Who are the verbally gifted? Children who are verbally gifted are those whose strengths lie in language. They tend to be early readers, but if they aren’t, they learn to read quickly once reading lessons begin. They also grasp grammar rules and concepts quickly and are often excellent writers.
To many of them, language is fun. It is fun to use and fun to learn. It is a subject worthy of study, not because reading and writing is useful, but because it is interesting. In a previous post, I wrote about the science of language, explaining that what many verbally gifted children need is not lessons in creative writing or foreign languages, but lessons in the science of language – linguistics. How can we provide those lessons?
When I was working on my doctorate in linguistics, I discovered that my son was one of those verbally gifted children. He was fascinated by letters and words. In fact, he was downright obsessed with them. He was an early, self-taught reader, who couldn’t read enough science books. His grammar was impeccable, and he had a low tolerance for improper grammar use, sometimes correcting adults who dared used “incorrect” pronoun forms. He had zero interest in creative writing… or writing of any kind.
Because of what I saw in my son, I began to wonder what schools did for verbally gifted children. It seemed to me that these children would enjoy and benefit from the study of language itself rather than as a support skill – one needed in order to succeed in other areas. As part of my doctoral work, I conducted a study exploring the feasibility of teaching basic linguistics skills to verbally gifted children, even if a teacher has minimal or no background in linguistics.
My research and report of my study is now available here. You can read about it by visiting the page on “Nurturing the Linguistic Abilities of Verbally Gifted Children.” You can then read all the chapters to see what I did, why I did it, and how it all worked out. The appendix to the paper includes all the materials used in a class called “Junior Linguists,” in which a teacher with no background in linguistics taught 4th-6th graders some basic principles. Kids not only learned about what language is; they also learned about phonology, morphology, syntax, social uses of language, and the history of language.
The materials include lesson plans and games that anyone can use, including homeschoolers. The only thing required, other than these materials, is a willingness to explore the subject along with the kids. You don’t need to have all the answers! Any questions that come up make excellent topics for research and exploration.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/how-we-can-challenge-verbally-gifted-children/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/verbally-gifted.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/verbally-gifted-150x150.jpgEducationLinguistics,Verbally Gifted