City Research Online

Literacy in the mainstream inner-city school: Its relationship to spoken language

Myers, L. & Botting, N. (2008). Literacy in the mainstream inner-city school: Its relationship to spoken language. Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 24(1), pp. 95-114. doi: 10.1177/0265659007084570


This study describes the language and literacy skills of 11-year-olds attending a mainstream school in an area of social and economic disadvantage. The proportion of these young people experiencing difficulties in decoding and reading comprehension was identified and the relationship between spoken language skills and reading comprehension explored. The study recruited 36 individuals from a mainstream secondary school who were representative of the year group as a whole. Detailed spoken language and literacy assessments were carried out and information about educational attainment and special educational needs were obtained. Participants had significantly lower mean language and literacy scores than published test norms on all measures except story-telling. Twenty-one (58%) participants showed reading comprehension difficulties, 10 of whom also had difficulties with decoding. Participants with reading comprehension difficulties had significantly lower spoken language skills. A significant proportion of this group experience difficulties in literacy with associated spoken language deficits. The nature of the relationship between language and literacy skills, issues of identification and intervention are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright Sage 2008
Publisher Keywords: adolescents, disadvantage, language, literacy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
Text - Accepted Version
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