Document Type


Publication Date


Journal/Book Title/Conference

National Conference on Undergraduate Research; University of Montana - Missoula, 2010

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Faculty Mentor

Sandra Gillam

Exhibition Venue

National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Funding Agency

Honors Department, ASUSU


Westby (1985) has characterized language development in terms of an “oral-literature” continuum. Oral language resides at one end of this continuum while “literate language” resides at the other. Broadly defined, oral language acquisition has been characterized as the process by which children “learn to talk.” Literate language has been described as “talking to learn.” Literate language is used to monitor, reflect, reason, plan and predict and is more “scholarly” than oral language. Children who use literate tend to perform well in school (Wallach & Butler, 1994) and have diverse vocabularies that can be used to describe and elaborate on concepts that they are learning. Children with language impairments may have more difficulty learning and using a diverse vocabulary and literate language than children who are developing typically (Greenhalgh & Strong, 2001). Therefore, intervention approaches that incorporate training in the use of literate language are needed. The purpose of this study was to examine language productivity and literate language use in school-age children with language impairments who received one of two intervention approaches. Their performance was compared to a control group (CON) who did not receive intervention. A total of 24 children between the ages of 7-9 participated in the study. Children were randomly assigned to 1) Literature Based Language Intervention (LBLI), 2) Drill-Based Language Intervention. Their performance was compared to a matched control group who were not receiving intervention. Children’s language was assessed using standardized measures of language and narration. Language samples were taken from these assessments and analyzed for language productivity and literate language use. General language productivity measures included mean length of utterance (MLU), number of different words (NDW), and total number of words (TNW). Literate language was measured by examining the frequency with which children used conjunctions, elaborated noun phrases (ENP), mental and linguistic verbs, and adverbs.

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