and Language - is there a connection?
Submitted by Karina Richland,
M.A., Founder of PRIDE
suggests that the amount of interactive language
a child is exposed to in the home correlates
greatly with the development of verbal expressions
and reading skills. To put your child on the
right track for language and reading development,
make sure your home is a rich and encouraging
is a list of tips and strategies that can be
used to promote healthy language growth in children:
Read together daily
parents stop reading to their children once
the child learns to read independently. This
is a big mistake. Parental reading skills are
usually more advanced, so they can expose children
to higher grammar, vocabulary, images, and ideas
in speech. Be aware when reading to your child
that they often may not ask what an unfamiliar
word means. When coming across an unfamiliar
word you can ask your child to define it and
if necessary provide them with the definition,
synonym, antonym or physical enactment of the
meaning. Ask lots and lots of questions while
reading together, especially questions that
can't be answered with a simple yes or no. "Which
part of the story did you like the best? Why?
What character did you like best?" Also, remember
to make an effort to review new words and concepts
after the book has been put aside.
interrupt or fill in the blanks
Patience is essential for encouraging language
development in children. Give your child time
to put their thoughts into words and opportunities
to practice. If simply waiting doesn't do the
trick for a child with word retrieval problems,
then prompt them with a ridiculous alternative.
For example, if your child says, "I'm looking
for the, uh. um.er.," you can ask "rhinoceros.
leprechaun?" Usually after a few giggles the
child is relaxed enough to find the right word.
time each day having your child describe the
details of their day or particular topics of
interest or ideas
dinner table tends to be a natural conversation
venue for the family to talk and catch up on
daily events. Also, before turning out the lights
in bed is another great time to let your child
fill you in on the day's events as well as create
conversation and bonding time in a relaxed environment.
If your child speaks very little or has nothing
to say, you can provoke them by taking a stance
with which you know they'll disagree. For instance,
if the child loves legos, say, "some people
think buying legos for children is a bad idea,
because they cost a lot and don't serve any
purpose. What do you say?"
sure your child's skills are constantly challenged
and force to grow
is a place where children feel free to take
risks with language. They feel comfortable making
mistakes, asking questions and discussing complex
topics they would otherwise be afraid to explore.
Continue to build and challenge your child's
vocabulary. Introduce a new word and offer its
definition or use it in context that is easily
defined. For example, "I think I will drive
you in the vehicle this morning instead of making
you walk to school."
errands with your child
mundane chores offer opportunities for vocabulary
growth. When you visit the nursery to choose
new plants for the garden, talk about impatiens,
agapanthus and marigolds. When you take the
car in for an oil change talk about mufflers,
exhaust systems and welding. These weekly errands
are just as important as if you were taking
your child to the museum.
electronic devices, television, etc. whenever
has shown that the encounters that best promote
language growth are interactive - back and forth,
face-to-face exchanges conducted in a relatively
quiet background. Children that are receiving
more noise stimulation than language stimulation
will fail to develop the language skills they
need to succeed in school or to communicate
effectively with their parents, teacher, and
peers. Never underestimate the importance of
good conversation and information to the development
of a rich vocabulary.
in complete sentences and use words with precise
of letting your child hear you say " where is
that thingy," or where is that whatchamacallit"
try to always speak with precision and accuracy.
Model the richness of language for your child
by adding multiple word meanings and using different
words to express the same thought.
more with your child
learn speech and language through listening,
observing, exploring, copying, playing and interacting
with others. Finding time to spend with your
child and having a shared focus is very important
if you want to help them develop their speech,
language and reading skills. One-to-one time
benefits children in the long term. Playing
daily with your child not only builds a language
rich environment but also builds a nurturing
environment. Playing together gives your child
love and affection and builds their self-confidence.
When you get down on the floor and build a Lego
tower together, or dress up all the Barbies
and get them ready for a big Barbie party, you
are creating a place where love, language and
learning can all take place together.
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Richland, M.A. is the Founder of PRIDE Learning
Centers, located in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Ms. Richland is a reading and learning disability
specialist and speaks frequently to parents,
teachers, and professionals on learning differences.
can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the Pride Learning Center website at: