February 6, 2013
2:00 pm Eastern Time
A Wealth of Words
This session is part of the Follett Growing Readers Series
The research is clear: rich language experience gives babies and toddlers an ongoing and increasing advantage. Children who hear more words and more encouraging words as babies and who get more opportunities to hear and use interesting words as toddlers develop vocabularies, communication skills, and social-emotional and intellectual strengths that prime them for ongoing success. Early education and care programs can make an enormous difference – especially in the toddler years.
In this webinar, we will examine recent research and its implications for program policies and teaching practices. We will see how frequent, engaging “play talk” interactions with babies power a toddler language explosion that can start an upward spiral. Young children whose language is strong get more language-building opportunities from adults, books, and peers. With larger vocabularies at school entry, they are likely to become good readers by third grade, and to graduate high school with strong literacy skills.
With attention to dual language learners and children with special needs, we will zero in on the toddler years. We’ll see that toddlers are fully capable of learning two languages, and why it is essential that parents and caregivers speak with them in language(s) in which they can comfortably use a varied vocabulary. We’ll see how many of the things that parents and teachers do naturally scaffold rapid and robust language development. We’ll then look together at how teachers can be more intentional in their use of the most effective language-building strategies and how administrators can support their efforts.
The first step is to remove barriers to communication, structuring spaces, schedules, care-giving arrangements, and home-school connections to maximize opportunities for one-to-one language-building interactions. Using techniques such as Follow the CAR, Powerful Interactions, “Wait, watch and wonder,” “elaborated reminiscing,” interactive book sharing, and positive, proactive guidance, we can help individual children to tell their stories, ask their questions, and use their words to solve problems.
Environments and activities that pique curiosity can spark extended conversations that go beyond the here and now – especially when teachers use questions effectively. Although teachers are often told to simplify their language with toddlers, research suggests a more nuanced approach that connects abstract concepts to concrete experiences and stretches vocabulary. Little children love big words. When teachers and parents share the “juicy words” that children are learning, they can help toddlers develop both impressive vocabularies and impressive knowledge related to their interests – and to extend their learning as they play, pretend, investigate, problem-solve, tell stories, and seek information from people, books, hands-on experience.
Babies and young toddlers get most of their language input and practice from interactions with adults, but older toddlers increasingly learn from peer play. Teachers who are careful language-development observers can facilitate language-building peer interactions and scaffold participation for children who might otherwise be excluded from its benefits.
The basic recipe for a language-rich environment for toddlers is simple: warm relationships, interesting things to talk about, and interested people to talk with. The webinar will offer tools for assessing language environments and helping teachers and families to enhance their language-building habits.
Attend this session and you will be entered to win a CUSTOM Door prize!
When you attend the Growing Readers Series webinars, you will automatically have a chance to win a collection of books and/or other resources customized to your specifications with the personalized expert guidance of
the literacy specialists at Follett Early Learning.
All sessions are 1.5 hours long, and include a brief announcement from our sponsor.
2:oo PM – 3:30 PM Eastern Time.
Session Slides: Download
Session Recording: View
Resources for Teachers
Language-Building Tips: (Weekly tips for teachers of 2-6 year olds)
ZERO TO THREE Journal Articles:
Resources for Parents
Ele Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment: http://ele.fredrogerscenter.org
ZERO TO THREE free parent resources
Professional Development Resources
ZERO TO THREE Cradling Literacy: https://secure2.convio.net/zttcfn/site/Ecommerce/2077140175?VIEW_PRODUCT=true&product_id=3122&store_id=1461