This book describes and explains the development of children's spoken and written language skills. Tracing the process from birth to about eight years of age, the authors stresses the importance of early experiences of language for the later development of literacy and emphasize the connections between learning to talk and learning to write and read. Early chapters explore the processes of language development and theoretical explanations put forward to account for them. Garton and Pratt describe children's developing knowledge of the form and structure of language and their increasing skills in communicating both at home and at school. Later chapters consider how children learn to read and write and how those abilities may be fostered. The authors chart the development of literacy topic by topic rather than by following a chronological sequence by age. By doing so they highlight the continuities of learning from home to school and the inter-relationship between the skills of speech and writing and reading. Throughout they emphasize the importance of the context in which the skills of literacy are learned and the child's active involvement in this considerable achievement.