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Asking Open-Ended Questions Could Help Early Learners Improve Vocabulary

Asking Open-Ended Questions Could Help Early Learners Improve Vocabulary

It’s nearly universally understood at this point how important early learning is to a child’s future development.

A new article from The Sun Sentinel claims that part of early learning should focus heavily on improving young children’s vocabulary skills- by frequently asking them open-ended questions.

Veteran early education teacher Stephanie Collao told The Sun Sentinel "that one of the most important things parents can do to bridge any word gap is to engage their toddlers and preschoolers with open-ended questions and the conversations that follow.”

According to Collao and many other early education pros, promoting these kinds of activities helps prepare kids for school and beyond- regardless of their families’ economic status.

"Researchers and policymakers have sounded the alarm in recent years about the so-called 'word gap,' a phenomenon documented by researchers who found that, by age 3, children born into low-income families heard roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers,” says the Sun Sentinel.

Not only does asking children open-ended questions help close this word gap, it also helps engage them while reading to help provide them with necessary skills for later on.

Like StoriesandChildren.com says, open-ended questions are questions that do not allow the responder to answer with just “yes” or “no” but rather forces them to elaborate on the “what” “how” “who” and “why.”

Open-ended questions, the site says, specifically encourage children to use language and "give fuller answers that draw on a wider range of vocabulary.”

The site says encouraging children to use open-ended questions can ultimately help them build relationships, too.

"Children become more invested in the conversation when they have to actively engage in it with full sentences. They are able to relate something of meaning and respond to the person/people with whom they are communicating. In this way, open-ended questions be used to positively build and deepen relationships.”

Read the full article here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

8/30/2016

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