ISSUE 7   May 2004  


Road map to language and literacy project


The overall well-being of Canadians depends to a great extent on how well we are able to promote our children's acquisition of language and literacy skills. Collaboration among all individuals and agencies concerned with the development of young children is critical.








To be effective and efficient, this collaboration must be based on a thorough understanding of how children develop language and literacy skills. Unfortunately, the true complexity and ongoing nature of this developmental process is not adequately conveyed by current and available resources.

The Road Map to Language and Literacy Project is dedicated to the creation of accessible resources that will provide evidence-based information on children's language and literacy development. Network researchers recognize that children's language and literacy skills evolve under the influence of a multitude of factors both within each child and within the environment. Such factors include neural development, the adequacy of sensory inputs and processing, exposure to facilitating and engaging environments, and social and economic circumstances. The resources created by the Road Map to Language and Literacy Project will combine the best of what is known about each of the relevant factors and their interactions to provide the big picture of how children's abilities as language and literacy learners develop from infancy onwards.

In keeping with The Network's vision of sharing the science, the strength of the Road Map Project lies in the coming together of multiple perspectives. Currently, the main project team at the Center for Research on Literacy of the University of Alberta in Edmonton is testing and refining the process that will be used to review the available scientific knowledge in a systematic and bias-free manner. The review will ultimately be facilitated by a panel of Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network researchers selected to provide as wide and appropriate a range of expertise as possible. The overall project will be user-driven in that consultation with potential users of the Road Map resources will be ongoing and will direct the resources content and design. Potential users include parents, caregivers, teachers, early childhood educators, public health nurses, early intervention workers, medical professionals, and other community health and education workers.

The Road Map to Language and Literacy Project is unique in its scope and its attention to sharing the science of language and literacy development in a manner accessible and relevant to all. The knowledge that it will create and share will facilitate improvements to the programs and practices used to strengthen the language and literacy skills of Canada's children.

For more information, please contact , or , at the Centre for Research on Literacy at the University of Alberta, or at the Department of Otolaryngology at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto.