Language arts do not exist in isolation, they are interdependent and influence each other. In speaking and writing we are sending our thoughts and ideas to other people. They receive them by reading or listening. If we are remiss in developing in any one of these areas, it will impact our success in communicating and could adversely affect our success in school and beyond.
It might seem premature at the preschool, kindergarten level to worry about this, but it is here that the foundations are laid for future success. How many of us have a difficult time writing our thoughts down? How many of us will stand up at a public meeting and speak? We can do positive ground work with our young children. All you must do is talk meaningfully to your child. All language is interrelated, we want to remind you of the importance of language in the everyday life of your child.
By listening to your child, you can help them develop oral language with correct syntax. To help your child to read and write continued listening is needed. We are the models for the language our children produce. If we want our children to become proficient writers, it is important that we also help them become proficient speakers.
Research shows that practice in oral language helps build the skills in written language. Below are some suggestions and strategies that will help build communication and comprehension skills.
Ask your child about his or her day.
“What did you do in school today?”
Don’t let that be the end of it! Ask your child to be specific. Have them order the activities of the day. Encourage their story telling by asking questions. Create a model for your child by talking about your day.
Have a discussion after reading a book or watching a TV program or movie.
Ask your child to retell the story. Ask them to compare it to other things they have read or seen. What was the best part? Why? Which characters did you like? What do think the writer wanted us to learn from the story? These are the types of questions that will be asked later in reading comprehension exercises.
It is fun to play with words. “I spy”, rhyming songs, and poems with a steady beat and predictable sequences are always the favorites with the children. Reading books and rhymes together is an obvious way to keep the children interested in reading and wanting to do it with you.
Learn a new word every day and try to use it in your vocabulary with your children. Use words from the work your children are doing. Are they bringing home sound or word lists that you can review with them? Are they studying specific animal classifications at school?
When giving you an answer to any question, don’t let your child answer with “because” and if they say “it was cool” follow up with additional questions asking what made it cool? Encourage them to be specific when giving details.
Maria Montessori believed strongly that parents play a critical role in their child’s education. The right school is an extension of your home. Your positive involvement is vital to your child’s progress and development. Your child is gaining confidence and independence but needs your support and affirmation.