Language-rich environment at school is of great importance because children are provided with abundance of environmental print and text to practice reading, as well as they face written and oral language. Furthermore, children are allowed to ask for support of parents or caregivers. Such classrooms increase children’s awareness and help to develop alphabetic principles and enrich vocabulary.
The role of a teacher in such classroom is integral as he/she supplies children with necessary textbooks and other materials. Distinguished feature of such classroom is that teachers don’t criticize their students; instead, they encourage them and involve in writing and reading activities. Conversation is an essential part of language-rich environment.
The main characteristics of language-rich classroom are the following:
teachers read books aloud every day because reading motivates conversation and, therefore, children develop new vocabulary, sentence structures, and they overcome fear to speak aloud;
teachers encourage pretend talk and pretend play because opening “the frame of reference into the world of pretend gives additional opportunity for new vocabulary and predicting skills”; (What Are The Features 2006)
teachers value children’ efforts and options meaning that teachers ask children to support their hypothesis or claim; it will help to develop though process and make children to defend their position and extend their thinking;
children are treated as people with interesting and extraordinary experience meaning that children are encouraged during their mealtime or play time to discuss interesting moments with each other; (What Are The Features 2006)
teachers introduce words – they can be written of every object in a classroom.
There are many instructional strategies how to support language-rich environment. For example, teachers should speak slowly at first and shouldn’t distort their language. Nevertheless, two strategies seem to be of top priority in every classroom. Firstly, teachers should label every object in classroom because it will help newcomers to understand the meanings of the objects at school. Secondly, teachers school from the very beginning of the studies to assign classroom duties among all students because it will help them to consider themselves part of the classroom. Duties will also develop the sense of duty and responsibility. It goes without saying that all strategies suggest that students should be praised for their work, eve if the task is very simply. (Literacy Development 2004)
Finally, parents and caregivers should be also interested and encourage taking part in children’s development. Researchers say that children who communicate with parents every day develop language skills better than children who don’t. Therefore, parent should understand that their children are interesting personality and they want to develop speaking, reading, writing and listening skills. Parents should talk to their children, firstly, about children’s everyday experiences and activities, ask them to describe object, relations with other students. Parent should consider that children are fond of pretend play and should make up stories and poems with them. Drawing and scribbling are the best ways to encourage writing. (What Are The Features 2006)
Lynn, Leon. (1997). Language-Rich Home and School Environments Are Key to Reading Success. Retrieved July 12, 2007, from http://www.edletter.org/past/issues/1997-ja/language.shtml