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  • Writer's pictureTara O'Brien

Shocking! Writing and Reading are Supported by Speaking and Listening Skills

I`m an Early Years teacher and have had the privilege of working with 3-6 year old students my whole teaching career. Early Years teachers know, language development is a complex process of interwoven skills and understandings. Children develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills alongside each other and every "area" of language development is interwoven and dependent on the others. I imagine language development in the Early Years like a braid of many interwoven strands...separate but integrated...strongest when woven together.

As an educator, it feels like there is more and more pressure being placed on young children to develop their reading and writing skills. Speaking and listening skills are quickly becoming an after thought, but these skills are equally important and necessary to developing reading and writing skills in the first place. I support placing more focus on speaking and listening skills in the Early Years and having a more holistic approach to Language development. A more holistic approach to Language development will improve outcomes!

Here are two examples of easy implicit ways to promote speaking and listening skills in the Early Years.

I am a story-teller. During transitions, play-time, and sharing time, I model story-telling using real or made-up stories about my childhood and life. When I tell stories, my students learn about story elements, which will support their reading and writing development. They also learn about composition and what makes a good story. Furthermore, they feel like they know me and can relate to me. Story-telling builds relationships.

I use puppet play. I preform puppet shows for my students and have puppets available in the classroom for use during play time. Puppet play promotes story-telling, speaking and listening skills, cooperative play, and the development of a whole host of social-emotional domains. Puppet play will reinforce reading and writing skills as students will develop composition skills and story elements as well.

Share! What ways do you facilitate speaking and listening development in the classroom?

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