Archive: July 2010

July 23, 2010

Books & Early Reading

As discussed last blog post, there are lots of opportunities in the 0 to 3 period to work on language development. Even before verbal “Conversations” (post 7/7/10), we can help our little ones love books and the reading experience. Early on it does not have to be about the words on the page and naming objects as much as just creating a fun interactive experience with mom or dad. Babies love to hold the book and turn the pages and this should not be overlooked as important early literacy skill. Watch Whitney’s important excitement in picking out and bringing me a few books and then orienting the book so that she can turn the pages:

While reading try to make the experience interactive by going off the page. Books do not have be read linearly from front to back. Make it interactive. There are lots of body parts books that are just about naming the body part like hand, face, foot; instead of just labeling try to help your baby “DO” or use the body part. Babies learn best by doing so get them engaged and interacting with you:

July 7, 2010

Toddler Conversations

What kind of conversations are you having with your little one? At the youngest ages, there is amazingly rich non-verbal dialogue but when it comes to talking we adults are doing most of it. Our toddlers do show a distinct progression in how they share their ideas. From one and a half to two yrs, toddlers usually have very simple and isolated ideas. For example, in the video below, Whitney expresses that she would like me to “sit down” next to her while she eats lunch and then tries to communicate that she does not want her usual nap after lunch:

This conversation is characterized by isolated ideas without much fluency and really no narrative at all. Between 2.5 and 3 years, our toddlers begin to connect their isolated islands of understanding into more comprehensive narratives across events and time. These Narratives go further than just words to describe things. Narratives have a dramatic through line with actors who have desires directed toward goals which take place in a context. Below is an example of Whitney’s new ability with conversation and narrative stories:

Whitney was now beginning to understand how one event leads to another (a storm can create a mess); how ideas operate across time (If the mess was created yesterday; today we need to clean it up); and how ideas operate across space (If the street sweeper can clean up the street, it could also clean-up our driveway). Ideas can now be used to explain emotions (I don’t like that noise from the machines; that noise makes me mad) and for logical thinking (that is fantasy instead of reality). This period is a monumental stepping stone toward mature, rational thinking. You can have conversations on just about anything at anytime and anywhere, so engage your toddler and see what they have to say.