What are the different ways how children can learn language skills?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main four forms of learning are very basic:

  • speaking
  • listening
  • reading
  • writing

This applies to every skill because all four of these processes touch upon major cognitive areas which are needed for functioning within our immediate environment. 

When it comes to speaking, the best way to acquire language is by modeling intonation, pronunciation, and pitch. You can teach the word "airplane" to any child but, for a Kindergartner for instance, to say the word "airplane" may prove a difficult task; the word is comparatively long, and it combines many vowels and consonants.Therefore, the teacher would have to say the word slowly, emphasize on the consonants, intonate the higher pitch letters, and consider any speech impairment that may obstacle the student's word production. 

Listening, as a skill, is not as simple as it seems; the fact is that in order to listen there has to be discipline, cognitive processing, and a low affective filter. Without listening the children cannot repeat any learned language; therefore, the teacher should offer listening experiences that are comfortable, repetitive, and non threatening. Read alouds are the best intervention for language skills as well as for language acquisition. Unlike movies, the read aloud is as one-on-one as it is whole group. The intonation that the teacher gives to the text is more personable and agreeable to someone learning language than a recording alone. Songs, mimicry, and acting out words are also ways to acquire language. Chunking words phonetically (syllables) and teaching vowel sounds as they are chunked help the learner make deeper connections in sound and symbol.

Reading creates the imagery to create semantic meaning, contextual language, and it further helps make the sound to symbol connection. The order of the letters reminds the learner of phonetic and phonemic awareness when speaking. Reading is also the most widely accessible way to expose oneself to language , especially written language, due to the advent of technology and advances in communication. Reading is not only chanting out information from text, but it can also help language through learning and declaiming it, public speaking in class, debates, and even singing aloud from text (karaoke)

Writing helps language in expanding the skill by concretely applying the sounds and symbols learned in reading and listening. A journal related to language processing and production is the best way for teachers to keep in touch with the student's language growth. For example, if one journal entry asks for the student to create a sentence using alliteration, then language is being employed in all forms. First, the student needs to reproduce the sound of the letter to be used for the alliteration. The student will connect again sound and symbol to complete the word. Then the student has to re-read the word to ensure that its lexemes are correct and in order. Finally, the student reads it aloud after writing. This is a way for language skills to come to a full circle.