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As seen in Little Learners

Communication and language is an EYFS prime area, which means that it is one of the essential building blocks for all other learning. Language skills help children learn new things, connect with others and make sense of the world. They can also predict a child's future, from their standard of health to their employment prospects. Research by The National Literacy Trust, in association with OUP, showed that children with poor vocabulary at age five are more than twice as likely to be unemployed by age 34.

So, how can we set little ones up for success with strong language and communication skills?

By creating playful environments rich with language and plenty of opportunities for learning through fun. Adults can do this by having lots of conversations, playing make-believe games, singing songs or rhymes and – most importantly – reading!

Reap the rewards of reading

Around 58% of children aged three to four are read to every day, which drops to 44% by ages five to seven, as the notion that 'reading is for schools' takes hold. Reading at home and for pleasure is vital for helping children become lifelong readers, and there are so many benefits to be had.

Reading provides an incredible opportunity to bond with children.

Spending quality one-on-one time together and diving into an imaginary world gives them a sense of intimacy and well-being. It can help little ones develop a strong attention span and create a sense of security as part of a daily routine.

Sharing just one book a day can make an enormous difference.

Studies show that children who are read to every day will hear about 290,000 more words by age five than those who don't regularly read with a parent or carer. This is because the language in books is different to the language of everyday life. Books expose children to more descriptive words and formal grammar than they might hear in day-to-day conversation. They can also transport us to worlds we will never experience in real life, from the deep sea to the land of the dinosaurs!

Reading together can also be used as a helpful way to approach societal issues within stories that children can relate to.

This was highlighted in OUP's recent research into the power of reading, with two-thirds of the parents surveyed using reading as an opportunity to discuss difficult or sensitive topics with their children, while 66% look for books with meaningful messages at their heart. From emotions to allyship, books can help equip children with all the language they need as they grow up. 

 

Top tips for getting the most out of reading together

 

Big Words for Little People

This exciting series helps grown-ups and children to talk about feelings and how to express them.

Using Oxford University Press's language expertise, the books deliver carefully chosen big and small words to help children understand and talk about the ups and downs of first experiences and new emotions.

With fun illustrations to engage little minds, they are perfect for sharing, talking about and teaching children the language they need to fully express themselves as they grow up.

With titles covering PSHE topics from friendship to bravery, these books can help build children's confidence, compassion and vocabulary. 

 

 

Enjoyed reading this blog? We've got loads more ideas and inspiration for early years teachers in our Little Learners magazine. This article has been taken from our latest issue. Click here to check it out.

Did you know you can also subscribe to receive all future issues of Little Learners for FREE? Click here to subscribe

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