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Enhancing Literacy Development in European Languages

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Improving language literacy

Research consisting of overlapping cross-linguistic studies has revealed the language-specific and language-general factors affecting literacy development.

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There has been little study on the factors affecting literacy skills development in European languages. The EU-funded ELDEL (Enhancing literacy development in European languages) project sought to change this. As such, it examined the make-up of culture-appropriate intervention programmes and the way people learn and process information in language learning. Seven partners from five countries made up the network which created a model that shed light on the connecting psychological and environmental factors that determine literacy skills. Training of young researchers about literacy was also involved. The research showed that literacy development is predicted by identical foundation skills in all alphabetic languages. New teaching programmes for vocabulary enrichment of at-risk children helped English pre-school and Spanish primary school students. When confronted with difficult spelling/grammar problems, both young and experienced writers make similar grammatical errors. This suggests that the mental processes involved in writing do not change with age. The cross-linguistic collaboration produced a diagnostic assessment of children’s oral languages and literacy skills in all five languages used. Accomplishments were also made in research ethics and development. Visiting researchers provided advanced training in relevant skills through workshops and short courses. Results have been disseminated via publishing conferences and workshops, reports and on the website. ELDEL outcomes will be helpful to policy makers and national ministries of education in terms of learning and teaching literacy and best practice when dealing with learning disabilities.


Cross-linguistic studies, language-specific, language-general, literacy development, culture-appropriate intervention programmes, language learning

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