As human beings, we have the desire to
communicate with others. We do this in many
ways. A simple smile communicates a friendly
feeling; a clenched fist transmits anger; tears
show happiness or sorrow. From the first day of
life, a baby expresses pain or hunger by cries or
actions. Gradually, the infant adds expressions
of pleasure and smiles when a familiar person
comes near. Then, little one begins to reach out
to be picked up.
The process of learning a language is
important. It is one of the most important skills
a child develops. The development of oral
language is a natural accomplishment. Usually,
a child learns the rules of language at an early
age without formal instruction. A child learns
language by listening and speaking. He learns
language by using it. Learning to talk, like
learning to walk, requires time for development
and practice in everyday situations. During the
first few years of life, listening and speaking
EARLY LANGUAGE AND
Language can be defined as human speech,
the written symbols for speech, or any means
of communicating. Language development
follows a predictable sequence. It is related,
but tied to, chronologically age. This
development process includes both sending
and receiving information.
It is important to remember that language
is learned through use.
Literacy, the ability to read and write, gives one
the command of a native language for the
purpose of communicating. The involves skills
in learning, speaking, reading, and writing. The
excitement of learning to read and write,
hopefully, will be as rewarding as a child’s first
words and first steps.
Language Development of Young
Baby’s Cry- this form of communication varies
in pitch and intensity and relates to stimuli
such as hunger, discomfort, or fear.
Cooing- these are the sounds made when an
infant’s basic needs are met and she is
relaxed, content, or stimulated by what is seen
or heard. A baby derives a great deal of
pleasure from practicing and listening to her
own gurgling and cooing.
Babbling- these early random sounds made by
an infant are a repetition of sequence of clear,
alternating consonant and vowel sounds. This
vocalization will eventually be combined into
words, such as baba for bottle and wawa for
Association- a baby begins to get some idea of
the meaning of a few words about six to nine
months. An association between the sounds
an infant makes and the meaning of the
sounds starts to become clear.
Fields and Spangler (1995):
Before the first year is over, babies have
narrowed their utterances from all possible
sounds to those significant in their
environment. Before long, they all begin to
make the sounds of their language in
combinations that mean something specific.
As soon they acquire this ability to
communicate with words, they begin to string
them together for even greater results.
One-word usage: Many first words are
completely original, private words of the child.
They may be sequences or intonations used
on a consistent basis. In the early stages of
language development, a word, such as hot or
no, often stands for a whole object or an
experience. The one-word stage also uses a
word to get something or some action from
others, such as go, down, or mine. Getting the
appropriate response, approval, and smiles
from adults encourages the child to make the
sounds again and again.
Recall: A child’s ability to remember an object
named even when the object is not visible is
helped by the touching, grasping, and tasting
of the object. Responding to her name;
identifying family members, and watching,
pointing to, and naming an object usually
occurs toward the end of first year. This is
some called “sign-language” communication,
such as when a child holds up her arms to be
Telegraphic Speech: the two-word sentence is
the next step in the development of language
of the young child. This speech helps a child
express wishes and feelings, and ask
questions. The child repeats over and over,
such as all gone, drink milk, or throw ball. It is
important to talk and listen to a toddler. This is
a critical language-growth period, as the young
child is processing, testing and remembering
Multiword speech: The child can express
feelings and tell others what he wants. At the
same time, the child can understand the words
of other people and absorb new knowledge.
The child’s vocabulary increases and the
repetition of songs, stories, and poems comes
more easily. Words become important tools of
learning, and they help a young child grow
socially. Children talk together, and friendships
Literacy Development of Young
Literacy Development- a lifelong process that
begins at birth, includes listening, speaking,
reading and writing.
Learning is prerequisite to learning.
Learning to speak is an important step toward
learning to read.
Researchers believe children learn about
reading and writing through play. As a teacher
of young children, you see this happening
Because literacy is a continuous process,
children are working on all aspects of oral and
written language at the same time.
Fields & Spangler, 1995
Learning to read and learning to write are
inseparable. Reading exposes child to models
for writing; and writing requires reading as part
of the composition process. Knowledge about
one enhances understanding of the others,
and both are learned simultaneously.
IRA & NAEYC, 1998:
Although reading and writing abilities continue to
develop throughout the life span, the early childhood
years- from birth through age eight- are the most
important period for literacy development. Children
take their first critical steps towards learning to read
and write very early in life. Long before they can
exhibit reading and writing production skills, they
begin to acquire some basic understandings of the
concepts about literacy and its functions. Children
learn to use symbols, combing their oral language,
pictures, print and play into a coherent mixed medium
and creating and communicating meanings in a
Family members are a child’s primary teachers
of language. They are the first people a child
hears speak, the first adults spoken to, and the
most important people a child will
communicate with throughout her life.
Awareness of the importance of parents and
other significant family members to a child’s
language and literacy development is one of
the first steps in working with parents.
Respecting Language of Home &
It is important to understand that accepting a
child’s language is part of accepting a child.
Children will feel more successful if you involve
their parents in activities and understand the
different learning styles each child may have.
Parents can help identify some basic words used
in the child’s language, especially those that are
important to the child.
If possible, have a family member or someone
who speaks the child’s native language available
to help the child learn the routines and
expectations, as well the new language
ORGANIZING & PLANNING FOR
INTEGRATED LANGUAGE & LITERACY
As the significant adults in a child’s life, we
should ensure that the environment
surrounding each child be the very best can
be- developmentally, individually, and
As you plan the physical space for the
language and literacy activities, you should
keep in mind that how you design this area will
affect the choices children make in their
Language arts center, should be arranged so
children can use this area independently or in
Organization and focus is on creating a child-
Language arts center should be an
environment that is soft.
The center should have good lighting and easy
access to child-size tables, chairs and
bookcases that are arranged for group or
SETTING UP A LANGUAGE AND
Materials should be available at all times for
children to use for writing. They should be
separated into appropriate, brightly colored
containers to make it easy for children to
choose what they need.
The use and care of the materials should be
discussed each time something new is added
to the learning center.
The classroom should also be print-rich. A print-
rich literacy environment includes:
All types of books that are displayed attractively
and within easy access of the children
Books made and written by individual children
Books made and written by the class of children
Magazine and newspapers appropriate for young
TIPS & ACTIVITIES
Group Time Activities
One of the ways to tell or extend a story
Children can help the teacher tell the story by
placing the pieces on the board at the
appropriate time in the story
After the teacher tells the story, the
flannelboard and character pieces can be
placed in any activity center curriculum area.
It attracts attention.
It stimulates interest.
It is flexible in use.
It frees a teacher’s hands.
It adds texture to the activity.
It improves communication.
It dramatizes concepts.
It is easily and stored.
Group Time Activities
Presents the opportunity for listening,
speaking, vocabulary development, and
cognitive and social activities.
Appropriate group time activities are finger
plays, poetry, songs, stories, flannelboard
activities, and sensory activities.
These should be developmentally appropriate
and reflect multicultural/antibias content.