MAKE TALK VISIBLE

Children rarely get an opportunity to study the way they talk and are often surprised and fascinated when they see their conversation written down as a script. Talk is something children do naturally, so it is easy to overlook it's precise nature. These days it is relatively easy to record a short conversation and then transcribe it for children to examine. However, children need a focus for this work. They may look for specific features of spoken language like the ones I mentioned in my last Blog, but whatever focus, studying a transcript of a conversation has benefits:

It helps children realise that whilst face-to-face communication is essentially different to written communication, there are similarities. I have had some interesting conversations with children about why some of the things they said in speech, wouldn't work in writing and vice versa.

It also makes children aware that spoken language is as important as written language and can be a powerful tool. When we converse we think quickly and use language rapidly, unlike in writing where we have the luxury of time. But if we allow children time to examine talk, we can increase their confidence and help them become better communicators.

It may be useful to start by asking children to notice how they use words like NOW and SO, to signal how they are changing from talking about one thing to talking about something else, and how they use words like ANYWAY, RIGHT and OK to signal a change. Another fascinating thing is the way children use the word LIKE in a similar way to how speech marks are used in a written text. Start small and children will soon become fascinated - at least that is my experience. Good luck. More suggestions to follow in future blogs.





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