Friday, September 18, 2009

Bits of Books--Growing a Reader from Birth by Diane McGuinness

Lately, I've been reading books like nobody's business--just the ones I pick up from the Parents shelf in our library. I thought since I was reading them, I might as well let you all know what I'm learning about so you don't have to read them! :)

The book I'm working on now is Growing a Reader from Birth by Diane McGuinness. I am about half way done and wanted to share some interesting tidbits.

Children learn to speak in two different ways. The first way is word by word, like building a house brick by brick. They learn each part of speech separately and then learn how to put them together. Other children learn to speak by "frozen phrases," kind of like building a house with modules already put together. The first child will painstakingly say "Daddy bye bye" after much practice with both of the words, while the second will rattle off, "Daddy go bye bye in car," without much thought. The single word learners almost seem to be late bloomers, but studies show that vocabulary evens out later for both types.

Studies show that there is a higher percentage among girls of "frozen phrase" learners, so this may account for the reason that girls seem to learn language much more quickly than boys.

My two boys represent each of the learning styles. John Paul seemed to be a "late bloomer," putting each word together slowly and not speaking in full sentences until well past the age of two. Joey was a "frozen phrase" learner. When he looked at me at 17 months and said "Do it again!" I nearly fell off my chair! He learned words in strings, and was able to separate them if necessary, but had no trouble saying them as a group. I was constantly shocked at his development, and now it all makes sense!

At (nearly) four, John Paul is very adept at most types of speech, but it is clear that sometimes he struggles with some stringing together. ("Joey is being mad to me.") However, his vocabulary is very extensive and I don't worry about his future ability to read or comprehend. Joey is very adept at grammar for his age. ("I want John Paul to go away from me.") However, it is clear that much of his comprehension is still at a two year old level. He has had a leg up on communication, which has resulted in less stress for our family, which is great.

It was so interesting to read this, being the 'word nerd' that I am! I hope you learned something about your little chatterbox from this post! More to come...


  1. Glad there is "more to come" on this one. As you know, my girls represent both types as your boys!

    Have you considered creating a rating system to share when you are finished with the books you read and then give a final word on? I'd love to get the breakdown on the book and then see a "Must-Have" or "Not a Bad Read" or "Take My Word For It, Don't Waste Your Time Reading It" note to go along with it!

    Love ya!

  2. Hi, just found your oldest boy is John-Paul too. Great name! We hyphenated it so everyone would have to say both names. Yet he still gets called John, and so many people asked us why we chose that name. Ummmm, ever heard of the most wonderful Pope ever?!?! Seriously :)