Does your child shy away from speaking to adults? Or, maybe you have a little one who won’t stop talking or shares a little too much personal information about her parents?? ;). In either situation, the benefits of speaking to others for a variety of reasons are vast and will last a lifetime.
In a safe environment, I try to coach my children on how to speak to others. This includes projecting their voices, making complete statements or requests, and using respectful manners.
One super motivating way to encourage public speaking is through placing orders at a restaurant. Being able to communicate your wants or needs in a way that others can understand is a life skill that all children will benefit from. One of the top ten fears for adults is speaking in front of an audience. While placing an order for ice cream is not quite the same as presenting a lecture or debate, it is the start of becoming comfortable with speaking in a variety of situations and my little ones definitely reap the benefits of this skill when it comes to ordering special treats.
For young children, ages 0-5, we are mostly exposing them to speaking opportunities. As adults, we need to provide a model for our children and give them many opportunities to practice with success. Start small and within your child’s comfort level.
This document gives you a few ideas to help develop your child’s oral language. You can download it as a reminder of things to do at each age.
As children age, we can encourage them to participate in more challenging public speaking activities. Not only will this improve their comfort level, it also will improve their oral vocabulary and later reading success. The more words children know, the more adept they will be at figuring out those words in print (more on this in a coming post).
Many of us try to talk to our children during play. That can be a great way to get kids to share their ideas and expand their sentences. Just remember to inquire into their activity without judgment. If you find that your child is not interested in talking, that’s okay too. Sometimes children get so engrossed in their play, they do not want to be interrupted. We do not want to cause a break in their creative thinking as they play, but offer opportunities to practice speaking with details and complete thoughts.
As we look at the standards for speaking and listening, we see skills progress in complexity through the grade levels. Here are a few examples:
Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.