How Young Children Learn to Read

Oral language is one of the key early predictors of reading and school success-- but why are language supports largely missing from early childhood classrooms? Come and learn more-- and how to help!

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Research has found oral language to be one of the key early predictors of reading and school success. Despite these findings, language supports and meaningful, developmentally appropriate vocabulary teaching is often absent or insufficient in early childhood classrooms. To ensure that students are prepared for formal reading instruction in early elementary, early childhood staff need sophisticated understanding of how to help young children's language develop. in age-appropriate ways. 

This hands-on, engaging, practical session will help participants learn about how to support young children's language development, and how language directly relates to the development of reading and writing abilities. Participants will learn many practical strategies that can be implemented without extra materials, and with ease, immediately. Professionals at all levels of experience can benefit from learning more about young children's language development, as well as strategies that are easy to implement.

About the Instructor

Sarah Dennis, Ph.D., has a Masters in Literacy Education and a Doctorate in Education from New York University. She has coached and taught early childhood teachers, and undergraduates & Master’s students (at NYU, Roosevelt University, and Loyola University) for 15 years. She has worked at Erikson Institute and the Ounce of Prevention Fund. She received the Distinguished Education Research Article Award from the Association for Childhood Education International. 


This workshop will help participants:

  • understand how young children's language (receptive and expressive) develops, and how that language is linked to early reading and school success
  • understand specific strategies to support young children's language development
  • reflect on their own practice with specific tools and techniques towards continual improvement 

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