The term two in-class oral language program is now well under-way and we continue to enjoy having the students face to face with us in class. Our in-class programs utilise many different tools and materials to support students to engage in activities which build language. One of our favourite resources is a book. A book is also a simple way to build language at home. It can be enjoyable to read books from cover to cover but when building language, we really want to encourage children to engage in a conversation about the book. A powerful way to do this is to use lots of comments that start with:
- I think…
- I wonder…
You could comment about:
- What the characters are doing and why
- What the characters are feeling and why
- What might happen next and how you know
Comments could sound something like the ones below:
- I think the first little pig is making his house of straw because it is easier than bricks.
- The second little pig has big eyes and he is running fast. I think he is scared the wolf will eat him.
- I think he will hide in the second little pigs house to be safe.
- I wonder if it will be easy for the wolf to blow the stick house down.
“I think…” comments help to explain the story to your child and the “I wonder…” comments invite your child to share their own thoughts about the text. To help your child contribute always pause after your comments to give them extra time to participate. If they do not join in, you can share your idea and/or simply keep reading the text until you make another comment. Initially, some children may find it difficult to spend a long time in an interaction around a book, so just keep going until your child loses interest but do not be afraid to pick it up at another time and do a little bit more. Once your child is familiar with the process they will begin to engage for longer periods.
If you do not have easy access to lots of books at home, then try joining the local library or sharing the book your child brings home each week from the school library using the process above.