Yesterday I wrote about some of the problems inherent in asking children to read out loud. You can read that post ‘here‘. The comments have been uniformly terrific, extremely informative, and very helpful. Ischemgeek wrote several comments that I’ve actually printed out and even copied and pasted into emails to a few teachers I know. She wrote a terrific explanation and series of suggestions in answer to a question I posed asking for her thoughts regarding handwriting. My question to her was slightly off topic from the original post, but if you read the comments you’ll see how the conversation evolved.
Another comment, from bjforshaw, reminded me of how when Emma was a baby she seemed to acquire two or even three word phrases (“chase me”, “go out”, “all done”, “play catch” “I donwannta”) as opposed to individual words. Bjforshaw wrote, “I dislike reading aloud because it is so different from the way I normally read and this makes it feel uncomfortable. My usual reading speed is fast, much faster than my speech, and I scan phrases, groups of words, even whole sentences. In contrast when I read aloud I have to plod along one word at a time.”
When I read his comment I had one of those “light bulb” moments. You know, where you think – wow! This reminds me of this other, seemingly unrelated thing, I wonder if there’s a relationship? So I went to the internet to see if I could find any articles on the topic of language acquisition, but haven’t found any dealing with babies learning whole phrases and chunks of words at a time. Not only have I not been able to find any articles written on this topic, but I cannot find many articles written about language acquisition and autism, specifically, that aren’t more than ten years old, which I find baffling. If anyone has relevant links, please send.
I have no idea if, for some, language learning is similar to the way bjforshaw describes his ability to read, but I’m curious now. Could it be similar? Has anyone heard or read anything about this? For those of you who read in chunks and not the individual word, do you know or remember whether you also learned to speak this way? In other words instead of learning one word and then building upon that word, did you learn a phrase or several words together? Could this also then be related to scripts? I’m thinking out loud here, but I’m wondering if scripts are meaningful because they are learned chunks of language that come to represent more than the literal interpretation given by those listening. Do the scripts carry more (hidden) meanings to the person saying them?
Thanks again to all who have commented, and to those who intend to, thank you in advance.