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Books for learn to speak: vocabulary

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Published on May 04, 2020

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A premise of this article is necessary. Are not a speech-language pathologist, the reflections relate to the practice of language learning are but the result of years of studies on the Italian language (phd and years of university research on grammar and linguistics, the teaching of grammar and the Italian language that I conducted for years in the university, and the master that I have attended for the learning of the Italian language as a secondary language). I also do consulting for the use of the register shown as instrument of inclusive schools and I write a monthly column in an industry magazine, Gulliver, trying to dissect precisely the relation of the learning of the language and grammar thanks to the illustrated literature.

The starting-point of my consideration starts from the conviction that to read passionately the stories to their children and that is the contribution with the greatest impact on language learning. Any nice story will evoke the interest for the words, their meaning, and their organisation and, at the same time – if the stories are well chosen and cared for – will expose the child to language in all its complexity, abituandone the ear.

The books that I will recommend are born from a personal research that I implemented, which was caused by the materials that some speech and language therapists had given to my son as support for the expansion of the lexicon and the syntax (I'll talk about in a future article). Voluntarily does not prompt me to suggest specific books for the learning of phonetics, because the constraints of the departure of each case, determine in a unique way, the strategy speech, which, however, is not the case for the lexicon and syntax.

When we talk about vocabulary learning, the materials that are offered to the child are often cards very succinct listing in a timely manner the various names that you want to teach; the images speak directly to the child (although the child may not know about the object named!) and the adult introduces and names the words. In this way, learning involves a combination of binary mnemonic: I'll show you one thing and I say the word to which you associate it. The child is asked to make a major effort exclusively entrusted to the memory, which is further complicated if the picture inside shows a variety of words (for example, all the names of the parts of the body shown in a single image of the body). The involvement of the learner is equal to zero, it does not matter if the child is not interested nothing of the topic, or if he never saw the pictures of which you must learn the names, if you do not know what they are, that's the sound of...

To avoid this type of face to face learning, time and time again I have tried books that gather vocabulary belonging to the same family of semantics, but that establish a story, a game, a physical involvement that could entertain my son.

The families of words you will encounter in the books more easily than you might think. The first level to consider is that of the albi encyclopedias that illustrate families of words: in this case, the learning strategy will not be different from the traditional one, but the treatment of the images (colored, rich in details,...) certainly will involve more children, compared with the design generally stylized black-and-white of a teaching record.

Then there are books that fit the proximity of the vocabulary in stories, rhymes, and games that are consistent, able to entertain and engage.

With Wolf discover wolf the teaching of the parts of the body, for example, is part of a game of touches and looks, caresses and cuddling. The individual images help to focus on the detail, the child is distracted from the game and the learning is reinforced almost unconsciously by the gesture that the text calls/describes.

In the Ready, go! Julie Morstad, the choices that the child makes during the course of a whole day to really correspond to various semantic fields: which dress should I wear? What I eat in the morning? As I move? In intepellare the child in the choice, in fact we put in front of a series of options, both known and unknown that want to get to know, to be able to choose.

Are excellent also supports the wimmelbuch that, in the absence of words, join with the child and interrogate him. The space described by the images you leave describe, but without having to pretend. For example, the vocabulary of the urban environment learned in individual tabs, without the support of the vision of the whole, it was for my son, initially a rock hard: the streetlight looked like a pole, the trash will not understand what to serve... In the read together with the Spring all the urban furniture is shown dynamically for the use that the characters made, and then the understanding was facilitated. The same could be said for domestic spaces, the countryside... but do not distort the nature of these books, exercise books, beautiful but always workbooks. Tell the stories that are interwoven between the pages: the words will be born, of need!

I would not underestimate also the opportunity to learn more lexically a topic loved by the child: the enlargement of the vocabulary does not have to be an action d type horizontal, aimed at the acquisition of only the terms belonging to the basic vocabulary, but may choose the vertical, provided, however, comply with the passions of the learner. My son, for example, subjected for weeks on cards on cards on musical instruments (not particularly popular) and no one care instead of engage in the same work on the means of transport, thanks to Alain Grée, he learned, instead, in a few hours. In both cases we speak of vocabulary, why prefer the music transport? Why not prefer a Inventory of flowers or dinosaurs, to birds or the trees?

There are also the books shows that play with the relations lexical. In this group we mark All together, a book that puts in sequence the names according to the criterion of the quantity or of similarity: relationships that are so often forgotten or ignored, in favour of the opposites or synonyms (on which there are albi beautiful!), but that offer glimpses of the interesting and relate to names that are not discounted.

The vocabulary, in short, does not have to be learned in only one way: the lexicon is not just a nomenclature.

Naming things is a need linked to the desire to know, to awaken the curiosity of children, let us not limit ourselves to train them.

The article Books to learn how to speak: the lexicon seems to be the first on a low Shelf.

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