|How can I help all my children build language skills?|
Developing Language Skills
There is nothing more exciting than hearing a child's first babbling sounds or first word. Eventually those first sounds will turn into a
then, into a conversation. Its such a miracle to watch the language development of a child occur right before
your eyes. The people that surround a child at a young age have the wonderful pleasure of being that child's first teacher. When those people take time to listen, talk, read, and sing with that child they will help make a lasting impression on that childs language development, a skill that lasts a lifetime!
Here are some fun ways to encourage language development:
Birth - 3 Years
When a baby coos or babbles respond to him or her with the same sound.
Imitating will help the child to understand that you are interested in what he or she is saying and will make them continue to make those sounds which eventually change into words!
Sing simple songs and recite nursery rhymes
to show the rhythm and pattern of speech.
Talk about colors around you! Name all body parts!
Read to your child.
Sometimes "reading" is simply describing the pictures in a book without following the written words. Choose books that are sturdy and have large colorful pictures that are not too detailed. Ask your child, "What's this?" and encourage naming and pointing to familiar objects in the book.
Help your child understand and ask questions.
Play the yes-no game. Ask questions such as Are you a boy? Is your name John? Can pigs fly? Encourage your child to make up questions on their own for you to answer. Answer one wrong so that he or she has to explain to you why you got the answer wrong.
3 - 6 Years Old
Continue to build vocabulary.
Introduce a new word and offer its definition, or use it in a context that is easily understood. This may be done in an exaggerated, humorous manner. "I think I will drive the vehicle to the store. I am too tired to walk."
Play a question/answer game.
Try "Which Of These Things Is Not Like the Other?" to explain categories. Example: Plane, Train, Car, Ball. Have the child come up with their own set of words too!
Encourage your child to give directions.
Follow his or her directions as he or she explains how to build a block tower.
Shop for groceries together.
discuss what you will buy, how many you need, and what you will make. Discuss the size (large or small), shape (long, round, square), and wx (heavy or light) of the packages.
Label everything around the house.
Cabinets, Doors, Toys, etc. This gives the child a chance to notice letters and words and is a great way to jump-start literacy!
WHEN YOUR CHILD STARTS A CONVERSATION, GIVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION!!!
I have studied literacy and the way that children learn language development during 4 years of undergrad work as well as during a 3 year masters program from Erikson Institute in Child Development. I worked first hand in teaching and promoting language development during my years as a developmental therapist with Early Intervention. My main point from this article is to talk to your child! What you are saying may seem insignificant to you but hearing the words and language patterns will make a world of difference to your little one!