Language Skills May Have Greatest Impact on Kindergarten Readiness

The best thing that ever happened to me was the birth of my son, Matthias. At the writing of this piece, he is 2 ½ years old and amid the so-called terrible twos, but to me, he is a well-behaved sweetheart. Lately, I have been thinking about the next 2 ½ years of his development and his next major milestone, Kindergarten.

Since I have a background in early childhood education, I know skills such as independence, language development, basic math and literacy, friendship and cooperation are some of the basic skills that young children need to be kindergarten ready. But of these skills, which is the most essential to kindergarten readiness?

The answer may surprise you

According to experts, the use of grammar and vocabulary can predict the future performance of students in kindergarten and elementary school. Why are language skills important? Language skills are essential because the ability to fluidly memorize new words and string them together in phrases and complete sentences help support social and academic success.

To be clear, we are talking about language and not literacy. Literacy or reading includes the ability to decode letter and sound combinations to make words and to understand word meanings and contexts. Language is the ability to use those words and complex syntax and grammar to communicate in writing and speech. Don’t get us wrong, literacy is important, but not as important as language skills.

Language is the foundation of social interaction, without it, a child cannot communicate their needs to peers and teachers. Language skills also give students the ability to comprehend and follow through on the multi-step directions from the teacher. It is also a prerequisite for learning to read and to solve problems in math and science because understanding terminology and abstract concepts rely on a knowledge of the language.

As you can see, language is a skill that makes learning possible. That’s why it is considered to have the greatest impact on kindergarten readiness. Thankfully my son Matthias communicates at a high level and has the vocabulary of a 5-year-old already.

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