Any specific factors that you have particular concerns with will determine some of the resources you can consult to identify factors affecting a child's language skills development. For example, you might have an interest in raising a bilingual child. Conversely, you might have concerns about potential development delays in a child. Unusual factors such as premature delivery can modify a child's normal progression through developmental stages of all skills including language.
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Recognise that normal development patterns for children, of which language acquisition forms one part of a full range of development, have associations with the acquisition of other skills. Language incorporates four different structural aspects: phonological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic as described at the Education.com website. Children learn first to understand spoken language and then to speak themselves and most acquire various language skills at about the same ages and in roughly the same order. The general environment provided for the child's overall development also has an impact on the ease, or lack thereof, with which a child develops language skills.
Experts and researchers identify a language-rich environment as a key factor in development of language skills in young children. The first three years of a child's life, and particularly the first year, have a significant impact not only on their early life language learning, but also it carries forward into language development in school-age children. Children who have an environment in which the adults around them talk to them using a wide range of words master language skills more readily than children with a lower level of exposure language as described at the Speech-language-development website. The positive effect of a language-rich environment in the first three years of a child's life has both an immediate and a long-term impact. Read-to babies are more inclined toward developing reading skills in later years more rapidly than those whose parents read to them infrequently or not at all as babies, even as infants.
Exposing young children, even babies, to various sounds helps provide a good environment for communication. Reciting rhymes, reading books to the child, and exposing children to language associated with music, such as singing to them, all foster a language-development supportive environment. Adequate play time of all sorts also factors significantly in the development of language skills as described at the Education.com website.
You can find resources ranging from online information to expert articles on how to create a language-rich environment. Local librarians and teachers can assist you in locating reading materials on promoting children's language skills development. Your own paediatrician also is a starting point for referrals to other language skills specialists.
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- Speech Language Development: Information for Parents with Questions About Speech and Language Development; Robert Kurtz; 2010
- Spark Notes: Language and Cognition
- Friends of Libraries U.S.A.: Early Literacy
- Education.com: Why is Play Important: Cognitive Development, Language Development, Literacy Development; J.P. Isenberg and M.R. Jalongo; 2006
- Education.com: Language Plan and Language Development; F.P. Hughes; 1999