Talking with children develops their early literacy skills by helping them learn letters, word sounds, and new vocabulary. Making predictions and talking with children about what they think will happen helps them invest in the story. As you read A Hippo in Our Yard, see if your child can predict what Sally will do on each page!
Notes from Story Time Category: Talking
Reading and talking with your child helps build vocabulary by introducing new words. When you read a book to your child, it’s okay to stop briefly to point out a new word and what it means.
Talking with your baby is so important – your baby needs to hear the sounds of your language! Until about six months of age your baby is a “universal linguist,” meaning he/she can distinguish among each of the 150 sounds of human speech. By 12 months, babies recognize the speech sounds only of the languages they hear from people who talk and play with them.
Make reading fun by engaging your child in the story by reading lift-the-flap books, singing as you read, or talking to your baby about things they see in the pictures. It’s more important that reading to your child is enjoyable rather than long. Follow your child’s mood.
Talking prepares your child to learn to read by helping them acquire language skills and teaching them new vocabulary. Talk to your kids throughout the day about anything and everything. In It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw, your child will get a chance to see different things in the shapes of the clouds. Looking at the world around you and talking to your child about what you see can be done anywhere. Next time you see clouds in the sky, ask your child what he or she sees.
If you have found yourself talking to your baby in a higher-pitched, sing-song voice, that’s actually a great thing! We call this “parentese” and for babies from birth to about 9 months, this is a way to slow down language so they can listen longer and hear more words. At any age, you can explain words, even though it might seem like baby doesn’t understand, they are processing what you say. The more times they hear words, the easier it is to understand and say those words.
Talking with your child, especially as you share books, is one of the best ways to develop vocabulary. In Penguin Problems, there is a penguin who is very frustrated. Many books give you the opportunity to talk with your child about different feelings. Have them explain how they feel and what they think the character is feeling.
Talking to your child from birth is crucial to their development of language. As you read Who Said Moo? , talk to your child about what they see in the picture. Ask them questions about the story, such as, “What does a cow say?” Children learn more if story sharing is an interactive process.
You talk to and with your child frequently, but did you know exactly how much you are encouraging your child’s language skills with those daily conversations and book-reading? Research has shown that when adults “provide children with higher levels of language stimulation during the first years of life, children have better language skills.”
Many picture books share interesting words that are not used in daily conversation. The book I Will Chomp You repeats the word CHOMP many times! Not only is reading books with repeated words fun, you’re also building up your child’s vocabulary since repeated exposure to unfamiliar words with meaningful context (like the accompanying pictures in books) helps children learn new words.
It may seem silly to remind parents to talk to their children. But it is important to note that the frequency and the complexity of how you talk with them does matter. Often when we talk with children, we are simply telling them what to do (business talk). Researchers have found that extra talk makes a difference in the amount of language and knowledge that children have. Adding descriptive information or telling stories about experiences helps children learn more about their world.