Let’s do some thinking about language acquisition today.
Back in the early 70’s, I initiated a class for parents of children from birth to age 6. The class was titled “TALK to Stimulate Your Young Child’s Potential.” Interestingly, here we are some 30 years later, and the content hasn’t changed…TALK in your home is all-important for your children’s success as the best readers and writers they can be.
TALK puts the sounds of language on children’s plates, so to speak. And what your child hears is exactly what will be spoken. Think about how obvious that statement is…when you think of a child living in a Spanish-speaking home. The child speaks Spanish. Natch! Whatever the language, that’s what the child will speak when those first words are uttered.
And the child goes on to master that language. How? Why? From being immersed in that language and its many sounds.
So, let’s stretch that idea a bit. A child who hears 4-letter words is going to speak those 4-letter words. But IF your child hears bigger words being used, then you’ll be saying, WOW!
Then….what if older persons around your 2 year old talked in sentences, such as: “He’ll probably arrive before lunch.” or “I’d prefer toast, please.” You got it. With but a few modeled examples, your 2 year old will use those BIG words “probably” and “prefer” in proper “context,” as we call it in teacher talk. What we mean is that the words will be used in meaningful ways. Yes, those BIG words will fall out of your 2 year old’s mouth as easily as they do from yours. Just like the child who hears and then speaks Spanish.
Oral language, then, is a very critical part of your young child’s home education. From birth. Before birth. And every day after birth. THINK about that and TALK a lot with your child today….using a big word you’d like to hear your child saying. Bet you’ll be saying WOW! by tonight! And tomorrow, you’ll be telling me about it…