Friday, May 3, 2013

Early Literacy Fun - Talking

Talking with your child is one of the easiest ways to help develop their language skills. It doesn’t require anything more than your attention and your voice. You can start talking with your child well before they can even talk back! Talking together helps to develop phonological awareness (understanding the sounds of language), vocabulary, and builds relationships with caregivers. Here are some simple ways to incorporate more talking into your time with your child.

  • Narrate your activities as you go through your day. Talk about what you’re eating at meals, the colors and textures of clothes as you get dressed, the steps in diaper changing and other hygiene activities.
  • Incorporate nursery rhymes into your play time, such as “Pat-A-Cake” and “This Little Piggy”.
  • When talking to children who aren’t using words yet, pause to give them a chance to respond. Eye contact, smiles, gurgles and babbling are all responses too, even though they aren’t words. Giving them a chance to respond helps them learn the rhythms of spoken language.
  • Talk about the scenery while on a road trip. Point out the mountains and mesas, the different types of trees and wildlife and even the colors and styles of the other cars on the road.
  • While out running errands talk about what you are experiencing/seeing. What color is a banana or an apple? What shape is a box of cereal? What is the texture of the new sweater you are buying?
  • Share riddles and jokes together. “Why did the chicken cross the road?”. Warning: Knock knock jokes and puns are addictive at this age.
  • Play guessing games like “I Spy” while in the car or on a rainy day at home. I spy something that is green, or I spy something that is soft. What do you spy?
  • Talk about feelings when a child is upset. Giving names to their emotions helps them to better deal with what they are feeling. Go beyond happy, sad and angry to give them better words to describe just what they are feeling. Are you scared? Anxious? Pensive?
  • Talk about the parts of their bodies during bath time and diaper time. This will help give them the words to understand for potty training and other self-care tasks, as well as help you understand their pain when they are feeling sick.
  • When watching television or a movie with an older preschooler, sit and watch it with them and discuss what you see to help add meaning and understanding to what might otherwise just be a jumble of fun pictures.

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