Some of us believe that children learn oral language by imitating adults. And this concedes with the Behaviorist Theory which was developed by Skinner (1992). The theory states that children imitate adults and are motivated to use language. Also, that language and thought are initialized through interaction.
However, there are other theories that help us understand better language development in children. For example, the Nativist Theory, the theory states that language is innate and that children figure out how language works. The theory says that language growth depends on maturation. As a mom of three kids, I have seen how language progresses with children and how it goes from “babbling” to simple words to more complex sentences. This just makes me wonder how complex language development is and when is it developed?
We all have heard that reading, playing music and speaking to our babies even in the womb is a great habit to create. There is no doubt that children are being exposed to language even the in womb. According to research, right after birth babies are drawn to the mother’s voice instantly. Mother’s voice tends to sooth a crying baby. Bring comfort in the middle of the night. But why is it that babies are drawn to the mom’s voice? This question we will explore it in a different blog.
So what does research says about language development….
According to research, children start developing language quickly, right after the babbling stage, between 1 and 4 years old children gain an average of 860 root words per year, which is about 16.5 words per week that breaks down to 2.4 words per day. This information is amazing! Therefore, what harm can we cause to our children if we spoke and read to them consistently? I believe that by talking all the time to our children we could prepare them to be great readers.
If you like more information on oral language development watch this documentary “Why We Talk” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/why-do-we-talk/
Oral Language Development, Dr. Mary E. Dahlgren, 2008