In this article, I will offer practical tips for unlocking the power of language registers with children.
In part I of “Unlocking The Power of Language Registers” I outlined how students living in certain areas of the United States only operate in the “Casual Register” or the register of casual language.
I explained why it is important for parents and teachers to teach children to switch between registers in order to prepare them for future success.
Many office jobs require customer service skills, business English, and often use technical language. Children who are not regularly exposed to different types of English often have difficulty understanding why they need to understand English in different settings.
However, without exposure to different types of language and communication, children have difficulty completing coursework for college, technical degrees, and even completing high school.
In this blog, I will discuss what we can do as parents and educators to help children understand the importance of language registers and how to switch between them.
The Power of Language Registers in Teaching
1. The Power of Language Registers: Context is Crucial
Emphasize the importance of context in language usage. Help children identify different situations and guide them on selecting appropriate registers for each. Engaging in role-playing activities can provide practical experience in using different registers within specific contexts.
Speaking with children at home about topics in the news. Expose them to unfamiliar language in daily settings.
2. The Power of Language Registers: Exposure to Rich Language
Expose children to a diverse range of reading materials, including newspapers, storybooks, and scientific articles. Encourage discussions about the language employed in each register and highlight the differences between them.
This exposure broadens vocabulary, strengthens comprehension skills, and fosters a genuine passion for learning.
Parents and children can read the news together. Find topics that interest them and learn about them together with your child. Look for child-friendly news sources like CNN10.
3. The Power of Language Registers: Fostering Creativity
Incorporate creative activities, such as writing poems, short stories, or even creating comic strips. Such exercises allow children to experiment with different registers, fostering imagination and honing their writing skills.
There are many free apps children can use at home like BookCreator.com
4. The Power of Language Registers: Language Games and Quizzes
Introduce language games and quizzes that involve identifying appropriate registers for different situations. Make these activities enjoyable and interactive to enhance children’s awareness of language variation and facilitate their internalization of register usage.
Personally, Scrabble gives me anxiety but it’s great for vocabulary building. Journaling together is creative and fun.
Harness the Power of Language Registers: Role Models and Real-Life Examples
Expose children to positive role models who excel in specific registers. Introduce YouTube Channels with renowned scientists, journalists, or poets who effectively utilize language.
Real-life examples make the concept of language registers more relatable, inspiring children to explore and appreciate the diversity of registers.
Conclusion: Harnessing the Power of Language Registers & Getting Children Unstuck
The older children get the harder it is for them to change between registers. By the time children get to middle school it is really difficult to get them to understand the importance of being able to switch. The problem is that if we don’t teach them, they may end up stuck in poverty because they are not considered “employable” by well-paying employers.
If we want our students to be competitive in society and set our students up for success in the future, we must be able to teach them to switch between language registers.
When parents and teachers work together, we can provide a text-rich environment for students, giving them access to registers across content areas and flexibility to work in fulfilling careers later in life.