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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


The Importance of Learning Language Skills: Part II

By Andrew Loh

Teaching language skills starts right in your home. Young babies learn to use rudimentary language skills in a number of stages. Very early in their life, your children can just babble and later they will start learning how to make individual sounds. Once they pick up some word like sounds, they may try to join those simple sound bytes to form incomprehensible words. More often, we see children trying to learn most basic words and expressions to convey what they think and feel in their heart. This is the time, when we must engulf our children with language by start conversing with them throughout the day.

Here are some of the simple ways and methods that will help you develop language development in your child:

1. Read nursery rhymes and lullabies to your child. This will help your child to listen to the rhythm of soothing and relaxing rhyme lines and later understand the flow of the language. Experts believe that nursery rhymes and lullabies have the ability to catalyze your child's brain cells to understand the musical form of the text.

2. You can sing very simple songs to them, by using your body as a tool of conversation. When you use different types of body languages, your child can connect the body movements with the musical form of text. In this way, your child can relate non-verbal language with that of verbal language.

3. You can start naming different objects and patterns, as you describe more about their shape, color and size. Research findings suggest us about the deep relationship between objects, their color, size, formats and shape; you can look at your child, while you describe about different objects. You can even name and touch your body parts by using different rhymes, games and songs.

4. A word a day is perhaps the best language learning technique! You can slowly introduce new words on a daily basis. Introducing new words work very well, when you tell interesting stories with the help of a colorful book.

5. Simple conversations could be the most effective tools for acquiring language skills. One-to-one conversation between you and your child can help him or her in a significant way. You can use picture books, storybooks, patterns, models, shapes, toy objects and other similar tools to initiate active conversation with your child. When you talk to your children, you can teach them the art of pronunciation and basic grammar. At first, your child may commit plenty of silly mistakes. However, consistent usage of different words will quicken their language learning process. When you tell stories, you will need to engage them in the learning process. Never let your child become a passive listener. Let the story telling time be highly interactive and interesting; this technique will help your child to respond or answer any questions that you pose him or her. Another interesting technique is to ask your young child to repeat the story that you have just read to her or him.

6. Let the questions you ask be open ended! Never ever, pose any closed questions! Open-ended questions will help your child think about the most possible scenarios and answer in the most meaningful way.

Ex: How did you do that?
How did you draw that figure?

7. Play time is the best time for learning a series of language skills, both verbal and non-verbal. Start playing with your child and talk as you play! This activity will help your child to relate the action with beneficial and meaningful words.

8. If you have an older child studying in the primary school, you can easily encourage writing activities. You can ask a series of simple questions about your children's favorite color, pattern, and animals. When they tell their answers, you can reread their answers later to buttress home the language skills. Let your school going children read from a storybook and later tell their complete meaning. Encourage your children to tell interesting stories about any theme; young children may learn language skills, by telling stories after committing many mistakes, both in the storyline and language/diction.

9. You may also wish to introduce word and syllable board games. Many of these games come in the form of electronic tools that have the ability to say the words in spoken form. Each time, when your child listens to a word played with sound, he or she can comprehend it and later repeat to match the exact sound.

As mentioned earlier, your child's basic language skills can grow very quickly in the early, formative years. They can easily learn the words, syllables and sounds they hear around them and the words spoken to them by you. It is just astonishing to know that your child can comprehend and decipher the meanings of nearly 500 words, when she or he is just three years in age.


Child Development

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