The second edition of this successful book describes and explains the development of children's spoken and written language. Drawing on both classical and recent research studies, the processes whereby literacy is achieved during the period from infancy to about 8 years of age are traced. The authors emphasize the importance of early experiences with language in relation to later developments of literacy, highlighting the connections between learning to talk and learning to read and write. Garton and Pratt argue that the social contexts within which talking, reading and writing are learned are essential for the development of literacy. Theoretical positions and research studies that support the argument are discussed, to provide a broad contextual framework. Early chapters describe the processes of spoken language development and the theoretical explanations put forward to account for them. Subsequent chapters discuss the development of reading and writing, as well as theoretical connections between spoken and written language development.