Journal des troubles de la communication, des études sur les sourds et des aides auditives

Journal des troubles de la communication, des études sur les sourds et des aides auditives
Libre accès

ISSN: 2375-4427


Intervention Activities and Strategies for Promoting Academic Language in Preschoolers and Kindergartners

Anne van Kleeck

Teaching academic language has recently become a separate focus from teaching subject content for schoolaged children, but it is rarely considered with preschoolers and kindergartners. The critical importance of fostering academic language before children enter elementary school has recently been posited and supported by various strands of research, and the term academic talk has been used to capture the fact that early exposure to and use of this register is in the oral modality only. There is a pressing need for an early focus on this register for children with language impairments, given that their language weaknesses often foreshadow academic difficulties. In this article, an integrative framework of academic talk developed by van Kleeck is used to discuss concrete ways in which professionals can foster the social-interactive and cognitive features of academic talk among young prereading children. A focus on these social-interactive and cognitive features, which provide a coherent and accessible conceptual framework for the interventionist, automatically recruits the many specific linguistic features that have been found to be characteristic of academic language. Previous research has directly or indirectly shown that preschool and kindergarten children’s exposure individually to each of these features is associated with future academic success. However, this previous research has not provided a construct for considering the full constellation of features that combine to create the academic talk register. This article provides ideas for approaching these features individually at first, but then posits the need to gradually combine a focus on more and more features simultaneously to more completely reflect the nature of the academic talk register.