Learning of children in early ages
Consider the ways in which children learn to read and write. Illustrate, using Kenner, Al-Khatri, Kwok, Kim and Tsai’s study (2004) how young children pay attention to directionality, shape, size, spatial orientation in producing different writing scripts.
It is necessary to encourage the children towards learning since childhood. Motivation towards learning and thinking is important when child is young because at that time, child grabs the thing easily. If child gets training about the importance of learning and practices writing in the early childhood, then it will be beneficial for his rest of life. It is a fact that a child changes in a lot of ways during the years of primary school. These years are so much important to develop a habit of learning and thinking in the child. Cognitive development is necessary to be developed in young children. Cognitive development includes learning skills such as languages, strong memory, planning and paying attention to the work. In these initial years, parents have to play their role. (Australia, 2012)
By the help of different activities, parents can motivate the children towards learning new things. But it is also a fact that training young children is not an easy task. It is neither easy for the parents and nor for the teachers. By the help of various sessions, activities and games, we can encourage children towards learning. Child sometimes faces difficulty in learning different stuffs at a time but with the passage of time, he becomes habitual. In the book, Becoming Biliterate Kenner C. (2004) explains about child’s learning of different languages. He also discusses about different ways by which we can motivate young children to read and write. Furthermore, in the paper, we will look on different ways of teaching children in young ages and also discuss relevant techniques.
Term Emergent literacy defines the interaction of young children with books. This term explains that when a children is in the state of learning something and when he is not in a position of writing or reading some stuff. Marie Clay used this term for the first time. Emergent literacy is process that starts from the birth of a child and continues until and unless child trains in writing or reading in a conventional sense. This term is used in the field of psychology, linguistics, sociology and education. (Anon., 2011)Process of reading and writing starts in the young ages of an individual. A child tries to contact with different types of communication from the beginning. It is observed that most of the children starts recognizing different signs and symbols in the age of two or three years. It is because of the fact that every time, their mind is in the state of learning and interacting with different things. As far as this matter is concerned that either the child starts writing first or reading, it varies from child to child. But researches show that most of the children face difficulty in reading during their early ages and start writing quickly.
Acquisition of literacy for the young children is not easy. Although, child starts observing all the things by using his five senses but still some guidance is necessary. By the help of guidance and training, child learns the things easily. There are different issues that a child faces in the acquisition of literacy especially in terms of learning second language. Learning of different languages becomes a big problem for young children. In the article, Literacy and Second Language Acquisition: Issues and Perspectives, Weinstein (1984) explains that there is a strong relationship between the acquisition of second language and literacy. Author explains that understanding different languages and learning second language is difficult. (WEINSTEIN, 1984)In another article by Philip and Mikko (2003), it was explained that most of the children in European countries complete their acquisition of language before starting their early school education. English is at the top in the acquisition of languages. Children learn English easily as compared to other languages. (Philip H. K. Seymour, Mikko Aro, Jane M. Erskine, 2003)Another issue that is faced by the children in learning is their mental state. It is not always necessary that mental state of every child is same. Therefore, we cannot apply same strategies for all children. Some children do not grab these thing quickly and to develop the sense of learning in them, it is necessary to apply alternate techniques.
There are different writing systems working in the world. It is not necessary that everyone knows all writing systems. Most of the people knows one or two writing systems usually. Talking in terms of learning different writing systems for the children, it is good to trained them in their early ages. For example, if a child is born in Europe and parents want him to become familiar with English writing system, then they have to guide him about English writing alphabets in the early ages. There are basically two types of writing systems. First type is known as alphabets and second type is called as Syllabaries. Both types are divided on various sub divisions. List of major classification is as following.
- Consonant alphabets
- Semanto-Phonetic writing systems
- Undeciphered writing systems (Anon., 2007)
Now, the question is how young children learn different writing systems? There are different ways by which we can guide young children in learning various writing systems. First way to improve literacy is by teaching Morphemes. Morphemes is a collection of words that consists of different units of meaning. By the help of morphemes, children can easily pronounce the words and spell them. Teaching morphemes is a best way to teach vocabulary to the young children. (Nunes, T., and Bryant, P, 2006, pp. 14) Another way to teach different writing systems to the children is by using cardboard books. Parents can use different pieces of clothes, and cardboard books to teach different alphabets to the children. Colorful pictures can play an important role in attracting the young children towards learning.
For writing a particular language, specific writing system is used. Writing system is usually known as Script. On the other hand, symbols are also used to guide children about languages. Types of scripts are as following.
- Script support
- Right to left alphabets
- Syllabic alphabet
- Ideographic script
Depending upon your language style and script, you can teach your child about the language. If we take the example of English writing system, then it is seen that it starts from the left hand side whereas in case of Arabic, script starts from right hand side. So, it is necessary for the parents that they teach child about these basics. Suppose, you are from the Arabic background and make familiar your child with the Arabic writing system, then it is necessary for you to focus on the Arabic writing system. You should select those books and cardboards on which Arabic words are written so that your child starts recognizing these words. Following is an image that tells you about the basic Arabic writing system.
Another way of guiding your child is through symbols. You can teach your child by using different symbols and pictures of something. In the early childhood, child easily understand words by the help of its illustration. Kerner (2004) focused on the illustration of symbols and pictures. (Kenner, C. Al-Khatib, H., Kwok, G., Kam, R. and Tsai, K, 2004, pp. 35),
In this picture, we can see that with all the English alphabets, different pictures are used so that child cane identify the word easily. By the help of symbols and pictures, identification of words become easy.
In order to teach the children to read and writing, actions also play a great role. Education in which body involves actions and knows how to act on something is called as Embodied Knowledge. The best example of this type of knowledge is riding a bicycle. Almost, everyone knows how to ride a bicycle and we do not need to memorize the procedure of riding bicycle. This is a type of knowledge that is automatically imprinted in the mind of an individual. It can be said that embodied knowledge is present in our unconsciousness. Children learn this knowledge by observing the environment. Embodied knowledge is somewhat similar to the Cognitive science.
To conclude the entire discussion, it can be said that parents can play an important role in teaching their child in early years. Young children are quite sensitive and in the early ages, their care is the duty of parents. Parents should teach their child by using techniques and activities. Before sending the child to school, a child should have a basic sense of recognizing and understanding different words and things. So, that he may not face any difficulty in future.
- Anon., 2007. Types of writing system. [Online] Available at: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/types.htm [Accessed march 2014].
- Anon., 2011. what is emergent literacy?. [Online] Available at: http://www.lincoln.dubuque.k12.ia.us/School-Wide/Literacy/EmergentLiteracy.htm [Accessed march 2014].
- Australia, c. o., 2012. About thinking and learning. [Online] Available at: https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/sites/default/files/public/KMP_C3_CDTL_AboutThinkingAndLearning.pdf [Accessed 2014].
- Kenner, C. Al-Khatib, H., Kwok, G., Kam, R. and Tsai, K. (2004), Becoming Biliterate: Young Children Learning Different Writing Systems, Stoke-on-Trent, Trentham Books.
- Nunes, T., and Bryant, P. (2006), Improving Literacy by Teaching morphemes, London, Routledge.
- Philip H. K. Seymour, Mikko Aro, Jane M. Erskine, 2003. Foundation literacy acquisition in European orthographies. British Journal of Psychology, 94(2), p. 143–174.
- Seymour, P., Aro, M., and Erskine, J. (2003), Foundation Literacy Acquisition, in British Journal of Psychology, 94: 143-174.
- WEINSTEIN, G., 1984. Literacy and Second Language Acquisition: Issues and Perspectives. TESOL Quarterly, 18(3), p. 471–484.