing letters. When Michael writes, his pencil grip is unstable, and his handwriting is messy. His mother questions whether he has dyslexia or some other type of learning disability, or whether he simply needs more time to learn to read. Michael’s father and his older brother both have dyslexia.
On the ALL, Michael performed in the average to above average range on all spoken language tasks evaluating knowledge or word meanings and grammar and understanding of stories. In contrast, his performance on emergent literacy tasks (e.g., rhyme knowledge, alliteration, and sight word recognition) was in the poor range, with the exception of letter knowledge.
Overall, Michael achieved a Language Composite at the 50th percentile, while he achieved an Emergent Literacy Composite at the 9th percentile. In the area of emergent literacy, Michael performed poorly on tasks requiring sensitivity to the sounds in words alone (e.g., Phonological Composite at the 7th percentile) than he did on tasks involving knowledge of sound and letter associations (Phonological Orthographic Composite at the 21st percentile).
Michael strengths in spoken language and weaknesses in emergent literacy are consistent with Profile: Emergent Literacy Deficit Only. This profile, in combination with his family history of reading difficulties, places Michael at high risk for later diagnosis of developmental dyslexia.
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Profile: Weak Language and Emergent Literacy—Maria
Maria is 4 years of age and enrolled in Head Start. On the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL) Caregiver Questionnaire, Maria’s teacher described her as a reluctant talker, a child of few words. Further, she only recognizes a few letters, cannot write her name, and rarely takes part in group activities involving rhymes, jingles, and songs. Maria comes from a single parent home when Spanish is the first language. Her mother works at a local fast food restaurant and earns less than $15,000 a year.
On the ALL, Maria had difficulty on both spoken language and emergent literacy tasks. She performed in the below average range on tasks involving knowledge of word meanings and grammar an in the low average range on a task involving understanding of stories.
Overall, Maria achieved depressed Language Composite at the 14th percentile and Emergent Literacy Composite at the 15th percentile. Maria’s performance on the ALL is consistent with Profile: Weak Language and Emergent Literacy. Children demonstrating this profile often come from low income backgrounds that are culturally and linguistically diverse. Although these children are at high risk for later reading difficulties, often the difficulties can be prevented with early, intensive, and explicit instruction in developmentally appropriate language and emergent literacy activities.
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Profile: Language Disorder Only—Laurie
Laurie is 4 years of age and enrolled in a local preschool program. On the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL) Caregiver Questionnaire, Laurie’s mother described her as a late talker. At 23-months of age, she began using single words consistently; and at 30 months she combined words such as “more cookie” and “Laurie go”.
Laurie received language therapy for a year between the ages of 2 and 3; however, her mother believes that her sentences continue to sound “immature”, and that she has difficulty following directions.
On the ALL, Laurie had difficulty on spoken language tasks that measured her knowledge of word meanings and grammar and her understanding of stories. In contrast, she performed well on emergent literacy tasks that evaluated her knowledge of letters, sounds, sound-letter associations, and sight word recognition.
Overall, she achieved a depressed Language Composite at the 12th percentile and an average Emergent Literacy Composite at the 55th percentile, placing her in Profile: Language Disorder only. Laurie is at-risk for future difficulties in reading comprehension based on weak knowledge of word meaning, grammar, and story comprehension.
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