Last week we described the first and very important stage of language acquisition, the silent period. This week we move forward to tell you about the next two stages of the five-step process. We also offer ideas teachers can use in their classrooms to help children as they acquire a second or even third language.
The second phase is called the early production stage. During this time, children are likely to understand and use about 1000 words. These are usually single words (nouns and verbs) along with simple phrases.
Children in the early production stage benefit from singing, playing musical games, participating in rhyming activities along with engaging in word plays. They can often respond to simple questions but do not always engage in conversations with native speakers. .
The third stage of language acquisition is the speech emergence stage. While not always grammatically correct, children try to chunk phrases into sentences. They often have a vocabulary of about 3000 words and are more likely to talk with native speakers.
In the classroom, it is more beneficial to give children in the speech emergence stage a good model of correct usage rather than correcting their attempts at speaking the new language. Children are able to understand basic texts when they have illustrations to support the content. As with the first two stages, pictures and comprehensible input are valuable teaching tools.
Stay tuned – next week we discuss the final stages of language acquisition. You will have knowledge to assist your ELLs in the New Year!
NAEYC – 2.A.04. & 2.D.01.
Head Start – IX. A., B., & C.