4-Year-Old Oral Language Assessment
Literacy Network of Kansas – LiNK Definition of Four-Year-Old Language
The overall goal of Literacy Network of Kansas (LiNK) is to provide individuals, from ages birth to grade twelve, with home, community and school support that promotes their current and future achievement as readers. Thus, research on the elements of language that predict reading achievement will provide the basis of LiNK’s definition of four-year-old language. These elements include phonological awareness, vocabulary, andlistening comprehension. All three elements are critical to success in beginning and future success in reading, with vocabularybeing a particularly key element to achievement in both word decoding and reading comprehension.
Looking for a 4-year-old oral language assessment?
It is important for us to build curriculum and instruction that will meet the needs of students from the moment they enter our schools. Our LiNK Literacy Team has weighed in on several tools that can help districts assess the literacy needs of four-year-old students, particularly in the area of oral language. These assessments and links to more information about them are listed below.
The Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test
The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
The Preschool Language Scales
The Preschool Early Literacy Indicators (PELI)
November 12, 2018
To our Literacy Network of Kansas LiNK Grant-funded partners,
We would like to clarify our commitment to early childhood as part of your LiNK projects. Each LiNK project has local goals, but the statewide expectation of all LiNK projects is that we improve communication with early childhood partners, and work to develop additional partnerships and family engagement with children ages birth to five.
Expectations of your LiNK project for birth to five:
1. Administer the ASQ-3 for all students enrolled in your 4-year old preschool programs. (48-month version).
2. If your school district did NOT administer the ASQ-3 for enrolled 4-year-old students, we will NOT be collecting this data for your school district and your baseline data for year 1 will reflect that 0 students completed the assessment. ASQ-3 data for USD-enrolled 4-year-old students in years 2 and 3 will be collected, so please ensure your district has a plan in place for completion of these assessments for the next two years.
3. The ASQ-3 is required by KSDE for incoming kindergarten students, but several LiNK schools are finding that they want more information about their early learners than what the ASQ-3 provides. We highly recommend and support LiNK schools choosing to collect additional language assessment data for students prior to kindergarten, but this will NOT be required of LiNK projects. Kansas Literacy Team members with expertise in the field of early childhood have weighed in on several tools to assess the literacy needs of 4-year-old students, particularly in the area of oral language.
4. During LiNK years 2 and 3, it is appropriate to include additional early childhood providers such as other public and private daycares within your community. We hope that including your additional partners will help to assess the literacy needs of students, and these results can be included in your local evaluation results.
Kim Muff, LiNK Project Director, Kansas State Department of Education
This bibliography is a sampling of studies that support the definition of four-year-old language provided above. The message across all studies is that language development of a child plays a critical role in reading achievement.
Many studies have found that phonological awareness (PA) is a strong predictor of word decoding, which along with vocabulary and listening comprehension, predict reading comprehension. Today’s kindergarten teachers commonly focus on PA, however it is important to note that phonological awareness does not exist in a vacuum. Oral language (often measured as a combination of listening comprehension and vocabulary)and phonological awareness are highly correlated in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children (e.g. Foorman, Herrera, Petscher, Mitchell, & Truckenmiller, 2015; Kendeou, van den Broek, White, & Lynch, 2009).
The vocabulary level of a young child is a variable in a number of studies, including those that examine its relationship to phonological awareness and early reading skills (e.g. Metsala & Walley, 1998) and reading comprehension even as late as 10thgrade (Stanley, Petscher, & Catts, 2018). The authors of another recent study with students in first through fourth grade stated of their findings that “previous levels of vocabulary knowledge acted as leading indicators of reading comprehension” (Quinn, Wagner, Petscher, & Lopez, 2015, p. 159). Catts, Nielsen, Bridges and Liu (2016) had similar findings with children followed from kindergarten through grade three. While the participants in these examples of studies were not preschoolers, the fact that gaps in vocabulary knowledge begin at a very young age (Hart & Risley, 1995) makes the importance of vocabulary as a key element within this 4-year-old language definition particularly relevant and a message that needs to get out to teachers.
Cain, K., Oakhill, J., & Bryant, P. (2004). Children’s reading comprehension ability: Concurrent prediction by working memory, verbal ability, and component skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 31–42. doi:10.1037/ 0022-06184.108.40.206
Catts, H. W., Herrera, S., Nielsen, D. C., & Bridges, M. S. (2015). Early prediction of reading comprehension within the simple view framework. Reading and Writing, 28(9), 1407-1425.
Catts, H. W., Nielsen, D. C., Bridges, M. S., & Liu, Y. S. (2016). Early identification of reading comprehension difficulties. Journal of learning disabilities, 49(5), 451-465.
Catts, H. W., Fey, M. E., Zhang, X., & Tomblin, J. B. (1999). Language basis of reading and reading disabilities: Evidence from a longitudinal investigation. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 331–361. doi:10.1207/s1532799xssr0304_2
Foorman, B. R., Herrera, S., Petscher, Y., Mitchell, A., & Truckenmiller, A. (2015). The structure of oral language and reading and their relation to comprehension in kindergarten through grade 2. Reading and writing, 28(5), 655-681.
García, J. R., & Cain, K. (2014). Decoding and reading comprehension: A meta-analysis to identify which reader and assessment characteristics influence the strength of the relationship in English. Review of Educational Research, 84(1), 74-111.
Hadley, E. B., Dickinson, D. K., Hirsh‐Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Nesbitt, K. T. (2016). Examining the acquisition of vocabulary knowledge depth among preschool students. Reading Research Quarterly, 51(2), 181-198.
Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Paul H Brookes Publishing.
Kendeou, P., van den Broek, P., White, M., & Lynch, J. S. (2009). Predicting reading comprehension in early elementary school: The independent contributions of oral language and decoding skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 765–778.
Language and Reading Research Consortium. (2015). The dimensionality of language ability in young children. Child Development, 86(6), 1948-1965.
Murphy, K. A., & Farquharson, K. (2016). Investigating profiles of lexical quality in preschool and their contribution to first grade reading. Reading and Writing, 29(9), 1745-1770.
Nation, K., Cocksey, J., Taylor, J. S., & Bishop, D. V. (2010). A longitudinal investigation of early reading and language skills in children with poor reading comprehension. Journal of child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(9), 1031-1039. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02254
Quinn, J. M., Wagner, R. K., Petscher, Y., & Lopez, D. (2015). Developmental relations between vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension: A latent change score modeling study. Child development, 86(1), 159-175. doi:10.1111/cdev.12292
Stanley, C. T., Petscher, Y., & Catts, H. (2018). A longitudinal investigation of direct and indirect links between reading skills in kindergarten and reading comprehension in tenth grade.Reading and Writing,31(1), 133-153.