By Singapore Teaching Centre, British Council

14 August 2023 - 09:00

Speak Now, Read Later: Encouraging Oral Language Skills in Young Children Before They Learn to Read

In the early years of a child's life, language development plays a crucial role in shaping their overall cognitive and emotional growth. Before learning to read, it is essential to focus on nurturing oral language skills. This is a critical period as achieving this milestone enables the ability to communicate effectively.

Understanding early language development

During early childhood, the brain undergoes significant development, making it an opportune time for language acquisition. Research shows that the language centre of the brain is most receptive during this period, allowing children to absorb linguistic information more easily. By focusing on oral language skills, parents can lay a strong foundation for future reading abilities. 

Reading and speaking skills are closely connected, as verbal proficiency enhances vocabulary as well as phonemic awareness (individual sounds in spoken words), both of which are vital components of reading success. Speaking a language contributes to cognitive development by fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and memory skills. Speaking also has a positive impact on emotional growth as it enables children to express their thoughts and feelings, which leads to healthier social interactions and more self-confidence.

Learn more on our courses for Early Years

Practical tips for parents to help their children excel

Parents play a pivotal role in supporting their child's language development journey. Here are some practical tips to enrich your young child’s oral language skills at home:

  • Interactive communication: Incorporate interactive activities that engage your child in conversations. Songs, rhymes, and stories provide excellent opportunities to expose children to new vocabulary, sentence structures, and language patterns. Singing nursery rhymes together or reading aloud can captivate their attention and foster a love for language.
  • Be a role model: Children learn by imitating their parents and caregivers. Set a good example by speaking clearly and using age-appropriate language. Maintain a patient and attentive attitude during conversations, encouraging your child to express themselves at their own pace.
  • Active listening: Encourage active listening skills by giving your child your full attention during conversations. Responding attentively and validating their thoughts and ideas helps build their confidence and encourages further communication.

Learn more on our courses for Early Years

Language enrichment for preschoolers

The British Council in Singapore recognizes the importance of early language learning and offers a comprehensive approach to enriching preschoolers' oral language skills. Their kindergarten courses are designed to provide a holistic learning experience, focusing on developing both spoken and written English abilities.

Free guide to your child’s English language learning journey - Everything you need to know to support your child’s English language learning
Download our free guide

Our highly trained teachers employ innovative teaching methods, integrating songs, stories, and role-playing to create an immersive learning experience. This includes engaging activities and interactive lessons and children are exposed to a language-rich environment that nurtures their communication skills. By instilling a love for the English language from an early age, the British Council in Singapore prepares children for further English studies while fostering their overall growth.

Early oral language development lays the foundation for a child's future reading abilities and overall cognitive and emotional growth. By actively engaging in their language learning journey, parents can foster effective communication, confidence, and social skills in their preschoolers. Remember to create a language-rich environment through interactive communication, be a positive role model, and actively listen to your child. 

Help your child excel in all areas and stay academically competitive with Early Years courses at the British Council in Singapore, designed to offer English enrichment for preschoolers.

The British Council in Singapore offers comprehensive kindergarten courses that prioritise spoken language skills while preparing children for future English studies. By encouraging early language enrichment, parents can empower their children with a lifelong love for language and communication. Invest in your child's oral language skills today and witness the profound impact it has on their future success.