Children Learning English Early On
We all remember our favorite stories and tales as children; Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things.
Are, Stella Luna, and others more advanced like The Hardy Boys and The Magic Tree House. Simply mentioning those titles elicits some of my earliest memories. It's rooted in the foundation of my learning. Oftentimes, stories are read or told to children from infancy throughout their most formative and impressionable years. Children, from a very early age, are exposed to wide ranges of concepts and dialogue. At such a young age, a child typically does not have a grasp on the lexicon of the language being spoken to them, but ideas begin to form.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Stephanie T. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Early Childhood Development
During the first six years of a child's life, their brain is constantly absorbing all the information around them. In the words of a world-renown physician, educator, and innovator Maria Montessori, this is the "absorbent mind". By the age of 6, an estimated 85% of the child's core brain structure has been formed, and everything learned after that is built upon it. The young mind is very active. It constantly craves information, and by the age of 6, it is looking to begin to understand all of the information being gathered. This age would be the perfect age to begin introducing new languages.
Benefits of Stories for Brain
So the young mind runs wild; it takes and builds and creates constantly. A child's imagination is the catalyst for a lot of their desire to learn. Stories, such as fairy tales, offer a safe space for children's brains to wander and wonder and form scenarios in their minds. They provide scenes and settings to ponder. They contain unforgettable dialogue between iconic characters, giving the child phrases and lines to repeat. Many of the main characters in these stories are golden-hearted heroes with whom the children feel like they can connect to, thus building upon their moral compass through the art of storytelling.
Vibrant or alluring images and illustrations, especially in stories for younger children, are important too. The five senses are employed continuously among children, especially sight. Kids have big imaginations and seeing pictures that illustrate the story being read helps them understand the contexts and situations of it. When colors and pictures are being used alongside words, it allows the child's brain to draw a connection and retain the information more easily than something like a lecture. This helps develop memory as well as basic reading skills. Basic reading skills are very important for learning proper intonation and fluency.
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Stories have been told to children for as long as language has been around. No matter where you're from, stories have been culturally woven into the foundation of you as a person and your ability to listen and process information. To say that they are not important would be an injustice and insult to the human condition. For many years, stories and tales have given us needed insight into real life. They've provided us with the tools needed to draw parallels between them and real-life situations, aiding us in making sense of the world around us. Stories unite people.
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