Repetition, repetition, repetition
Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Tonight, I was sent the most adorable video by a friend of mine. Her little girl is just over two years old and she was telling the story of The Snail and the Whale, by Julia Donaldson, from back to front, with such passion and sincerity for someone so small. She was very serious and knew exactly what she was saying, even if it wasn't as clear as she wanted it to be..
To be able to do this, her mummy and daddy, and all the other grown ups in her world, have read and read and read to her the same stories many times. Repetition is so very important. You don't need a lot of books and you don't need a lot of time: little and often is enough. A story or picture book in your handbag can always come in handy in a queue or waiting room, and a story CD can be just as valuable. I know this little girl listens to stories in the car and has done so since she was tiny. Hearing them over and over again might be a little draining for grown ups but for the child, it's like having language fed through a drip!
This little learner has attended Wilbur and Flops: Stories, Feet and Fingers since she was very small, and loves to listen to the story with us, sometimes whilst sitting with her mummy, snuggling her bear in her lap with its blanket, and sometimes from somewhere else in the room whilst exploring the fascinating resources that have caught her eye at that moment. She's still listening. She's listening and absorbing the lovely language that books can offer, again and again.
Very soon, this little girl will be reciting whole stories. She'll do this before she's three years old because she'll know them so well by then. She'll be able to finish the sentences when her grown up leaves off the last word (she can probably already do this) and she'll be learning about rhyme and alliteration all at the same time. She will know that cat begins with c and dog begins with d before she goes to school, and at Wilbur and Flops, she'll learn to sound talk, segmenting words into sounds and blending them back into words again, before she can name all the letters. She's learning phase one phonics at the right time, in the nursery years, and when she goes to school, she'll be reading for herself in no time.