As I head out of the country I feel compelled to post yet another reflection on the danger of losing an important component in human development--language. The losing of it is occurring in the cyber filled nature of children's language "interaction". This occurs in the form of e-readers, iPad games, and the like. Much has been written lately about thus subject and I am happy to read about the research being done on the possible effects on children's development. Much like the nature deficit defined by Richard Louv in recent years, there appears to loom a language deficit. There is no understating the negative effects caused by a lessened experience in language (not to mention movement) in the young child. The early language and literacy deficit is revealed in the varied research done on the achievement gap plaguing our nation's schools, but is not limited to the conventionally cited groups in this discussion. What of the car seat bound suburbanite child restricted to interacting with the leap pad? Or the youngster pushed on the swing while a cell phone conversation takes the place of appropriate language interaction? A pervasive language neglect may prove to dumb down all children to the point of some serious struggles with surrounding reading. Reading is being able to understand written language. Written language is based entirely on the spoken word. When I say reading begins at birth, I mean that as we hear our first word, we begin the road to reading.
As I board a plane to the other side of the globe I plan to ready myself to observe the language interactions from the perspective afforded to a language outsider. I hope to find that universal human element alive and active. The electronic devices I feel are robbing our young children of successful language experiences are manufactured in the continent I'm traveling to, let's see if their influence is similarly influential on the degradation of language development there.
14 hours ago