Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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We’re communicating more and with more people today than ever before via our electronic devices. The downside is that experts are expressing concerns that we’re getting a false sense of intimacy. Our ‘friends’ are not really friends and frequently, they’re not even acquaintances. We’re losing the fundamental social skills of being able to read facial expressions or the emotional context of a body movement. Because our conversations are taking place via electronic devices, our children are losing the opportunity to develop good oracy skills. The ability to use words to communicate thoughts and needs and to ask questions, to understand language heard in conversations and in books is a key foundational skill for later reading and intellectual achievement.

We can intentionally develop oracy skills by having conversations with our children. By definition, a conversation would be not only speaking skills but also listening skills. These language interactions are the basis for building children’s understanding of a large number of words, which is a crucial ingredient in their later ability to comprehend what they read. To develop strong oral skills children need to:

• hear and use a rich and abstract vocabulary

• hear and use increasingly complex sentences

• express ideas and ask questions

• answer questions and express abstract ideas

We can extend children’s understanding by providing multiple definitions and examples and by connecting ideas with concepts children already know. If we encourage children to tell their experiences, we not only expand oracy skills but also reinforce memory. Ask questions to enable children to express abstract ideas such as things they might imagine or predictions of things that might happen in the future.

Reading together tremendously expands opportunities for conversation. Books have a variety of words that might not be a part of our family’s vocabulary. Libraries are a wonder of choices for children to explore their own interests. Expand choices to include fiction and non-fiction, poetry, picture dictionaries and encyclopedias, and single-topic information books. Focus on the new vocabulary to which your child is being exposed and expand ideas with abstract language such as:

• what would have happened if a character had done something different?

• what are the characters thinking or feeling?

• what is the moral of the story, poem, or picture?

• how is that like your life?

More than vocabulary, these questions expand critical thinking, a vital skill for the future.