Toddlers’ and Children’s Language Competence as a Predictor of Early and Later Literacy Ljubica Marjanovič Umek
Summary: This article examines literacy as a child’s individual mental process that is socially transmitted, takes place in the context of language and culture, and has its roots in emergent literacy. The reconceptualization of literacy is largely supported by premises from socio-cultural and psycholinguistic theory, as well as by the findings of a large number of studies on the development of cognitive processes (especially language) that underlie literacy and are a stable predictor of children’s early or later literacy. Also supporting this work are studies on the influence of socio-cultural factors in the environment on literacy (including parental education, quality of interaction between adults and children, quality and frequency of stimulating children’s verbal development, a symbol supported environment, and teaching and learning in formal and informal preschool contexts). Special attention is directed toward explaining the positive effect of individual components of children’s language (e.g., vocabulary, metalinguistic awareness and storytelling) on the development of emergent literacy and toward presenting the various contexts and activities in the family and preschool environment that have a direct or indirect positive effect on the development and learning of literacy. Consideration is also given to the inclusion of new perspectives on emergent literacy in Slovenian preschools and in the transition from preschool to primary school.