The Importance Of Language In Early Childhood

In the past couple of decades, emergent literacy has been largely discussed among experts as one of the most important for later development. Lasting from toddler to preschooler age, it involves introducing your children to letters and the basics of reading and helping them expand vocabulary.

According to numerous studies during these years, children learn thousands of different words by basic memorization and connecting these with pre-known concepts. One of the most essential points in early childhood language development is that kids tend to learn phrases by merely hearing and directly memorizing them.

With this in mind, it is essential to know how you as a parent can guide them through this period in a fun and effective way.

Focusing On Single Rules

One of the common cases, especially with learning languages that aren’t as verb-friendly (such as English), is that children take a specific rule and apply it to all the verbs they are familiar with. This results in the past tense for did being “doed” as they are quite confident that any past tense does end with the suffix “ed.” In these situations, you are the one who plays the essential role to correct them and explain that languages don’t call for overgeneralization.

Keep in mind that the same way children could learn and overgeneralize certain principles, they should be able to get familiar with the exceptions and start applying them in daily conversation.

Can Proximal Development Be Used For Teaching Children?

The scaffolding derived from Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development seems to be impressively effective in teaching children new words and grammar rules. 

It all comes down to guiding your children to acquire new knowledge by being more experienced and elaborate at certain words’ pronunciation. This can be applied to the examples above, and thus, when they say “I doed that,” you should continue the conversation by saying, “You did what?”. 

This stands as an effective and non-intrusive way of presenting them with new grammar rules and explaining that they shouldn’t be overgeneralizing certain principles. While you are still allowing them to figure out the right pronunciation, adequate guidance is the key to this approach.

The Importance Of Private Speech

Stimulating your children to rewind what they have learned on their own is one of the most entertaining ways for them to memorize words and grammar rules. This is something that adults do as well, and while it may not be as profound as conversations with other individuals, it is quite useful in terms of remembering or acquiring new concepts.

Concluding Thoughts

Language development in early childhood is an essential part of emergent literacy, which is why your guidance is so necessary. It all comes down to making learning new words and grammar rules a fun and engaging process.

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