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Toddler - Week #60

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Week 60: Say It With Me!

By Meg Leonard, edHelperBaby

           Your 60-week-old baby is rapidly developing language skills. While he may only say a few words that others can understand, he is capable of understanding many more words. He probably has his own version of certain words that only you are able to understand. Gestures may accompany these words, along with emotions such as frustration or embarrassment. Respond to all of these to encourage your baby's growing communication skills.


Developing Your Baby's Vocabulary
           By now, you probably are already in the habit of naming everything for your baby. Repetition is necessary for learning. Continue to name everything in sight and encourage your baby to repeat after you. Praise her efforts, even if what she says doesn't exactly resemble the actual word. There will be plenty of time to correct her speech. For now, build her confidence as a communicator by praising her efforts. When modeling words for her, speak slowly and clearly. Use the correct name for items, instead of a modified version (for example, say "toes" not "piggies"). You don't want to confuse your baby by calling items by more than one name.


           This week, count the number of words your baby is able to say. Record the words some place special, such as a baby book or on the journaling feature of edHelperBaby. Listen closely to your baby's speech. He may have more words than you realize.

       Once you have taken "inventory" of your baby's vocabulary, teach him a new word. You may be more successful if you work on naming an item that he uses often, such as his crib or a favorite toy. Record how your baby says this new word. Note the length of time it takes your baby to learn this new word.


A Fun Introduction to Your ABCs
    Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
       With its bright colors and catchy rhythm, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is sure to be a hit with your young learner! This book teaches the alphabet in a unique way. The letters decide to climb a coconut tree. When the whole alphabet reaches the top, the tree topples over. There is a big mess to clean up, with some reinforcement of the alphabet along the way.

       This book is just fun to read and enjoy with your 60-week-old baby. As you teach him new words, you can also begin to recite the alphabet with him. He's too little to make the sound-letter correspondence, but books like Chicka Chicka Boom Boom will help him to become familiar with the alphabet. The next step will be teaching him the symbol that matches the sound!


Real Life with Baby
           When I actually stopped to count how many words Mary can say, I was amazed! I didn't think that she had more than five words in her vocabulary. The number is actually sixteen! She is adding new words almost daily, too. Some of her words sound quite similar. For instance, Grover and yogurt sound very much alike in Mary-speak. Ball, bear, belly, and bike also sound quite similar. The differences are subtle sounds or gestures that accompany the words. She says ball with a lot of enthusiasm. When Mary says belly, she touches her stomach. Bike starts to sound similar to the others, but then she puts the "k" sound on the end. She will only say "bear" when in close proximity to her bear. When paying close attention to the words and gestures, I realized just how many words she knows!

       I decided to teach Mary the word "shoe." I thought this would be an easy one for her to learn, since she loves her feet and anything that is associated with them. She would go and get her shoes when I mentioned them, but never repeated the word. I know that the "sh" sound is tough, but I thought she may come up with her own version of the word. However, she said several new words this week - apple, spoon, and milk - without our prompting. Again, I guess I'll let her take control of her learning!

       I started counting the number of words that Mary understands, but quickly stopped when I realized just how many there were. In addition to the nouns, or names of things, she understands many action words and directional words, such as in, under, or on. Her grasp of the spoken word amazes me, but I guess she has been listening since day one.

       As I sat down to work on this article, I happened upon some videos that my husband had loaded on our computer. They were taken about one year ago, when Mary was just starting to babble and smile. I didn't know that he had put them on the computer. When I stopped to watch them, I was just in awe (and in tears). Mary has come so far in such a short time, but what amazed me was how her personality shone through, even when she was so young. Her voice sounded very much the same as it does now. She was very animated when she was cooing. Her million watt smile was there, too. It just emphasized how the process of acquiring language starts so early. I guess we are at the midway point. Mary is able to communicate, but doesn't have a full grasp of spoken language yet. We will continue to build these skills for the next few years. Then, we get to tackle reading and writing!

       I wasn't sure how Mary would react to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I thought the lively rhyme and bright pictures would capture her attention, but I wasn't sure about the length. Luckily, the pages turn quickly enough that she enjoyed the book. She was even repeating "ABC" after us when prompted. Soon, she'll be reciting books along with us!


Adult Vocabulary Building

       Do you feel as though your own vocabulary is limited? Maybe you feel as though the only new words you are learning are on Sesame Street. By visiting the above link, you can access vocabulary building activities that are suitable for post-high school students. You can build crossword puzzles, solve analogies, or just enrich your vocabulary with new words. Reading is also an excellent way to build your vocabulary. So, pick up a magazine, newspaper, or book and learn some new words. Why should your 60-week-old baby get to have all the fun?


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