Preparing the child for school language development

Learn strategies and activities to help your 3- to 5-year old master language use. If the job of a toddler is to learn to talk, the job of preparing the child for school language development preschooler is to learn to communicate, which is a complicated task indeed!

According to Russian researcher Lev Vygotsky, language develops from social interactions for communication purposes. To guide behaviors, overcome obstacles, and acquire new skills, children use what Vygotsky termed private speech, a verbalized but really internal monologue. Within a Vygotskian framework, strategic use of language facilitates thinking, understanding, and learning. As children mature and their utterances become more standard, parents will seamlessly withdraw the previous supports. Thus, language use and vocabulary development is fostered within a social and cultural context, through meaningful interactions with parents, caregivers, peers, siblings, etc. While learning about language, children are also learning about culture, behavioral expectations, and social interactions. By the age of three, most children have considerable experience with language.

I, you, we, and they, along with some plurals. To help parents know how to answer the onslaught of wonderings, check out Whyzz. Before they are 6, children can recall parts of a story, use future tense, begin to tell stories, and can say their name, age, gender, and address. Their sentences are on average at least 5 words. Their vocabulary has increased at least 4-fold, from around 1000 words to upwards of 8-10,000. Most children this age can follow three step directions. That is, children learn a grammar rule through interaction and then over apply that rule.

A fun online category vocabulary builder for preschoolers is What’s the Word, a reading and vocabulary game. Help your child better understand prepositions by asking her to put the box under the table, next to the spoon, beside the bed, etc. Name items in a category and see if your child can identify the category label. Try this fun app also: Creationary Lego. The preschool years are the time during which children’s emergent literacy abilities develop. In fact, these skills are the foundation onto which children’s later reading and academic abilities will build off of. While most preschool programs will teach children letter names, more relevant to cracking the code system for reading is the letter-sound orientation.

By the end of the preschool period, most children will know their upper and lowercase letters, and understand that letters make up the sounds in words. They are beginning to sound out words in their environment or in books. Their fine motor skills vary and some children can produce all letters and many pictures with precision and accuracy. Others may struggle to maintain size and form. Children this age begin to play with language.

They make up stories based on fantasy, but tell these tales as if they are real. Encouraging story-telling will advance their cognition, linguistic abilities, and creativity. 4 sounds: f, r, o, g. Make a hopscotch board with letters or phonetic words instead of numbers. Have your child say the sound or read the word before hopping onto the square. Write letters or phonetic words onto the Candyland color cards.

Have your child say the letter or read the word in order to advance to the colored space. A fun learn-to-spell app is Learn to Spell: Reception Class. Play with Nina the Naming Newt and her friends, or Clifford the Big Red Dog’s phonics game — both games will allow your child to identify letters, sounds, and rhymes by category. Come up with Rhyming words while passing the time. For online fun, try Super Why. Isolate sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words.

If learning to read is hard for your child, he needs support. The newest research on literacy development in children emphasizes the importance of providing reading interventions sooner rather than later. Get kids learning with these fun, themed activities! Nutritious breakfast and snack recipes—with food activities for kids! Reinforce your child’s time telling skills with this award-winning mobile app! Get expert advice on reading, homework help, learning activities, and more. Inspire her thirst for knowledge inside — and outside — of school.

If you want your child to be a stellar student, don’t limit learning to the walls of his classroom. Fill your child’s world with reading. Take turns reading with your older child, or establish a family reading time when everyone reads her own book. Demonstrate how important reading is to you by filling your home with printed materials: novels, newspapers, even posters and placemats with words on them. Encourage him to express his opinion, talk about his feelings, and make choices. He can pick out a side dish to go with dinner and select his own extracurricular activities. Ask for his input on family decisions, and show that you value it.