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8 Ways to Improve Language for Preschoolers

Posted Jan 03 2013 2:26pm
on by healthymama In preschool, language development is a crucial skill, needed to later facilitate reading, public speaking and argument building abilities. As a lot of children hardly spend any time being spoken to by adults ( and peers with their poor vocabularies don’t count)  how do you develop their vocabulary and their linguistic abilities? Here’s what we do:

1. W e tell stories . Have a few objects on a table and ask your child to come up with a story, unifying these objects. As the child is telling you their story, encourage the use of adjectives ( What kind of car was that?) and descriptive language.

2. We pretend-play. Ask the child to be a store owner and you be the buyer. Then, ask then for specific product recommendations and keep asking: “Why?” If it’s a clothing store, discuss sizes and fabric types, if it’s a toy store, discuss the types of toys. Then, pretend you are firefighters, fairy princesses or whatever else your child is into.

3. We retell stories and fairy tales. If you read to your preschooler regularly, you’d be amazed how hard it is for them to tell you the story back. Kids tend to focus on details that don’t matter to the plot’s development and frequently lose the main story line. Ask questions, like: “What happened first? And after this, what happened? Encourage the use of descriptive language, by asking: “What kind?” all the time.

4. We memorize poetry. Memorization trains the mind and poetry teaches many unfamiliar words.

5. We practice “aware reading.” As you read to your child, write down every unfamiliar word and later ask them to create sentences using these words.

6. We write poetry and songs. This exercise doesn’t need to be complicated. Ask your child to write  a poem about a frog. They create the first line, you create the second one to rhyme with the first one and so on. Try to use unfamiliar words.

7. We discuss everything. Ask for your child’s opinion on every subject, even as menial as: “Do you think that brown curtains match the green chairs?” Ask them to explain why do they feel this way and encourage them to use descriptive language while doing so.

8. Use a lot of descriptive language and adjectives while talking about things. Example: “Do you see that dark purple sunrise? Do you like those interesting shadows, cast by large clouds? What do the shadows resemble?” I see many parents speak to their children in two-three-word sentences, or say “yes” or “no” to them only ( mostly “no.”) To have a rich vocabulary, the child must hear it first.

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