Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: Let them talk! They're building language skills

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Let them talk! They're building language skills

I've never been a proponent of the idea that children should be seen and not heard. Sure, kids should learn manners, and as they grow they should figure out when it is appropriate to use their inside voices, or maintain a respectful silence, but in general, I am a big fan of allowing children to talk, both to one another and to adults.

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I will, however admit to wanting to pull my hair out on occasion and scream, "Okay, enough, I don't care to hear one more word about Five Nights at Freddy's, thank you!" That's because I have an 8-year-old who is going through her motor mouth phase, and she never, ever seems to shut up.

But this past weekend, I was speaking at the Tulsa Homeschool Expo, and I had a chance between my sessions to sit down and listen to some of the other speakers, and one of the things I heard really struck me. 

Andrew Pudewa, in a session about building language skills, said that little kids need to hear themselves talk. Hearing themselves say words out loud is a crucial building block of language development. 

Okay, then! According to Mr. Pudewa, language building expert of the homeschool community, my instincts were right to not only allow my kids to talk freely, but to encourage them to do so. That is, of course, except when we're in heavy traffic, when it would be inappropriate for anyone to rattle on, or when mama is down to her last nerve.

I've come to realize that the motor mouth phase only lasts a few years, as my older kids have grown into teenagers and their tendency to talk on and on, even when no one is listening, has waned. They still talk to me, and to each other, but more purposefully now. They don't seem to talk just to hear themselves talk. 

But now that I realize that's exactly what they were doing while they were younger, developing language skills by listening to themselves saying words out loud, I am so happy that I let them jabber. That, along with reading aloud together and other things we did as a family, helped them build strong vocabularies and become confident speakers and writers. 

So, let your kids talk... and talk, and talk, and talk, and talk!