Learning Language and Loving it!

~By Nancy Nathanson, B.S;  Prime Time Regional Education Director

Children learn language as they interact with their caregivers and later, with their peers.  Here are some pointers on how to increase children’s opportunities for interaction and language learning during everyday activities, routines and conversations:

INFANTS

Bathe the child in language. (verbalize everything!)

Develop a reciprocity with language.(turn-taking)

Describe what you are doing (esp. during routines).

Talk / Read / Sing together

Have lots of responsive language interactions.

TODDLERS

Use gestures to expand your language with child.

Tell or write Social Stories with your toddlers to tell them what is happening during routines or reflect what the children are doing or experiencing.

Use rhymes and sounds often while talking and reading.

Label pictures and things often to build vocabulary.

Talk / Read / Sing together.

PRESCHOOLERS

Follow the child’s lead to enhance language learning.

Use a play environment to encourage communication.

Practice the teaching strategy of OWL – Observing, Waiting, and Listening to have successful language opportunities with your students.

Use the sensory table and creative art activities as a very effective place to facilitate language development.

Talk / Read / Sing together!

Adapt daily routines to make time for conversations, such as:  Splitting the group into smaller groups for less wait time / Stagger the routine so they have a gradual transition / manipulate the physical environment so you are sitting near the “quiet,shy” student and joining them for conversation at snack and lunch

Avoid questions that stop the conversation (yes-no answers)

THE ONLY ROLE THAT CONSISTENTLY PROVIDES CHILDREN WITH THE ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT THEY NEED IN LEARNING TO COMMUNICATE IS THE RESPONSIVE ROLE!!!!