Children learn from books

COLOURFUL picture books are fun for children and also a necessary part of their development.

The play-to-learn message was highlighted at a recent forum at the University of Southern Queensland's Fraser Coast campus.

About 80 teachers were at the workshop, which was part of a series of monthly professional development sessions.

Education Queensland speech language pathologist Tracey Bennion said an increasing number of children were starting school with language-related learning difficulties.

Ms Bennion said a small number of children had diagnosable speech language impairments.

However, for many the lack of reading, learning nursery rhymes and talking with their parents is impacting on their abilities in the classroom.

She said teachers were required to cater for the special needs of these children through various programs.

“The use of picture books and shared reading activities to develop vocabulary, concepts and reasoning skills... translate(s) directly to speaking and listening within the classroom curriculum,” she said.

Ms Bennion said research had proven the number of words a day a child hears varies depending on their socio-economic background.

USQ Fraser Coast education senior lecturer Dr Patrick O'Brien said Ms Bennion's session was so popular the university planned to run a similar workshop early next year.

“Children from lower socio-economic backgrounds don't get a commentary when they are learning about an object, for instance, a pair of scissors,” Dr O'Brien said.

“The children who have had commentary in their early years will also be able to explain their purpose, that they cut things and that they are sharp.

“They learn that from explanation, or commentary.

“So teachers need to concentrate on giving the children the commentary they need to expand their language skills.”

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