Help Your Child Develop Great Language Skills

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Singing and reading - two successful strategies for improving your child's language skills

Singing is used as a teaching technique to promote and enhance language development in very young children. Sing with and to your child daily and you will reap benefits in the future.

Very young children, such as babies and toddlers, experience life around them through the daily routines of rest times, nappy changing and meal times. Each of these can be made more enjoyable for children through songs. Simple songs and chants can help to settle the children, motivate the children to focus on the task at hand, and to help them feel special and worthy of your attention.

How does singing help young children to learn?

Singing can enhance children's learning in many ways.

It can be particularly helpful when you want to:

1. help your child learn a new skill or routine such as hand washing or packing up toys

2. encourage your child to sing as singing is a form of self-expression and a confidence-building exercise

3. familiarize your child with basic musical concepts such as melody, rhythm, tempo, pitch and tone

4. improve your child's listening skills

5. provide opportunities for your child to solve problems - children will think about the actions they can do to songs or think about new words they can sing to a familiar tune

6. support your child's language development - singing simple songs, such as The Wheels on the Bus, in which you can change words to perform different actions are particularly suitable for building language competence

7. help your child experience music as fun and develop a sense of humor, and

8. help your child to express their feelings.

Singing begins to motivate your child to learn about words and their meaning.

Along with singing, another simple and effective technique to follow at home to help your child develop appropriate and adequate communication skills is to read to them. As a parent, you want to make sure your child develops a positive attitude towards learning. By reading to children regularly you are nurturing your child's emerging literacy skills and a love for the written word and this will help set your child on a road to academic success.

Why is reading stories to children so important?

The answer is simple. Your child needs to have numerous and ongoing opportunities to develop their literacy skills prior to entering school in order to gain confidence with the written word.

In the early years of schooling, children are developing the ability to write about their own lives for themselves. Reading stories to children that are personally meaningful helps support and sustain their interest in their own writing. Stories about things that they do in their local community, places they visit outside their community and the daily events that make up their lives are a good source of inspiration for the children's own writing. Through having such stories read to them they learn that people's daily lives, including their own, are worthy of writing about.

What can I do to help my children develop their reading skills?

You read to your children regularly. The best way is to establish a daily routine when you've set aside an appropriate amount of time to read to your children. Bedtime is a great opportunity to share a story with your child as they are calm and settled.

Simple steps to take to get the most out of reading to your children

To make sure your children can get the most from being read to, follow these tips:

Speaking clearly and stressing important words helps children to learn their meaning.

Re-reading stories which children enjoy helps them to revisit new words and ideas and to learn their meanings. It also helps children with early literacy skills.

Allowing children opportunities to ask questions about what is being read to them and hearing answers helps children's understandings and knowledge to grow. It can also help children to develop critical thinking skills.

Engaging in conversation with the children about the story encourages them to share their own observations about it and to develop their own interpretations. This can increase children's interest in a story and their understanding of narrative, particularly if they have not been read to prior to arrival in a school setting.

Retelling stories with props can increase children's understandings of words, plots and characters.

Read to your child using an enthusiastic tone of voice. Don't be afraid to 'act out' character voices out loud in a slightly exaggerated fashion; your child will love it and learn how different emotions are expressed through intonation.

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Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

Great tips! I'm very interested in this subject because I was a TESOL teacher for a while. Also, I have a 2 year old now and I want to make sure I do all I can for him. Thanks for the sharing. Voted up!

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