Emergent Literacy and Language Development

Promoting Learning in Early Childhood

Edited by Paula M. Rhyner

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
June 18, 2009
ISBN 9781606233009
Price: $40.00
240 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
March 1, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $40.00
240 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $80.00 $44.00
240 Pages

This concise, accessible book explores the connection between language acquisition and emergent literacy skills, and how this sets the stage for later literacy development. Chapters address formative early experiences such as speaking and listening, being read to, and talking about print concepts and the alphabet. Written for early childhood professionals, reading specialists, and speech–language pathologists, the book describes effective assessment and instructional approaches for fostering language learning and emergent literacy in typically developing children and those at risk for language delays. Vivid case examples illustrate specific ways to collaborate with parents to give all children a strong foundation for school readiness and success.

“I recommend this book for two reasons. The first is its cross-disciplinary perspective: the focus is strongly placed on the bidirectional links between early language development (in all its aspects of form, content, and use) and emergent literacy. This makes the book equally applicable to teachers, educational psychologists, and speech and language therapists. Proponents of recent initiatives that provide cross-disciplinary training should find this book speaks to what they believe: that a child's development and learning should not be viewed separately. The second reason for strongly recommending this book is that it is one of a few books that addresses the needs of all children: not only the child at risk of delay, but also the child whose oral language development may differ as a result of socio-economic, cultural or linguistic diversity, and the 'universal' child who is developing normally but whose teachers and parents could benefit from guidance in the areas of language and emergent literacy....At a time when there is ever-greater concern about low levels of language and literacy in the general population, this book is a relevant, practical, and timely summary of important debates and findings in the field of early language and emergent literacy.”

International Journal of Language and Communication

“An excellent resource for practitionersespecially early childhood educators, reading specialists, and speech-language pathologists. It also provides strong models for graduate students in these fields who are learning how to conduct research and procedures they can use when working with young children....Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections.”


“Top-notch scholars have made an important contribution in this highly valuable work. The contributors unlock the 'black box' of oral language development and vividly show its connection to literacy learning in the early years. I can’t think of a better book to recommend to those who are interested in early childhood development and early literacy. Reflecting the latest research in the field, it’s a real winner.”

—Susan B. Neuman, EdD, Teaching and Learning Department, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University

“This timely book does an excellent job of tackling the extremely important connections between language and early literacy. It addresses the essential components and processes of young children's learning, and of intervention, with breadth and depth. Well-integrated chapters from experts in the field cover foundational practices and theories that every early child educator should know.”

—Barbara Culatta, PhD, Department of Communication Disorders and Associate Dean, McKay School of Education, Brigham Young University

Emergent Literacy and Language Development provides a first-rate overview of research and theoretical models about the development of language, reading, and writing. The case studies demonstrate the application of research and theory to practice with young children, based on their individual needs. As an Early Reading First project director, I plan to share this outstanding resource with reading coaches, interventionists, and preschool teachers.”

—April Whatley Bedford, PhD, Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of New Orleans

Table of Contents

Introduction, Paula M. Rhyner

1. Understanding Frameworks for the Emergent Literacy Stage, Paula M. Rhyner, Eileen K. Haebig, and Kaycee M. West

2. Book Sharing and the Development of Meaning, Judith Vander Woude, Anne van Kleeck, and Elizabeth Vander Veen

3. Metaphonological Awareness: Enhancing Literacy Skills, Elizabeth Hester and Barbara W. Hodson

4. Early Writing and Spelling Development, Joan N. Kaderavek, Sonia Q. Cabell, and Laura M. Justice

5. Children’s Early Narratives, Froma P. Roth

6. Multiculturalism, Language, and Emergent Literacy, Dolores E. Battle

About the Editor

Paula M. Rhyner, PhD, CCC-SLP, is Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). She is a Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language and has served in various roles on the Specialty Board on Child Language, including that of Chair. Dr. Rhyner is a member of the editorial board for Communication Disorders Quarterly, and served as an Associate Editor for Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. She directs the Child Language Lab at UWM, which conducts interdisciplinary research in areas related to development and disabilities in children from birth through 5 years of age. Her published research on language assessment and intervention and her interest in emergent literacy and early language acquisition led her to collaborate with the series editors and the other contributing authors to create this book.


Dolores E. Battle, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Buffalo State College, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York

Sonia Q. Cabell, PhD, Research Staff, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Eileen K. Haebig, BS, graduate student, Department of Communicative Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Elizabeth Hester, PhD, CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication Disorders, State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, New York

Barbara W. Hodson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas

Laura M. Justice, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, College of Teaching and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Joan N. Kaderavek, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Early Childhood, Physical, and Special Education, Judith Herb College of Education, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio

Paula M. Rhyner, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Froma P. Roth, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

Elizabeth Vander Veen, BA, graduate student, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Judith Vander Woude, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Anne van Kleeck, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor and Callier Research Scholar, Callier Center for Communication Disorders, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Kaycee M. West, MS, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Elmbrook School District, Brookfield, Wisconsin


Reading specialists, speech–language pathologists, and early childhood educators (general and special education).

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.