A house without a foundation is like the movie “The Money Pit”. It’s bound to crumble down. Likewise verbal language is the basis for written and social language. Poor verbal skills result in difficulties in expressive writing, academics, and social skills.
Let’s quickly introduce three types of verbal language (narrative, expository, conversational); two of them play integral parts for developing appropriate expressive writing skills. Narrative language (emerges in preschoolers) includes the ability to share experiences, describe ongoing activities and/or plan/predict future activities, explain and tell stories.
Narrative language is different than conversational speech because the former is typically told by one speaker, while others listen. The last type of verbal language to develop is called expository language: its main purpose is to instruct. From third grade on, students are expected to describe, define, and explain information, e.g. oral and written reports for history or science etc., in a coherent manner. As academic demands increase over the school years, there is a larger emphasis on expository verbal language and expository literacy.
Narrative and expository language are the bridge between oral and written language development. Kind of like how the Verrzano connects Staten Island to Brooklyn.
Our language experts are like the Olympic coaches of speech. When we’re working with students, we specialize in both written and verbal skills. After all, you can’t have one without the other. That would be like peanut butter minus jelly.
Our specialized and individualized writing tutoring and intervention focuses on improving the student’s oral and written language skills including:
1) Analyzing complex sentences- student’s flush out the meaning of the complex language and vice versa- combine simple sentences into complex sentences.
2) Creating complex sentences: teaching “connecting words,” such as temporal words, e.g. then, before, after, etc., causal relations, e.g. because, so, etc., conditional relations, e.g. if-then, etc.
3) Elaborating noun phrases, e.g. adding the clause, “who study dinosaurs” to the word paleontologists, e.g. “Paleontologist, who study dinosaurs etc.”
4) Elaborating verb phrases, e.g. teaching adverbs, e.g. extremely, sadly, quite, etc.
5) Teaching vocabulary (nouns, action words, descriptors)
6) Grammar (sentence construction, verb tense, etc.)
7) Improving organization/cohesion of ideas (map out setting, identifying problems, goals, and episodes, connecting ideas, visual and verbal organizers, etc.)
8) Facilitating social skills.
Sharing is caring. We let the students know what we’re doing, so they can be part of the process. We also take their interests, strengths and learning style into account, maximizing effectiveness and ensuring the students don’t get frustrated. After all we’re not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. If your child likes music and flying saucers, let’s incorporate it! Drawing and imaginary animals? For sure! These skills are targeted during fun activities for remediation, and they are also implemented in the student’s curriculum.
When developing activities to enhance oral and written language skills, we include activities such as pictures (including drawing), books (including wordless picture books), imagination games, personal experiences, art activities, dramatic play, journals, book reports, music, editing (including correcting the tutor’s mistakes) etc.