Friday, August 3, 2012

Listening Skills and Inference

Question: What role does inference play in listening skills in children, ages 4 to 6?

Answer/Quote: “Vocabulary and verbal memory are necessary for inference making within narratives. Children need to understand words and have mental resources to connect different ideas to make inferences within narratives. Simultaneously, inference making may well facilitate vocabulary acquisition, as children learn to infer the meanings of words from context. Our findings support the theorized reciprocal relationship between vocabulary and inference-making skills, although the facilitating role of verbal memory is less clear. Overall, the contribution of inference-making skills to the development of narrative listening comprehension from age 4 to age 6 indicates that inference skills are already in place among pre-readers and play an important role in the construction of a meaning-based representation of a narrative.” P. 277.

Comment :4 to 6 year-olds already have in place the inferencing skills needed to learn vocabulary from context and for listening to narratives. Therefore, one can assume that pre-readers already have the skills needed to make inferences as they learn to read narrative materials. It would seem that teachers should take advantage of students’ ability to draw inferences when learning to read with narrative materials. Interesting finding. RayS.

Title: “The Role of Inference Making and Other Language Skills in the Development of Narrative Listening Comprehension in 4 -6-Year-Old Children.” Janne Lepola, et al. Reading Research Quarterly (July/ August/ September, 2012), 259-280.

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