This paper will look at early language development. Specifically situations that foster early language development, situations that discourage adequate early language development and how early language environments affect subsequent language development. Language developments does not start at the time a child enters school for the first time it actually starts the moment the child enters into the world. The home is where the child first develops language. A baby goo's and gaga's, a toddler says words for what they want, a preschooler plays games, colors and interacts with others and uses sentences. So the more parents talk to their children from birth the more the child will pick up speech, dialects, listening ability, vocabulary, as well as reading and writing ability. The home is the foundation for the child's language development.
Now the discussion will be on situations that encourage early language development. What I did from the time I came home from the hospital with my children was read to them every night. As they got a little older and could talk I would ask my children questions about the story or have them read the story to me by looking at the pictures and having them tell the story, because they could not actually read as a toddler. When they were toddlers I always asked my children open ended questions like: what do you want to do today, what story would you like to read tonight which encouraged my children to talk. To encourage reading I bought a new book for my children every week. By reading books first to my children, then having my children tell me the story by looking at the pictures and then by having them read books to me I was helping to encourage their early language development. Also by doing this my children were able to read a year before they entered school which put them ahead of the game in school and therefore allowed them to be successful in school. Reading together at home helped encourage my children to read, obtain conversational skills and develop their vocabulary. Another way that I helped encourage early language development was singing to my children. When I found out that I was pregnant I made a tape of me singing songs that I sang in our church choir and I would put earphone on my stomach at night and play the tape. I cannot say for sure if that was the reason but during both of my pregnancies I never was woken up in the middle of the night by the baby. The music seemed to have a calming effect on my children even in the womb. As my children went from toddler to pre-school age I had play dates for them, they were in age appropriate classes at church and we went to the park a lot, because I wanted my children to interact with other children and adults. I felt the more exposure I could give them the more I was helping their early language development. Another thing I did a lot of was give my children positive feedback and comments. I believed that this was the way that I could strengthen their self-esteem. By doing this I gave my children the feeling that they could do anything and that carried them through some pretty tough things as they got older.
Let us now turn the discussion to situations that can discourage early language development. The biggest obstacle I see in our world today is parents don't have enough time. Many homes have two parents that both have to work to be able to pay the bills. By the time they get home, cook dinner, clean and do all the other essential things they are too tired to spend the time to read, sing, talk or play games with the child. Then you have the single parent home where one parent is responsible for everything. I did not become a single parent until my boys were four and six so I was lucky that I was able to have the time during those first years to really help develop my boy's early language development. Having said that there are many one parent homes from the start that are not able to do everything and then come home and worry about the early language development of their child. Then you have teenage parents that just don't know how to help encourage their child's early language development. Finally, you have parents that do not think it is important. They feel that is what school is for and that it is not their job. Television is another mistake that parents make. They think that by having their child watch programs like Sesame Street their child is getting the early language development that they need. This is not the case. Daycare, church and televisions are impersonal and the one thing a child needs is that feeling of love and warmth that only parents can give. Lastly, parents may think by having their child in daycare that their child is getting the early language development that they need by talking to and playing with other children their own age. This is not the case children need a variety of adult and child interaction but mostly parent interaction.
Now let us look at how early language environments affect subsequent language development. When early language development starts from birth it will subsequently affect the child ability to be successful in school. Reading is fundamental to every other subject taught in school. When I child can read, write and speak well they will be successful in all other subject areas. This does not only affect school this helps the child in life. In school, in life and in work a person has to be able to read, write and communicate effectively and that starts from the time a child enters into this world.