The linkages across listening, speaking, reading, drawing and writing

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This investigation examined the linkages between and across the language processes of listening, speaking, reading, drawing and writing as well as the meanings displayed within and across these modes in children’s response to story. Eight first grade children whose reading levels represented a range of low to above-average ability participated in four individual storyreading sessions for a total of 32 sessions. Each session was twenty-to-thirty minutes in length and took place during the class's reading/writing period. Drawing/writing samples, field notes, and videotapes and audiotapes were collected over a six week period. The drawing/writing composing sequence was recorded for each story and flow charts were made depicting each child's pattern of movement between and across language processes. The flow charts were used to examine the language process usage and linkage patterns evident in the movement between and across modes.

The kinds of meanings examined included response to conference questions, functions of language displayed during the drawing/writing, and the coherence and specificity present in the story retellings and picture stories.

The results of the study indicated that no one particular language process was chosen exclusively to convey meaning in response to story. Some linkage patterns, described as simultaneous or sequential, did occur more frequently than others. The simultaneous linkage pattern of talking/listening and drawing/picture reading was a common pattern displayed by both the high and low ability groups.

An analysis of the response to conference questions revealed some awareness by the children of their drawing/writing composing strategies. Another aspect of process knowledge, concept of story, was seen in the analysis of the initial image drawn or written by each child. The functions of language displayed during the drawing/writing composing process were identified as informational, procedural, and format-regulatory. The concept knowledge, examined in terms of coherence and specificity, was characteristic of the categories described as skeletal and interpretational for both groups' story retellings and picture stories.

This study suggested that children differ in the way they use the language processes to display meaning in response to story. Parallels were drawn in examining children's thinking processes across the modes. This study supports the notion that recognition and understanding of the various ways children communicate meaning can help educators in their roles as facilitators of language learning.