WOW! Word™of the week: Attach

kids-756301_1280A WOW! Word™ is any word that, when used by a child in conversation, causes the listener to sit up and take notice. That’s positive attention, mind you. Positive attention that generally includes the verbal response, “Wow!”

It’s true. WOW! Words invite children––regardless of natural or learned language abilities––to be confident and powerful talkers, talkers who hold their listeners’ attention.

To introduce a new WOW! Word, merely begin using the word and any of its forms––attach, attached, attachment––often and every day. Look for opportunities to use the WOW! Word in daily conversations for a week or more. Then continue using the word as you add to your ever-growing collection of WOW! Words.

It’s noteworthy when your infant shows she understands words like bye-byemommy, or daddy. So too, you’ll notice her understanding of each new WOW! Word. And when she begins to lead those conversations, she’ll just naturally use every kind of word you’ve been modeling for her.

This week’s WOW! Word: attach

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The Nouns Game™

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Let’s play The Nouns Game™ with your child of any age today. This talking game is a good way to build your child’s oral language or storehouse of vocabulary and knowledge. You can even talk this activity with an infant! And it’s another free activity you can do with your child anywhere you are. Here’s how:

First off, let’s remind ourselves that a noun names a person, a place, or a thing. Nouns are words that name those tangible or real things you’ll help your child see and touch today. As you say a sentence such as “We’ll take the dog with us,” just emphasize the word “dog” that names an animal, a thing. Specific nouns and sentences you model depends on your child’s age and interests and on the activity the two or you are doing in the moment.

As you play The Nouns Game, you can model added vocabulary and knowledge by occasionally saying this sentence: “Nouns name some tangible or real things we can see and touch.

Here are some sentences you might say with your infant or toddler today: Continue reading

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This week’s WOW! Word: available

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A WOW! Word™ is any word that, when used by a child in conversation, causes the listener to sit up and take notice. That’s positive attention, mind you. Positive attention that generally includes the verbal response, “Wow!”

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WOW! Word™ of the Week: OCCUPY

WOW! WordsA WOW! Word™ is any word that, when used by a child in conversation, causes the listener to sit up and take notice. That’s positive attention, mind you. Positive attention that generally includes the verbal response, “Wow!”

It’s true. WOW! Words invite children––regardless of natural or learned language abilities––to be confident and powerful talkers, talkers who hold their listeners’ attention.

To introduce a new WOW! Word, merely begin using the word and any of its forms––available, availability––often and every day. Look for opportunities to use the WOW! Word in daily conversations for a week or more. Then continue using the word as you add to your ever-growing collection of WOW! Words.  

It’s noteworthy when your infant shows she understands words like bye-byemommy, or daddy. So too, you’ll notice her understanding of each new WOW! Word. And when she begins to lead those conversations, she’ll just naturally use every kind of word you’ve been modeling for her.

This week’s WOW! Word: occupy

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Focusing Talk Tip: The Bridge Is Up!

Here’s a Fuss Fixer that you have right there with you wherever you are! Focusing Talk™ is a fun way to help your child find meaning in the language of books. It models for him how to take words and ideas from a favorite book for use in daily conversations. Focusing Talk around a familiar book also helps him notice that words you read aloud from a book are just like words people say when they talk.

Your child will pay attention when you Focus Talk around  a book she knows. And Focusing Talk––connecting “book talk” with “talk talk”––gives your infant or toddler a head start toward later successes in reading and writing.

Before you Focus Talk around a book’s language, just read the book aloud several times. Then, here’s how to do some Focused Talking around a particular picture book, The Bridge Is Up! by Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

The Bridge is Up!

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WOW! Word™ of the Week: CONVERSATION

WOW WordsA WOW! Word™ is any word that, when used by a child in conversation, causes the listener to sit up and take notice. That’s positive attention, mind you. Positive attention that generally includes the verbal response, “Wow!”

It’s true. WOW! Words invite children––regardless of natural or learned language abilities––to be confident and powerful talkers, talkers who hold their listeners’ attention.

To introduce a new WOW! Word, merely begin using the word and any of its forms––available, availability––often and every day. Look for opportunities to use the WOW! Word in daily conversations for a week or more. Then continue using the word as you add to your ever-growing collection of WOW! Words.  

It’s noteworthy when your infant shows she understands words like bye-byemommy, or daddy. So too, you’ll notice her understanding of each new WOW! Word. And when she begins to lead those conversations, she’ll just naturally use every kind of word you’ve been modeling for her.

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In a culture of interruption, two great ways to teach a child one of life’s most basic values.

05br270Interrupting a Talker is not only impolite; it could lead to totally-erroneous information. Just this morning, I nearly interrupted my senior friend’s sentence. She was telling about her having recently taken some drug. She told how it had “helped her get pr–…”

Immediately I knew — or thought I knew — what she was about to say, and it was a slightly impish thought at that. And how badly I wanted to interrupt with an all-important-to-me thought on where her sentence sounded like it was heading.

But, no. I kept my listening ears politely tuned, all the while thinking about what Great Interrupters we adults are.

Yes. Take a moment and listen to two adults in conversation. It’s shocking the number of times Great Interrupters act totally oblivious to the fact that someone else is holding the Talking Stick.

Yet, we expect far-different behavior from children. We teach and preach; we jabber and clabber about the necessity of not interrupting others.

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One word that proves kids love language as much as they love dessert.

uriel_blueberriesEvery child understands the power of language to make things happen. For years now, I’ve measured the success of my poems and songs for kids by how much they say “More!” or “Do it again!” after listening.

I call such poems and songs “desserts,” because kids like them enough to ask for more, and just as excitedly as they might ask for more cake or ice cream––or more blueberries.

A case in point: My neighbor Uriel, a delightful 18-month-old who’s learning three languages. I saw him and his mama recently while I was power-walking in the neighborhood. I learned that Uriel had recently discovered, at a party, that he could get the adults around him to give him all the blueberries he wanted, just by saying “More!”

As his mama and I were talking, I could see that little Uriel was listening. And his eyes were fixated on my mouth. He was putting much study into my every word and facial expression. He was looking for familiar words . . . looking for meaning behind those words. Young children are truly language sponges.

His mama stops now to recite and act out with him a poem she’s written. In English. He giggles and wiggles to all that familiarity.

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How I got kids to take up reading in a home with no print in sight.

I looked forward to visiting my students in their homes. Whether visiting 5th graders or special needs students, I usually made at least two visits to each child’s home during a school year.

calendarInteracting with my students on their home turfs offered new and different insights. Generally, my goals were the same: I’d share classroom news and get to put names with some faces I rarely saw during parent-conference week. I’d also spend a few minutes extolling the virtues of reading aloud every day. But, home visits with students one year posed a glaring reality.

One day, I’d visited five students and had not seen a single book, magazine, or newspaper. This meant I was wasting folks’ time with all my talk about reading aloud. Reading of any kind would not be happening in those homes.

Many of my children’s families could scarcely afford food and clothing. Yet, I was marching in there with the expectation, the exhortation, that they should be reading to their kids every day.

In truth, I realized how little I had done to facilitate reading aloud at home. Later that day, another troubling thought came to mind as I looked around our classroom.

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Why a little conversationalist is bound to be a leader.

It’s the first day of school. And within the first ten minutes, I know who my leaders are in this class. How do I know that?

Save-the-Children-at-the--003First of all, I’m the teacher. I’m watching. I’m listening.

Secondly, my class leaders are already leading…with their mouths. They’re leading the other kids…in a positive direction or a not-so-positive direction. But they are leading.

Kids are using language to lead. They’re trying hard to be convincing. They want others to follow them. And the more powerful their vocabulary and knowledge, the more convincing they are to the other kids.

Yes, it’s that simple. And it’s that obvious.

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