Children that Create Stories Learn New Words
A vocabulary gap begins early in a child’s life that has fewer words spoken to him/her in conversation. By the age of three some children have already fallen behind others as far back as 30 million words by age 3. These children are exposed to less words, when they begin school immediately have difficulty with reading comprehension and if their vocabulary is not strengthen will continue to fall further behind others in their academic achievements.
It is important that parents, caregivers and educators work together to create chances for these children to learn new words with the knowledge of how to use these words in their everyday language. One of the simplest ways this can be done is to help children create stories or story dictation. Using this method, researchers are able to introduce new language to preschoolers and eventually shorten or even close the word gap.
Story dictation means a child works one-to-one with an adult. As the child tells the story the adult writes the story, new words are being introduced, and the children must use the new word in its proper context. After the introduction of the new word the child is encouraged to use the new word more than once while creating their new story. As the teacher uses the new words in his/her speech, the children will begin to use the new language as they become familiar with its use and its meaning. As the new words are being used repeatedly in different sentences the children begin to have a profound understanding of the word and ways to use it in the context of their language. As the children become comfortable with the words new words can be introduced and vocabulary is broadened without a strain on the child’s learning because he/she is doing it while telling a story. This method is nonintrusive and many times comfortable to a young child as he creates a story for others to hear that expresses his understanding of the world around him.
Teaching new words one-to-one using story dictation is effective in many ways. One way is that the children after hearing the words used in their read aloud stories; teachers can then ask the children questions about the words as he/she uses the words while telling their own story. Teachers will able to identify and understand how much a child really knows about the word when using it in the story and can determine if more definition is needed. Children are know to repeat words that are new or unfamiliar. Children should be asked to repeat a word that they are struggling to learn out loud. This helps the children to place the sound of the word in their memory. Adults can also model the word’s usage and sound for the child. Whenever the child uses the word the adult should praise the child, encourage repetition anytime that the child uses the new word, and continue to introduce new words whenever possible.