Brown bear, brown bear…developing language through reading
Brown bear, brown bear…developing language through reading
8 May 2017

Brown bear, brown bear…developing language through reading

Language is different from speech…Huh?

Speech and language development are complex topics and we want to break it down into digestible ways that can help you as a parent support your child’s development.

-For additional ways to support milestone development

Here are some speech and language terms to help:

• Speech includes articulationfluencyrateintonation, and volume. It’s the sound we make!

• Language consists of three skills: expressive (talking), receptive (understanding) and pragmatic (social). It’s the full experience of communicating.

• Expressive language includes the syntax and morphology of talking: syntax is word order and morphology is word parts.

No, you won’t be quizzed on the mechanics of grammar (phew!), but you already know what sounds “right” and you will be your child’s grammar example.

Books are a wonderful way to enhance language skills in your child. Expanding on what you read with longer, grammatically correct sentences and emphasizing word endings will assist in establishing your little one as a mature speaker later on (that’s the expressive language part from the definition above).

Reading to your child is a parent’s time to shine as the receptive language teacher (that’s the understanding part of language from the definition above). Hundreds of new words simmer within the pages of books, bubbling over to be heard, stored and retrieved later for use during conversation.

And parents can do more than just read the words! Developing a robust vocabulary relies on making connections to new words. Simply reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle is good. An even better thing to do would be to make the connection for the child using a word from the book, linking it to something familiar. Take the purple cat page, for example. You can stop and say, “We have a cat named Tyson! But, Tyson’s not purple, he’s white. A purple cat is silly!”

Just the act of sitting with your child with a book in front of you helps their language development (that’s the pragmatic or social part of language from the definition above). You are both attending to the same thing, like kids will learn to do in conversation. This is called joint attention.

Take turns flipping pages.  In a conversation, speakers take turns talking, so as to not interrupt each other.

Books with faces convey feeling. Seeing these pictures and hearing your reactions teaches your child about reading body language and facial expressions, like we do when we communicate.

Take it easy on yourself. Being a parent is hard. Reading with your child is a simple and effective way to help develop your child’s language skills every day. Just remember, read and talk about it!



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