Prerequisite Language Abilities in the Transitional Phase (PLAiT)

The longitudinal project PLAiT (Prerequisite Language Abilities in the Transitional Phase) follows the development of language abilities between the ages of 4-7 years and focuses on its influence on a successful reading acquisition. On the basis of the Lexical Quality Hypothesis (Perfetti & Hart, 2002) the project focuses on the development of phonology (processing phonemes), semantics (understanding the meaning of words) and orthography (written language).

The Lexical Quality Hypothesis claims that in adult readers the ability to accurately transfer knowledge about words to literary language depends on the quality of the knowledge about a word on different linguistic levels. For example if a child perceives every single phoneme of a word (e.g. K·I·N·D·ER·G·AR·T·EN), it has a more detailed perception of the word than a child who is only able to detect syllables (e.g. KIN·DER·GAR·TEN). A more detailed processing of words points to a higher quality of language processing. In PLAiT we want to find out how important high quality language processing skills in kindergarten are to early reading acquisition in German.

PLAiT starts to accompany children shortly before entering preschool and will monitor the development regularly until the end of first grade where children have typically acquired all letters and are able to read and write short passages. At each test occasion children are supported in solving primarily language-related but also motoric, logical-deductive and memorization tasks. All tasks are playful and age-appropriate.

PLAiT aims to contribute to a better understanding of the interplay between interindividual differences of the participating children and differences that can be attributed to language-specific challenges.

Wie gut koennen junge Kinder Sprache wahrnehmen und verstehen?
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For questions or comments concerning PLAiT please contact

Alexandra Schmitterer

schmitterer [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de