Wordless Videos Can Teach Problem-Solving

Ormie the Pig

The YouTube site where Ormie the Pig is posted offers this description of the video: Ormie is a Pig, in every sense of the word. Pig see cookie. Pig want cookie. But they are out of reach…or are they? … Ormie has garnered 8 Festival Awards including Best Short Film (Savannah FF 2010, Palm Springs Int’l Shorts Fest 2010, Sprockets 2010, Seattle Int’l FF 2010) and the Audience Award (New York Int’l Children’s FF 2011). To see other videos in the collection, visit SpeechisBeautiful.com.

The old saying — a picture is worth a thousand words — is beautifully demonstrated by a collection of non-verbal videos at  SpeechisBeautiful.com. The miracle of the web allows an expert to collect a group of relevant materials — in this case delightful, but wordless professionally produced film shorts —  and share them with teachers and parents.

Children can watch the videos, observe how problems are solved, and then figure out how to talk about what they’ve seen. While the film shorts have no speech, they do have delightful sound effects, providing excellent learning opportunities for children who need conversational encouragement. Teachers who work with children of all ages will recall students of theirs who would benefit from this strategy.

Sarah, the host of the website is a bilingual speech pathologist, and she has curated a collection that will please and encourage the most timid speaker or slightly nervous bilingual child.

The image on the right describes Ormie the Pig, one video in Sarah’s collection.

Also, the Speech is Beautiful site is full of other ideas, features a blog, and also offers some resources for sale.

Traditional Toys, Electronic Toys, and Language Development

Lego blocks for early childhood playing, conversing, and learning.

Lego blocks for early childhood playing and learning.

In December I read an article about a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics describing how different types and amounts of parent/child speech interactions during infant play may increase or decrease, depending on the type of toys that the child uses.

The new research, though conducted on a small sample of participants, finds an association between talking electronic toys and and reduced parent/child interaction during playtime, and the results add to an existing body of literature that observes how electronic toys affect a child’s language development.

In her article, Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication, (abstract) researcher Anna V. Sosa, PhD. discusses her research, carried out with 26 parent and older infant pairs (dyads). The article is not too difficult to read, but it is available only at a library with access to the journal. Continue reading