This Month in Speech and Language

March 2016

Reading Month

March is reading month and we have been enjoying some of our favorite books in Speech and Language! We started with "Go Dog Go". It is full of such wonderful vocabulary: up, down, around, in, out, day, night. We read "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly" and practiced rhyming and sequencing. We will be enjoying Ten Apples Up on Top and then making a special classroom book!

Skill of the Month

Spatial Concepts

Spatial concepts (a category of basic concepts) define the relationship between us and objects, as well as the relationships of objects to each other. As our language begins to develop, early spatial concepts such as in front of, behind, top, bottom, over, under, last, between, farthest, backward, in, on, etc., help us understand directions more precisely, ask detailed questions, and express our ideas to others. For preschoolers and young students, an awareness or understanding of spatial concepts and relationships usually predicts later success in math, reading, and following directions.

We ask toddlers, “Where is your nose?” They point to their nose. We follow up with different concept phrases like, “Your nose is on your face,” “Your nose is above your lips,” “Your nose is on the front of your head.” This type of response embeds concept words—expanding on and making them a regular part of language. Using concepts in “teachable moments” helps children understand, and later generalize, the concepts for further learning. I Spy and I See are examples of games that can use spatial concepts in a fun way. For example, “I see a book. Where is it?” When the child finds or points to it, an adult responds with, “The book is on the shelf…in the book bag… under the table… by the bed… above the table… beside the chair.”

It is easy to include concepts while interacting with your child by talking in great detail and description. For example, a mother may tell her kindergarten child, “Take off your coat and boots. Hang your blue coat in the closet on the little hook above the doorknob. Put your red boots on the rubber mat by the door. Now lie down and rest beside your dad before we have dinner.” In just a few seconds, this child must listen to over ten concepts, make sense of them, and then follow through with the directions. Think of all of the verbal directions a teacher gives each student every day at school. Spatial concepts, along with other basic concepts, are essential for success in school and daily activities at home (from Super Duper, 2009).