I'm so pleased to introduce Elaine Kent. She came along to my Learning To Talk training in Renfrewshire and so Chatterbox Champions took off. I think they would be a great resource to add to your "Learning to Talk" pack, but enough from me, I'll hand over to Elaine!
"I'm delighted to tell you a little about a new resource I've developed called Chatterbox Champions. As a Depute Head Teacher in a busy primary school I was always fascinated by young children's language development and in particular the difference between those children who struggled with learning to read and those who took to it like a duck to water. Don't get me wrong - sometimes I thought it was a miracle that anyone learned to read, it's such a complex process and dependent on so many different factors. Identifying specific difficulties which individuals had took time and effort however there were certain skills which confident readers had which were easy to spot. They had a good vocabulary - knew lots of words and understood what they meant; they could recognise rhyming words, identify which letter sound a word began with and "hear" the number of syllables in a word. They listened carefully, could understand instructions, enjoyed books and loved stories. This wasn't just my observation, it's backed up by lots of research and "phonological skills" are a big focus in early learning centres and nurseries. But each year I would work with a group of P1/Reception children who needed some extra help in these areas and often when I contacted parents, they were surprised to hear how important these skills are in learning to read.
Research carried out in America has also shown that the number of words heard by a child has a significant impact on the size of their vocabulary and a more recent study found that the number of conversations a child has is even more important.
It seemed to me that parents of pre-school children would appreciate something to help them build activities to develop these skills into their already busy lives - and so the idea for Chatterbox Champions was born! The set of 26 cards are affordable, quick and easy to use and provide simple ideas for games, songs and rhymes which are fun for both adult and child. A Chatterbox Chart to record progress and stickers when all the activities are completed help keep children motivated and hopefully the pack will also provide a bank of ideas which parents can dip into whenever they've got 5 minutes when they're needing to keep their wee one entertained! For more information have a look at my website https://www.chatterboxchampions.com. "