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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 57 Summer 2014
Role of Supportive Adults The role of a supportive adult is crucial, as children need exposure to a rich and expansive vocabulary in order to build on their existing repertoire of words. Children build their vocabularies through repetition and a diverse range of experiences that enable them to use words expressively in their talk, and to understand the meaning of words receptively as peers, family and friends talk with them. Luongo-Orlando (2010: 42) likens the process to a kind of dance, "Language learning is embedded in the conversations of everyday life. Learning to talk is a partnership between language users who offer personal observations and feedback to keep the dialogue or social dance going." In kindergarten the possibilities for enhancing and expanding children's vocabularies are endless if incorporated into every day experiences that are meaningful, authentic and arouse children's curiosity. 18 Dancing with Language Sandra Grant PhD Student Queensland University of Technology Following on from an earlier article, 'Finding a Balanced Approach to Early Language and Literacy Learning and Development' (Reflections Issue 55: pp 4-7), this second article discusses the ways to implement a balanced approach to early language and literacy learning and development. Exploring Konza's (2011) elements of a balanced language and literacy program, the following examples focus specifically on vocabulary development and are designed to assist teachers to articulate the importance of building a rich vocabulary. The Importance of Vocabulary Development Kindergarten is a time when children begin to build more and more connections with the broader community through increasing social experiences, for example, at Kindy, swimming lessons, extended family events and through 'play dates' with friends. These experiences provide opportunities for children's vocabularies to expand accordingly. Vocabulary development in kindergarten is important as a child's vocabulary is not only expanding rapidly at this age, but is also an essential precursor to reading and writing. As Scarborough (2001: 2) observed, "Preschool children with strong receptive vocabularies tend to have better listening comprehension, word recognition and reading comprehension in the latter primary years." A soaring vocabulary ... Australian bird exhibits borrowed from the local museum provided the impetus for a wealth of language experiences.
Issue 56 Spring 2014
Reflections Issue 58 Autumn 2015