A common worry for families is ensuring their child is ready for school. The focus then becomes on teaching children ABC’s and writing their name. However, everyday parents and educators are teaching and impacting children’s language development, supporting their knowledge of ABC’s and pre-writing. Australian Literacy researcher Brian Cambourne has found evidence of 8 ways that children’s development is supported through natural holistic experiences (Ewing, Callow & Rushton, 2016).
1. Playful and a Language enriched language:
Parents and educators submerge themselves and children different yet equally important linguistic activities. Reading, songs, dancing, and conversation are relaxing natural and fun was to introduce and develop children’s love of language.
2. Modelling active listening techniques:
Conversations, reading and writing activities provide an authentic purpose for young children to engage in the power and joy of language. Creating a shopping list, asking what your child may want to buy and writing it down, looking through fliers or a recipe book and creating a list of ingredients are real life tasks that involve literacy. These everyday tasks that we naturally do, creates opportunities for children to becoming actively involved learners.
3. Encourage children to experiment with language:
Engaging and encouraging children to actively participate in conversations, where it is ok to make mistakes, builds and assists in developing children’s confidence in their developing language skills.
4. Provide achievable objectives and set reasonable expectations:
Children require achievable objectives that they can succeed at. This builds their confidence in their growing linguistic skills. Celebrating achievements and successes naturally makes all people want to try again. When we stand back and allow children to try new things, we are showing them that we believe in them and their abilities.
5. Given choices:
Allowing children to make choices, when appropriate, promotes self-direction. Providing a variety of books on the shelf that is within reach allows children to choice of what to read, while also providing a teachable moment on how to care for the books.
6. Accepting children’s approximations:
When children are developing their linguistic skills it is important to celebrate children’s attempts rather than stop and correct them. Natural ways that encourage children to practice and extend their vocabulary is to correct their language simply by acknowledging what they are saying by repeating it in the correct grammatical reference or pronunciation.
7. Create a harmonious linguistic environment:
Encourage and seek assistance from your child in creating lists and making notes. Create an environment that supports a lot conversations and interactions.
8. Listen and respond:
Welcome questions, comments and ideas from children. Encouraging conversation extends of children’s use of oral and written language.
Young children first learn about the concept of writing as they interact with other people and observe the actions of competent writers. (Fellowes & Oakley, 2014).
Lets all pause for a moment and celebrate the enormous language and literacy that is naturally occurring every day.
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Ewing, R., Callow, J., & Rushton, K. (2106). Language & Literacy development in Early Childhood (1 ed.). Port Melbourne: Cambridge Press.
Fellowes, J., & Oakley, G. (2014). Language, literacy and early childhood education (2 ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.