Rich Environments For Language & Literacy Development
Learn how to create a language rich environment and support your child’s language and literacy development.
What Is A Language Rich Environment Anyway?
The first thing you must be thinking is: what the heck is a ‘Language Rich Environment’? Well, you’re in for a real treat with this blog because I love talking about this! Language Rich Environments are simply surroundings that help children to develop their language and literacy skills. See, I told you it was simple! Creating a space that enables your child to develop these skills is essential to their learning later in life. Think about it… language is the basis for everything we do! Even mathematics is often based on language, meaning that if a child does not have a good grasp on language, it can affect them all throughout school and the rest of their lives.
Encourage Language And Literacy Development
Now, when I talk about the ‘environment’, I don’t necessarily mean the physical environment. If you have a quick look at this document (Parent’s Guide), you’ll be able to see the milestones for Language and Literacy development down the right hand side. A ‘Language Rich Environment’ is everything, from the books you read with your child, the conversations you have, the opportunities for them to see the written word in real life etc. Below are some pointers on how best to encourage language development:
- Above all else, the main thing I want you to get from this article is for you to be positive and praise every language attempt from your child, even if it’s not quite right.
- Don’t be afraid to speak to them like you would another adult, that’s how they learn the basic rules of grammar. What I mean by this, is don’t baby-down what you’re saying. They don’t need to know all about what your friend Karen’s been up to with her new boy-toy!
- Don’t ask too many questions. This is a trap lots of people fall into. If you want to, or need to ask them a question, give them plenty of time to process what you’ve said before repeating or rephrasing. A side note, if you do need to repeat a question, try to use the same words as before, otherwise it can become quite confusing for young children.
Language And Literacy Development Can Be Fun
Now for the fun part! Here’s a few ideas to get you started with fun language activities and games you can do:
Play Peek-a-Boo, sing songs and rhymes, tell me what you’re doing as you’re doing it, chat with me (copying my sounds), read books to me and let me explore them.
Share stories with me, sing songs with me, help me make actions to songs and rhymes, tell me the names of things as I’m exploring, let me hold books, talk to me about the illustrations, give me chunky writing tools to explore, talk to me about sounds you can hear, explore animal sounds, play games with instructions, let me help you with the shopping eg ‘Help me find the carrots’, give me simple options e.g. ‘Apple or pear?’
For Younger Children
Encourage me to talk about books, let me mark make with different objects (Pinterest ‘Mark Making’ for loads of ideas), play with puppets or toy people, tell me step by step what we’re doing, use lots of new words, play listening games eg Simon Says, or Ready Steady Go, make up silly sentences where all the words start with the same sound, talk to me about places we’ve been and things we’ve done, give me simple instructions eg ‘Put your shoes in the basket’
For Children Approaching School Age
Play treasure hunts, when reading stories to me ask me open questions e.g. ‘What do you think will happen next? Why did that happen?” play rhyming games, play I Spy, put on puppet shows, give instructions using letter sounds e.g. ‘Can you j-u-m-p?’, make number plates for my cars with me, make a pretend shop with me.
As you can see there are so many things you can do to encourage language and literacy development. I bet you’re doing loads of these already and you didn’t even realise! I bet you can think of heaps more too.
A Love For Books Is Important
The last thought I want to leave you with is that books can change children’s lives. Encouraging a love of books will help your child’s development more than you ever thought possible. Do your best to make them fun and exciting, even if you’re not a reader yourself. Thank you for reading this blog post, I hope you’ve learnt what a ‘Language Rich Environment’ is and how it can help your child. The next post will be about Early Physical Development.