Using Language and Writing to Get Things Done (page 2)
Young children between the ages of two and three are growing in their ability to be fluent and sophisticated language users. Because they now understand the structure of sentences, they move beyond telegraphic speech to the endless variations that word order and word parts allow speakers. They use endings like -ing, use plurals markers; they show they are discovering the invisible rules of their language. In fact, it is at this time that children "insist" on the rules, overgeneralizing to make irregular plurals and verbs regular! You may hear a child use words such as "mouses" or "foots," or verbs such as "goed" showing that they have internalized certain patterns in the language they heard and are using.
Children are also learning to ask questions using specific words such as "What?" "How?" and "Why?" These questioning words help children initiate conversations on their own terms, and because the responses will be longer, they also get to hear a lot more language to continue their grammatical spurts.
To be able to accomplish what they desire, children need to acquire specific social conventions. Learning "politeness" terms such as "please" and "thank you" help them become successful in the culture of which they are a part. There are right and wrong ways to ask for things in each culture, and children can only learn these by applying their language skills to situations.
Sometimes those skills are around verbal play and pretending. Telling funny stories and making word plays also show a child's growing grammatical and language sophistication.
Young writers are also learning the "social conventions" of the written word. They may begin by inventing conventions to make their written work easier to read back. Young writers show they have entered this next phase in their development when they play with exclamation marks, apostrophes, and other written language conventions.
Another mark of this stage is the use of "story language" typical of the storytelling of their culture. Children write terms as one word such as "wunsuponatim" (once upon a time) or finalize their stories with "The End" in imitation of the ways that storytellers communicate with their audiences. Children are using the social "politeness" conventions that their readers will expect.
© ______ 2009, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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