Activities support the core aspects of speech and language development. These are strengthened by the way you (parents / carers) play with your child.
Activities also support the early years foundation stage framework; this guidance must be followed by all early years settings. It highlights three areas as key for igniting children's curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.
There are so many benefits to sharing books with your child:
1. Promotes bonding; babies and children love hearing their parents’ voices, it soothes them. How great to cuddle up with a book?
2. Promotes two-way communication; books give you a shared
point of interest and allow you both to comment on what
you’re looking at. Even if you have a young baby; watch their
focus and pause to allow them to vocalise, you can have a
3. Provides inspiration; it’s not always easy as an adult to be
imaginative and creative, books give you ideas and space to
be silly and let lose.
4. Books are an easy way to introduce children to new ideas,
people, animals etc that are not always easily experienced
face to face. They provide richer language input than general
5. It is well documented that sharing books with your child
increases their vocabulary, those that have regularly shared
books with their parents have bigger vocabularies at age 2. A
child's vocabulary at school entry predicts later academic
6. Hearing stories is the first step to telling stories, children can
learn the structure of stories and this develops their literacy
7. Most books aimed at young children include rhythm, rhyme
and repetitive language. This develops children's understanding
of patterns in language and therefore literacy skills.
8. Talking about what is happening, what might happen, how
characters are feeling and why, supports brain development
and helps children to make sense of and reason about
situations in their own lives.
9. The illustrations in books introduce young children to art.
Adult and child interaction
The biggest influence on language development is gender (girls tend to talk earlier) and other biology we can't control BUT
1. What you do with your child also
matters. The influence of what you
do can be seen in children's language at age 2 years.
2. Being responsive in your play and talk lets your child
know you are interested in them and builds your
3. Allowing your child to direct play and using minimal
prompts (e.g. showing them toys and waiting or asking
what they would like) helps develop your child's vocabulary.
4. Focusing on, and talking about the same things as your
child, helps to sustain their attention. You're adding
information to their interests.
5. Responding to your child by
interpreting what your baby / toddler is telling you,
modelling words / sentences they could use and the correct way to say it,
adding 1-2 words or a new (related) idea
using a small amount of responsive questions, directly related to what your child has just said
is associated with language on formal tests at age 3 years.
6. Using 'toy talk'; talk about the toys our child is playing
with and importantly, use of the specific word for the toy
e.g. "The kitten is soft" rather than "It's soft" increases the
range of sentences and the grammar used in 2 - 3 year
*Reference list coming soon