As more early childhood articles about reading, speaking and cognitive learning develop, the more we find that most aspects of these subjects are not one-ways streets. They each seem to work off each other, which is great news for parents and teachers. In this article I'll concentrate more on a little how speaking reflects better reading and some techniques that stoke the speaking stage for children that adults can use as an organic way of teaching.
The normal function of childhood speech growth is a regular daily event of learning, whether it's outwardly taught or not. A child is simply soaking up their world around them and language is the main tool that they employ to work with it in their mind. Language is not mere chat but is an element that actually drives brain development. So with a little prompting and engaging with a child, a bigger and better vocabulary can be within reach simply by talking -- and in turn, reading can also benefit.
Instigating Enlightening Chat
The front line of language teaching is the simple task of engaging children in the activity and conversation of daily life. Keep them in the loop, even if you talk to them about the most mundane tasks, you will often be surprised on the freshness a child will make a simple task seem. No need to dumb down the conversation, keep the chat rich with words, the child will learn those words by context or flat out asking you what they mean.
Another means is to tell stories. This most certainly is not a new concept, but the age we live in leave us with time in lean resources unlike traditional story tellers of yore. Storytelling shows how sentence arrangement like beat, rhythm and pitch are incorporated to emphasize drama and comedic timing. With that, pass the torch and have the child tell a story or expound on the story previously told. Cognitive research and early childhood articles about development have shown that reading stories provides a good gateway to transition speaking to reading.
The activity of show and tell is a time honored tradition among early grade levels. With given time constraints, try to have each child work in as much detail about the item from home by asking engaging questions with rich language. Provide a speaking model with questions and inquiries that will egg the mind's eagerness to learn.
There is a plethora of stages that can be set where speaking can be done in rich contexts with children. Books especially are a great mental workshop to stage a conversation or a speech. All of these speech exercises are cyclical and leads back to books, which leads to explorative thought and again back to constructive talk.