Supporting Young Children’s Vocabulary Scottish Attainment Challenge
Are you clear? What do we mean by vocabulary? Before he/she begins to read and write words, a child’s vocabulary is determined by the words they apply meaning to, both in understanding what is said to them (receptive) or by using these words to make his/herself understood (expressive). This is a child’s oral vocabulary.
http://www.hanen.org/helpful-info/articles/build-your-childs-vocabulary.aspxhttp://www.hanen.org/helpful-info/articles/build-your-childs-vocabulary.aspx Read and consider this short article for parents/carers from The Hanen Centre. New knowledge? Forgotten gem? Take action idea?
Books, stories and tales When building oral vocabulary, children must hear and usenew and familiar words regularly in a variety of situations. Therefore, storytelling is an effective approach of supporting children’s emerging oral vocabulary.
Consider…. How often are stories read to children? Is once per day enough for some children? Are practitioners committed to reading stories to children throughout the day and during free play? What is the range and type of vocabulary offered in the books and stories that are read to children? How interactive are story-times? How effectively do you plan opportunities for interaction? When reading/telling stories, how effective are your techniques for supporting children’s vocabulary?
Singing games and rhymes When building oral vocabulary, children benefit from hearing and using repeated words and phrases in new and familiar contexts. Therefore, singing games and rhymes is an effective approach of supporting children’s emerging oral vocabulary.
Consider…. In your setting, how well does singing games and rhymes support vocabulary development? How effectively do you use singing games and rhymes to support the development of vocabulary? How well do we support parents/carers to understand well enough the how songs and rhymes support early language development?
How often do you use these techniques? Children need to build up a repertoire of familiar songs, rhymes and stories. To do so, they need to hear the same stories time and time again. What can you do in your setting to ensure that all children have several favourite songs, rhymes and stories? Repeat Practitioners should choose/offer stories, rhymes and songs that have the greatest potential for hearing new and unusual vocabulary. When an unusual word is encountered in a story, it is a useful idea to play with the sound and pattern in the word. Actual text, “Wilbur sits at the top of a tree because he is miserable. He looks ridiculous.”** Read as, “Wilbur sits at the top of a tree because he is miserable. He looks ridiculous. Just RI-DIC-U-LOUS.” Sound ** Text is taken from Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul Oxford University Press
How often do you use these techniques? As often as possible try to use expression and gesture to convey to children the meaning of words or phrases. For example, elongate the word ‘enormous’ while make a large shape with your hands. For example, the song, Down In the Jungle, is particularly good for this kind of expression and movement. Wherever possible, encourage children to join-in with the expression. Express To help children learn the meaning of new words, it is useful to help them relate to something they already know or have experienced. For example, by recalling something that happened in the recent past or by demonstrating. Relate
How often do you use these techniques? In stories that do not require to be read with rhythm (e.g. non-rhyming), you do not have to stick to the vocabulary on the page. As children become more familiar with the story, substitute some key words with an alternative (synonym). For example, “And he still looked hungry (ravenous), so Sophie passed him the buns.”** When storytelling, always say the printed word followed by the substitute. Substitutions can also be made in rhyming stories and songs, however, these must support the author’s rhyme. For example, Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his ‘nose’. Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his ‘toes’. Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his ‘clothes’. The repetition is also useful for children to hear the similarities in words. Substitute ** Text is taken from The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr Harper Collins Publishing
Modelling ‘good’ talk Expansion Extension Language extension “extends” what a child’s says. When talking with a child, use adult grammar and add new information. Language expansion “expands” upon what a child says. It requires the adult to use adult grammar but not add new information. Extend the child's “sentences” to the way an adult says them, then add an additional, related comment. Expand the child's "sentences" to the way an adult says them. Restateand completewhat the child offers. This gives the child a good speech model for reinforcement. For example, the child says, “ Bus go," and you say, "The bus is going. It's a red bus." The child says, “Mummy laugh," and you say, “Mummy is laughing. She is happy." For example, the child says, “Bunny run," you say, "Yes, the rabbit is running." The child says, “Him hurt?,” you say, “Is he hurt?”
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