HEADLINES Published October21, 2014 By Staff Writer

Oral Abilities of Children Can Detect Writing Problems in the Future

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learning french among children
(Photo : geralt-pixabay)

The way children form sentences in correct grammar or syntax may be indicative of potential writing difficulties, a study reveals.

Two researchers from University of Montreal conducted a study that aims to establish the relationship between oral and written skills. Alexandra Marquis and Phaedra Royle presented their results during the International Conference on the Acquisition of Romance Languages on September 18, in Palma, Spain.

For the study, they reached out to 71 children whose ages ranged from 6 to 9 years old. Over half of the students were unilingual, which means they only spoke French. The rest were multilingual, with French either their second or third language.

The participants then underwent a test where their oral skills were measured, such as in verb conjugations. In the following year, their written abilities were put to test including a dictation and morphosyntactic exam.

The results revealed that there seems to be a strong correlation between oral abilities of children and their future writing skills. Children who show morphological awareness in their language-that is, they can manipulate words or parts of a speech and have a deeper understanding of syntax, like in forming plurals-fare better when it comes to writing.

However, the interesting findings don't stop there. Based on the data they have gathered, children who are unilingual or consider French as their native tongue rated higher in oral abilities, but when it comes to written skills, the number of languages a child can speak doesn't make any difference. This simply means that learning multiple languages doesn't cause any writing impediments, contrary to what many people believe.

Considering there's not much literature available that is similar to the study conducted by Royle and Marquis, their work is significant in the field of learning. It may be used to provide the necessary intervention and customized education for children who may have language disorders. 

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