Enjoyment of Language for Literacy Development

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

It is easy to focus on aspects of literacy development like decoding, fluency and comprehension but then forget about the importance of joy. This lesson will discuss the importance of enjoyment of language in literacy development.

Enjoyment of Language

One morning, April, a teacher of three-year-olds, notices a group of children in one corner of her classroom. They do not have any toys in front of them, but they look calm and happy. One girl is making clicking noises with her tongue, and a boy joins in. Another girl makes motor noises and grins. These children seem to be engaged in nonsense, but April knows they are actually enjoying language. In this case, they are getting pleasure from making speech sounds, any sounds they can make with their mouths and throats, and also from the pragmatics of language. Pragmatics are the aspects of language that we use every day to communicate, and, in this case, the children in April's class are learning about call and response. Overall, pragmatics are the parts of language that connect with social conventions and how language is actually used in daily life, rather than the way language functions or the way words and sounds are put together. You can remember this by remembering that pragmatic sounds like practical, so we are dealing with the practical, useful parts of language.

April is not worried about the fact that this game seems nonsensical because she understands that enjoying language as young children will actually help make her students stronger readers and writers as they grow older. In this lesson, April will share some of what she knows about the enjoyment of language and how it relates to literacy development.

How might this group of children be enjoying language as they play together?

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