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Talk to your baby

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					Why doesn’t everyone at school know how they learnt to talk?
 The Talk To Your Baby campaign seeks the inclusion into the future English
 curriculum the study of how babies learn their language skills, and explores why
 this matters.


Talk To Your Baby, the early language campaign of the National Literacy Trust, is tackling children’s
poor communication skills by encouraging all parents and carers to talk more to babies aged 0–3
years. Reports and surveys confirm concern from headteachers, Ofsted and early years professionals
that too many children have poor language competence at entry to nursery.
As part of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s (QCA’s) English 21 conversations, Talk To
Your Baby pursues an opportunity to radically improve future parents’ awareness.
Talk To Your Baby believes the study of language acquisition should be introduced
into the key stage 4 English curriculum so that all secondary students have an
understanding of how babies learn to talk and why this matters.
Supporting and educating parents is a major factor in the Sure Start local programme model.
Communicating Matters, a joint training project from DfES Primary Strategy, Sure Start and the
Special Education Needs Division is currently being developed for everyone working with three- to
five-year-olds.
But, in order to break the cycle of poor communication skills, the key messages need to be presented
to teenagers before they become parents. At the top end of education we know there is a high take-up
of the Spoken English Studies topic at A level English Language. A pilot is about to begin, which
introduces the topic to 15-year-olds.
Benefits for students would include:
       an understanding that parents have a vital role to play in talking to their baby (not all new
       parents know their role in this), and why it matters
       a deeper understanding of the structure and different functions of language, through
       knowledge of early language development
       an improvement in oral and written language skills for key stage 4 students
       contribution to personal social and health education (PSHE) and to the overall aim of a broad
       and diverse curriculum, with immediate relevance to students who have younger siblings or
       who babysit
       support for QCA’s/DfES’s Workforce Development Strategy to improve knowledge of child
       development
       engagement for students in thinking about communication with young children(they will be
       more aware of the need to improve their own speaking and listening skills).

What do you think?
Please send your feedback to liz.attenborough@literacytrust.org.uk.

For more information about the National Literacy Trust, visit
www.literacytrust.org.uk/talktoyourbaby/index.html.

				
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