The point of pointing
This is part three of giving children the best start to becoming literate. It is probably worth saying, at this point, that although I’ve separated the steps it doesn’t mean that once you have got to part two, eye contact and chatting to your baby becomes redundant. It is a case of adding to and not swapping for.
Can you imagine learning a new language without being able to link words to objects?
How could you learn what ‘le chien’ could possibly be if you don’t have a picture of a dog or a pet dog by your side to give you a clue?
This is the problem that little children have when they are learning to talk. They may be able to say the word ‘dog’ but without visual clues they will have no idea what you are talking about.
Thinking back to my university days, I had a lecturer who would talk and talk and talk but give clues to what he was talking about. I fell asleep on more than one occasion and eventually gave up on sociology altogether!!
Children need to be given clues to the words you are teaching them.
Whether you are using pictures in a book or on screen, models or the real thing, pointing comes into its own. Being to point at a picture and say ‘dog’ sounds a pretty easy thing to do but the difference it makes to a baby is immense.
Once a baby can point to something and attempt to say the word it is time to push the boundaries.
Baby says ‘dog’. (or a variation of it!)
‘Oh yes, a wet dog’ says Mummy.
‘Wet’ isn’t something you can point at and say without confusion. Can you imagine the bewilderment of a child if you point to a familiar object like a dog coming out of the sea and say ‘wet’?
Learning to talk is probably one of the hardest things we have to learn. The processes needed to string sounds together to make an understandable word or sentence are hugely difficult but children manage to be able to learn this skill from such an early age.
It is a very simple movement, to point to something and say its name but consider the learning you had to do to achieve this in this first place.
Having a wide vocabulary makes communicating and thinking so much easier. A child (or adult) who can express themselves accurately due to their extensive vocabulary will have an advantage as they encounter the trials, tribulations, pleasures and exhilarations of life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Why not leave a message in the box below and I’ll reply as soon as possible.