Learning language
May 4, 2009
by Jenni Sebora

Language development is one of the most important steps to becoming a reader.

Most children come into kindergarten knowing between 4,000 through 12,000 words. Children need to know about 10,000 words to be successful readers.

If a child is interacted with for approximately two minutes a day, he or she will know less than 4,000 words, which equates to that child knowing about 18,750 words when beginning third grade.

On the other hand, if a child is interacted with 1.1 hours a day, he or she will have a vocabulary of 10,000 to 12,000 words when entering kindergarten, and about 24,000 words when beginning third grade.

This also means that children who are interacted with more, learn words at a greater rate each year because they can build on past knowledge.

Talking, singing, reading, playing, and interacting with our children increases their vocabulary, not to mention their overall development. Children learn about the world around them through us, as adults.

When our children are infants, we should respond to their coos and gurgles and talk to them as we are caring for them throughout the day.

Reading books with colorful pictures to our wee little ones, keeping our speech simple, teaching our children the names of everyday things and familiar people, and taking children to new places are all ways that we can stimulate their vocabulary and language growth.

Research also tells us that sign language to hearing babies also improves their vocabulary, language, and readings skills as these skills develop.

According to Pennsylvania State University professor of speech and communications Dr. Marilyn Daniels, there are reasons to use signs to babies as they pertain to American Sign Language.

The eyes develop sooner in young children. When we are taking in information with our eyes, we are using the right side of our brain.

Languages are started in the left brain, but when babies use sign language, they are using both sides of the brain.

Children become more involved when using signing because signing requires movement.

Experts tell us that using simple signing with our babies does not impede or inhibit language development; rather, it enhances it and increases it.

We must model, teach, and talk to our children to help them with vocabulary and speech development.

Cute transition songs

Using songs helps our children with their daily activities and helps with transitions, as they can be more difficult for our little ones. You will more than likely get your child to participate in clean up if you incorporate a little rhyme, song, or music.

“This is the way we pick up our toys, pick up our toys, pick up our toys . . .

“This is the way we pick up our toys, before we go outside (or have a snack or whatever the next activity is).”

Sung to: “This is the way” -original author unknown

“It’s time to put the toys away; it’s time to put the toys away; it’s time to put the toys away; So we can go outside.”

Sung to: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” -author unknown

You can basically take any song you and your children know and replace it with words regarding picking up, etc. Keep it simple.