Metalinguistic skills of children

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This chapter addresses the metalinguistic skills of children from three perspectives. (1) The use of children’s ability to make judgments of grammaticality and reference to test hypotheses about their grammatical knowledge. (2) The development of children’s metalinguistic skills in middle childhood. (3) The fact that some metalinguistic skills are associated with early reading ability. It is proposed that metalinguistic skills such as ambiguity detection engage psycholinguistic processing abilities that are crucial for reading success. It is suggested that tests and training of metalinguistic skills involving lexical retrieval and creation of syntactic structure can be used as part of reading readiness programs and remedial reading curricula. Keywords: Metalinguistic skills; linguistic competence; linguistic performance; reading; lexical retrieval; sentence structure


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