‘Oral language forms the basis of all literacy learning.’
John Munro said it at a PD I attended and he is spot on. Many parents teach their toddler the alphabet, but before that, children need to be able to use speech appropriately so that they are able to communicate effectively. Oral language skills give children a head start when learning to read a text, write words the list goes on….
Throughout my blog you will find ideas of how you can provide ‘rich learning experiences’ for your child to enhance their oral language skills.
What are ‘rich learning experiences’?
Children learn through their own discovery process, so go exploring!
- The Park
- Local shops
- The farm
Introduce your child to the world around them. The key is to make the learning explicit.
Prior to visiting:
Introduce the vocabulary you will use on your ‘excursion’.
Depending on the age of your child you could;
- use flashcards with the different names of things you will see
- read stories in line with your theme which will begin to immerse them in the language they will be exposed to .
- Introduce the most common letter sounds they will hear
- discuss their predictions, such as what they think they will see, what they would like to foind out etc.
During the visit:
Younger children will be in awe and will experience sensory overload, so it’s important to allow them to explore at their own pace.
Choose a few key words and repeat these, emphasizing the initial sound; e.g fffffff fish. Point to the fish as you continue to say the key word to them. (Using the initial sound will assist your child when they begin reading – teachers encourage children to use the initial sound and picture to help them predict what a word in a text is.)
For older children immersion in and exposure to the sights, sounds and smells will allow them to explore at a deeper level. Questioning your child prompts them to verbalise their thinking and encourages them to ask their own questions. Asking them what they can see, hear and what a creature feels like are good beginning questions, then moving to deeper questions will encourage them to use their communication skills to draw their own conclusions; a valuable part of the learning process.
Using photos you have taken, children can continue learning long after they have left the aquarium.
Photos are a great discussion prompt, helping children remember what they saw, recall names, colours and simple facts.
Laminate the photos and write the names underneath and keep them accessible so your child can refer to them. When they are looking at them, point to the name and repeat the word, emphasizing in particular, the initial sound.
By immersing your child in the language of the world around them you will assist with their oral language development. With sound oral language skills, your child will be on the road to success in their early years of schooling.