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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Essay on Reading and Language Development in Children

Essay on Reading and Language Development in Children
            Reading children their stories books every night has been a tradition for most family. However, apart from parent-child bonding moment, scholars now suggest that reading books also help children in their language development.  A large number of research assert that particular types of experience, such as reading books, can play a significant role in advancing a child’s linguistic skills. This is because children learn language through the models provided by the parents of caregiver. In this case, parents who expose their kids to books facilitate language growth and development of their linguistic skills (Dickinson, 2011, p. 5).

            Similarly, child experts contest that reading in particular has a great impact on the language skill of a child. This is because language learning requires three basic principles: (1) exposure to new words, (2) interest, and (3) interactivity and responsiveness. Studies show that children tend to draw their attention towards sounds that are unfamiliar to them. This means that exposing them to different words and sounds supports their ability to make sense, understand and interpret the words.  In addition to this, scholars suggest that children are able to learn more when the topic or the activity is of immediate interest to them. This will then trigger their curiosity thus, paving the way for a responsive interaction regarding the meaning of certain words. 

Reading, as an activity embodies this qualities or principles of language learning. First, it provides children the opportunity to hear new sounds, words, and vocabulary in different grammatical sentences. Children books are especially written in short sentences in order to allow the child to easily retain and comprehend the words. Alternately, book reading enriches the child’s desire for learning as it promotes both interest and attention. This is because story books use bold colors as well as interesting images that appeal to young minds. Accordingly, reading helps children develop their linguistic skills as it triggers interaction with the parent. This therefore suggests that reading maximizes the different ways in which children can learn language (Dickinson, 2011, p. 5).

            There are numerous researches that support this principle in language learning. For instance, a recent study involves a one-month home-based experiment. It includes parents in an experiment group in which they are instructed to read books to children and at the same time increase their interaction by raising open-ended questions. After a 9 month-follow up, results shows that the children from the experimental group were able to demonstrate expressive language ability. In addition to this, children also displayed a higher frequency of utterance as well as phrases and sentence formation (Whitehurst, et. al, 2010, p. 552).

            Similarly, another study in Europe underscored the importance of reading in a child’s language development. The study involved mothers who are at their 36th week of pregnancy. The families would then receive books of four packs in the course of two years. The parents are instructed to read the books to their children as well as encourage the child to continue and engage in reading. Findings show that children in this group displayed positive results in terms of their vocabulary, expressive language, as well as in their responsive language (Wasik,, 2001, p. 243).

            These are just some if the studies that suggest the importance of reading in a child’s linguistic growth. Hence, it is crucial for the parent to facilitate this language development by exposing the child to reading as early as possible.

Dickinson, D. (2011). “How Reading Book Fosters Language Development”. Child
Development Research. 20, pp.1-15
Wasik, B. (2001). “Beyond The Pages of a Book.”. Journal of Education. 93, pp. 243-250
Whitehurst, G. & Falco, F. (2010). “Accelerating Language Development through Picture Book
Reading”.  Developmental Psychology.,24, pp.552-559

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