Understanding higher order language skills

Mar 4, 2012 by

Understanding higher order language skills

This article was originally posted in Your Middle Schooler: A Unique Age in February 2008.  It was the first in a series of articles on Higher Order Language Development.  The importance of higher order language development and what to do to foster higher order language development.  In following articles I will address strategies to foster understanding and use of higher order language development.  If you have a specific concern in this area contact me.

Develop Those Higher Level Language Skills!

During the middle school years, students are beginning to develop higher level language abilities. Most students do this so naturally we do not even notice. Teachers do their best to help students gradually develop mature language skills. However, students with language disabilities or just weak academic habits may have difficulty acquiring these higher level language skills.

What are some higher level language skills?

• Development of mature vocabulary
• Understanding of word relationships such as homophones and homographs
• Understanding and use of figurative expressions
• Organization of mature sentences (oral and written)
• Understanding and use of mature grammatical structures (oral and written)
• Ability to draw conclusions and inferences
• Ability to paraphrase and rephrase with ease
• Ability to reason
• Looking at things from another’s perspective

Concerns when Students do not attain higher level language skills.

• Difficulty with comprehension (oral and written)
• Unable to understand and make connections and associations
• Difficulty understand jokes, riddles and humor in general
• Inability to organize language
• Writing skills will suffer
• Poor problem solving skills
• Inability to be flexible with language ( I will explain more about that later)
• Academic success is effected
• Immature pragmatic abilities (social speech skills)

   Misunderstandings in social situations

Many simple activities can help foster development of higher level language skills. Keep an eye on my blog. I will continue to provide information and suggestions for intervention. If you need me to address an area ASAP or you have specific questions drop me a comment.


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