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The first acquisition of language for a child is oral therefore when a child starts school they can speak and listen better than they can read Consequently it is important to have reading aloud activities in the classroom so the child may begin to associate oral language with written language Reading material near matches their already well-developed language ability in the sense that what they are able to read is limited by the mechanical skills of reading that they have been able to acquire Their oral language use at this stage is far more advanced that the language of books in which they are taught to read Corson 1988 p20 Reading to a child helps them to familiarise themselves between the spoken and written word particularly when the story is simple with words repeated This enables a student to recognise the spoken and written version of a word Children realise that words and the things words stand for are separate that language can be talked about as well as talked with They grasp although not at first in a conscious analytical way that language is a symbolic system Ministry of Education MOE 1996 p14 When reading to young students the teacher needs to keep in mind several important factors including illustrations Does the illustration collaborate the text on the same page or is there also another story happening with in the illustration Teachers can draw children out by having them discuss and expand upon the drawings This encourages development of their interpersonal speaking and listening skills as listed in the English in the New Zealand Curriculum MOE 1994 pp28-29 Besides just listening to a story they become valued contributors demonstrating that they are paying attention to not only the reading of the story but also to the storybook itself A student who notices a detail in a picture or a diagram is attending MOE 1996 p34
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