Module 3.5 Assessing language and literacy

Connections between play-based and inquiry learning and language and literacy development

As discussed in Module 1, research has shown that there is a strong relationship between play-based and inquiry learning and language and literacy development. Specifically, object substitution has been found to predict oral expressive and receptive language abilities (Stagnitti, Paatsch, Nolan & Campbell, 2020) and complex play sequences predict emergence of early multi-word speech and narrative skills, such as story comprehension and story production.  Play has also been found to support the development of emergent reading and writing skills, semantic organisation, and narrative re-telling skills.  As such, play also provides teachers with the opportunities to assess students’ speaking and listening, language and literacy skills, and Sociodramatic Play (interacting with others).

Thinking analytically about students’ imaginary and dramatic play

The following interaction focuses on a sample of students’ imaginary and dramatic play. We will analyse this sample to look closely at a number of language and literacy abilities demonstrated by the students. 

​Assessing language and literacy

The following video presents some short segments from an experienced Foundation teacher, Marie, regarding how she assesses students’ oral language, stories, speaking and listening, vocabulary and reading throughout play-based and inquiry learning.  Note how she views the affordances of the play-based and inquiry learning to observe and assess students’ abilities and learnings.