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Important Constructs in Literacy Learning across Disciplines

Foorman, Barbara R. PhD; Arndt, Elissa J. PhD; Crawford, Elizabeth C. PhD

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e31820a0b86
Oral and Written Language Connections within Children and across Disciplines

Currently students who struggle with language and literacy learning are classified with various labels in different states—language learning disabilities, dyslexia, specific language impairment, and specific learning disability—in spite of having similar diagnostic profiles. Drawing on the research on comprehension of written language, we propose common language for teachers of language and literacy to use in planning intervention. The common language is based on a common set of constructs and measures rooted in research in linguistics and psychology and applied to educational science. The common constructs are knowledge of phonological structures, knowledge of the alphabetic principle, fluency in decoding and encoding, comprehension of oral and written language, and extensive reading and writing. The common language should facilitate communication between speech, language, and reading specialists in their efforts to address intraindividual differences in individual students with evidence-based diagnostic profiles that can inform treatment.

Author Affiliation: Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University, Tallahassee.

Barbara R. Foorman, PhD, Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University, 2010 Levy Ave, Ste 100, Tallahassee, FL 32310 (

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins