Limitless Learning Through Languages by Kathleen Leos, CEO of The Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development
The benefits ascribed to learning multiple languages are limitless. Educational neuroscience research conducted worldwide affirms what educators and parents understand intuitively: that dual language development dramatically increases cognitive capacity for learning and success in life.
Studies published by neuroscientist, Dr. Laura-Ann Petitto, (2008) state, “children, consistently learning two languages from birth, outperform every other student group on state standardized 3rd grade reading tests” (1). Implicit, in this study, is the parents’ role in building a child’s educational foundation by explicitly teaching primary language at home and in the community.
Parents are a child’s first and most significant teacher. In this capacity, parents eager to embrace their influential role in the learning process often ask what do I need to do to support my child’s learning?
Included here are simple activities, rooted in Neuroscience, that parents can use at home. These strategies support explicit dual/multiple language learning while mirroring instructional strategies that teachers use in the classroom. The goal for parents in teaching primary language at home is twofold: First, to build a solid foundation of language on which all other learning takes place, and second, to establish an interactive home-school partnership that supports the school’s and family’s lifelong learning goals.
The Education Neuroscience Foundation’s Parent Handbook for Language Learning.
The list of activities, developed by The Education Neuroscience Foundation for Parents, is to support a students’ primary language development in the home and the community. The activities are designed to build a solid foundation in the learners’ first language which support dual language development instruction used in classrooms nationwide. Each activity is scientifically proven to work.
Language development depends on hearing and saying sounds. The sounds of the language spoken at home are the important first sounds your learner hears to develop words, vocabulary, sentences, phrases, and finally, thoughts. The best way to develop fluid and fluent readers is through language. The sounds a child hears maps onto a symbol or letter; and letters form words and phrases. Combine the words with visual images and the child begins to develop cognition and think.
The key to developing strong readers begins with language; and Language begins with sounds.
LET’S HAVE FUN WITH SOUNDS and SOUND TO SYMBOL MAPPING!
TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK and more TALK. Encourage Talking! Talk to your child and let your child talk to you! Talk about school, teachers, friends, family, events, holidays, movies, books, ideas. KEEP TALKING!!! LET THEM TALK!!!
Take time to actively and intentionally listen to your child at home, in the car, in the yard, in the store. Listen to your child’s stories and conversations. Ask questions about what your child is thinking, seeing, doing, school, siblings, friends, teachers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. ALL TOPICS!
Tell your child stories! Family stories about the past, a holiday or an experience you had, interests your child exhibits. Storytelling develops their identity, culture, history, and imagination. Let them ask questions about the story; who, what, where, why and when questions. See if they can add details to your story.
Continue reading to learn more about Kathleen’s insights...