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Study Questions for Recommended Reading B: Klein

Klein, H.A. (2001). The world of words. Childhood Education, 77(4), 234-235.

  1. Klein discusses six ways that babies begin to acquire language before they talk. List and describe each way.
  2. What difficulties, if any, might children with visual impairments have in early language learning as described in the first question?
  3. Klein suggests five ways that parents can support the development of language. List and describe each of her suggestions.
  4. Which of Klein’s suggestions for supporting language development are appropriate for children with visual impairments? Why do you believe this?

Study Questions and Answers for Recommended Reading B: Klein

Klein, H.A. (2001). The world of words. Childhood Education, 77(4), 234-235.

  1. Klein discusses six ways that babies begin to acquire language before they talk. List and describe each way.
    • Born to listen: Attention to language is infants’ earliest social response. Often, infants will settle down and search for the source of a sound and will watch mouths as we talk.
    • The rhythm of language: Infants respond to sound patterns in language. Infants prefer and recognize the rhythm sounds found in language.
    • The sounds of language: Infants respond to the assortment of sounds in languages; but later in the first year, they respond best to the sounds of their native language.
    • Finding words: Infants learn to sort out sounds in order to determine which sounds have meaning. Exposure to new words extends the words to which infants attend and build vocabulary.
    • The meaning of words: Research has shown that infants who are 6 months old know the meaning of the words father and mother.
    • The grammar of language: Infants recognize grammar in language and show preference to listening to grammatical dictation. By 18 months of age, toddlers have acquired knowledge about grammar.
  2. What difficulties, if any, might children with visual impairments have in early language learning as described in the first question?

    Participants’ responses will vary but may include the examples listed below:

    • Born to listen: Infants with visual impairments may be unable to clearly see the source of communication or attend to a caregiver’s mouth when talking.
    • The meaning of words: Infants with visual impairments may not demonstrate that they understand a word or concept because of their inability to use visual referencing. Also, the visual impairment may delay their understanding of words because of their inability to clearly see the object or person.
  3. Klein suggests five ways that parents can support the development of language. List and describe each of her suggestions.
    • Talk early and talk often: Speech soothes and interests an infant. Klein recommends talking about the activity the infant is participating in. Also, talking exposes the infant to the rhythm, sounds, and grammar of language. Conversation facilitates attachment and language skills.
    • Songs and poems: Infants love listening to the rhythm of language. It helps infants organize sounds and words. Words help connect infants with caregivers while providing exposure to language.
    • Words in the world: Infants listen to descriptions and labels for activities and objects they see and touch. Varied experiences provide infants with opportunities for new words and connections.
    • First books: Toddlers love stories for the sounds and rhythm of language. Children need to hear books repeatedly; doing so helps them to predict the rhythm and confirm their mastery of the words. Reading to infants helps them to learn about words and speech patterns.
    • Up close and personal: The best exposure to language comes from sharing experiences with familiar people, not from videos or tapes.
  4. Which of Klein’s suggestions for supporting language development are appropriate for children with visual impairments? Why do you believe this?

    Participants’ responses will vary but should include a statement that all of Klein’s suggestions are appropriate for infants and toddlers with visual impairments.