• Iris Windsor

Story time

Look at these little ones..... absolutely engrossed in this story!!

Stories about animals and the sounds that they make is valuable time spent. Whether living in a city or in the suburbs or a long way from the nearest paddock with a grazing cow, a young child has probably seen or heard about farm animals. A very early memory for most is probably of the song, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” or maybe remembering a story featuring sheep, ducks, and horses.

It may sound like simple toddler fun, but learning this vocabulary at a young age actually helps your child develop savvy pre-academic and social skills.

Teaching children farm animal words and noises, are not only teaching them about the many sounds made in the English language, but also about culture and the world.

Farm animals have been a go-to teaching tool in children’s books for centuries. In 1658, John Amos Comenius published what’s considered the world’s first children’s book, Orbis Pictus. It includes illustrations of various farm animals, with text such as “the duck quaketh” and “the lamb blaiteth.”

There are real benefits of adding animal sounds to a child's vocabulary. Start this practice early. You’ll find that children will have learnt quite a bit by 3 years of age and learning farm animal vocabulary is further preparation for preschool and beyond.

There’s no perfect age to perfect a skill, but seeing farm animals in books and hearing their names and sounds regularly will still provide a valuable foundation.

Many farm animal words — think “pig” or “duck” or “turkey” — feature consonants pronounced at the front of the mouth, making them more easily detectable to children.

Children love to copy and watch how you bring your lips together when you say words out loud.

Farm animal words also provide an opportunity for babies and toddlers to practice the many sounds we use in English. Words like “Moo!” and “Chirp!” use a wide variety of phonemes, or the sound a letter or group of letters make in a word — language building blocks that prepare a child to speak, read, and write.

Embrace the baby talk: Phrases like “A piggy goes oink oink!” actually helps a child learn new words. Toddlers who heard diminutive words ending in a ‘y’ sound (such as “piggy” or “ducky”) and words that repeat sounds (like “oink oink” or “quack quack”) have been seen to develop larger vocabularies between 9 and 21 months of age.

Inspiration for this article has been taken from www.scholastic.com

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