Early Childhood Education

Publication Date



Early childhood education, Early reading, Literacy, Literature reviews, Measures, Observation, Oral language, Prereading experience, Preschool education, Preschool tests, Student assessment


Produced by the Australian Council for Educational Research for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority


This literature review is one of a series of reviews to support Victorian early childhood professionals to assess children's learning and development in relation to the five Learning and Development Outcomes in the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF). This review focuses on the Outcome: Children are effective communicators, and specifically on children as effective oral communicators. Focusing on the development of oral language and early literacy in the early years, this literature review sets out to provide a resource that will equip early childhood professionals with the knowledge to identify and assess children's progress in oral language and early literacy development. Section 1 defines oral language and early literacy, and describes the key components of the Outcome: Children are effective communicators that relate to oral communication. This review defines the types of oral language practices as functional, conversational and narrative, and proposes a model that reminds early childhood professionals that each type of oral communication has both expressive and receptive modes. The second part of this model emphasises the importance of oral language in providing a strong foundation for literacy, including the development of reading and writing. Section 2 explains the principles for assessing children as effective oral communicators, and Section 3 identifies a range of tools available to support early childhood professionals in their assessment of children’s oral language and early literacy. A matrix shows how the tools selected for this literature review address each of the oral communication strands of vocabulary, language structures, language pragmatics and comprehension. Section 4 describes ten assessment tools in more detail.

Place of Publication

Melbourne, Victoria


Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority

Geographic Subject