Language is all around us and understanding what people tell us and what we read is essential to so many aspects of our lives, from talking to our friends and family, to doing our job, or learning new things at school. Different skills influence how easily a child understands spoken English and learns to read. For example, vocabulary (i.e. how many words a person knows and how well) and syntactic knowledge (knowledge about word forms and sentence structures) make a difference to how well children understand language. Whether a child knows or doesn’t know a word, and whether she knows how words are put together in sentences, can determine whether she understands what she hears and what she reads. This is true for children who speak one language, but also for bilingual children who have two languages in their lives. Other abilities can affect a child’s language understanding, for example, memory – i.e. how much information they can retain and use at a given time – and attention, i.e. how well a child can focus on a task or on a specific piece of information. The ability to make inferences, i.e. the ability to use one’s own knowledge of the world to make sense of a story and fill the gaps, also predicts how well a child will understand spoken or written English.