Recent Comics

Learning from television

Learning from television

Children can appear very focused in front of a television. Unfortunately, this does not mean they are actively learning. Studies show that children under the age of 3 do not learn very well, if at all, from television or videos. As children get older, television…

Inventing language

Inventing language

Reading and writing are two facets of literacy. To make learning to read and write easier, we might want to break literacy down and teach just reading or just writing at any one time. Yet, a particular effective way to develop literacy skills is actually…

Literacy for beginners

Literacy for beginners

At first glance, learning to read can seem to be just about learning to match symbols (letters or characters) to sounds. But there is a lot more to reading than meets the eye! There are three foundational basics:  First, a child needs to learn that…

Zoomed in on language

Zoomed in on language

When someone is in another room, behind a closed door, you wouldn’t just start talking to them from where you are. You would, instead, go over to them. You would get into their ‘auditory field’ before starting to talk. An ‘auditory field’ is the area…

Give me a sign

Give me a sign

When we think about languages, we often think about spoken languages, and overlook the linguistic diversity and complexity of sign languages. They have words and grammar, as well as complex ‘sign forms’. Sign forms are determined by the shape, location and movement of the hand.…

Two languages, one vocabulary

Two languages, one vocabulary

One impression that often surfaces in educational settings, like preschool or elementary school, is that multilingual children can seem to have smaller vocabularies than their monolingual peers. However, this is mainly because language abilities are evaluated in just one language. For monolingual children, one language…

Little polyglots

Little polyglots

Some children will be exposed to just one language when they are young, others may be exposed to two, and others even more. How many languages a child is exposed to will depend on her environment. For instance, in a country like Papua New Guinea…

6000 languages

6000 languages

There are over 6000 languages across the world, each different from the next. Yet, children can learn any of these languages, along a similar timeline. Each language has its own words for things. A child learning Japanese will have to learn that ‘niwatori’ refers to…

A Dialogue in Disguise

A Dialogue in Disguise

Social interactions involve two (or more) people. Yet, when one of those people is a preverbal infant, an interaction can feel like a monologue. It can feel like the caregiver is just talking, or signing, to themself. So how can a caregiver foster language learning…

Learning through interactions

Learning through interactions

Imagine the moment a baby sees the world for the first time. All the sights and sounds that are just everyday happenings for us. A lot of learning about the world begins with joint attention. Moments when a child and a caregiver (or peer) interact…