When it comes to crafting children's literature, there is often a great deal of deliberation over the smallest details. A recent experience with my publishing team beautifully illustrates this. We were working on a new book for 3-4-year-olds, all about the thrilling world of digging and tipping, and found ourselves embroiled in a lively debate over one single word: excavator.
The crux of our discussion revolved around whether to use the term 'digger' or 'excavator' in the book (not as a printed word but in the supporting adult text and audio text). At first glance, 'digger' seems like the clear choice for this age group. It's simple, kid-friendly, and perfectly suitable for a 3-year-old's growing vocabulary.
But is 'excavator' too advanced for a three-year-old? Some may argue yes, suggesting that it's too long, too complicated, and perhaps unnecessary. However, I find myself firmly in the opposite camp.
One of my strongest beliefs when it comes to writing literacy resources for children is the importance of using correct terminology and exposing young minds to a higher level of vocabulary. This is how we stretch their understanding, broaden their language skills, and sow the seeds for a lifelong love of words.
Children are naturally curious and eager to learn. Their brains are primed to absorb new information, including vocabulary. When we use words like 'excavator', we're not just teaching them a new word. We're helping them develop their phonemic awareness, expanding their future reading skills, and introducing them to the rich tapestry of language.
Moreover, using the correct terminology can spark meaningful conversations and inquiries. Imagine the delight and intrigue when a child sees a real-life excavator at a construction site after reading about one in a book. Such experiences not only reinforce their learning but also connect the dots between the printed words and the real world, making their reading journey more enjoyable and meaningful.
Let's not underestimate our little ones. Children are far more capable than we sometimes give them credit for, and it's essential that we continually challenge them in age-appropriate ways. By choosing 'excavator' over 'digger', we're doing just that.
So yes, the world of digging and tipping in our upcoming book will be filled with excavators, not just diggers. As authors and educators, it's our job to dig deep, tip the scales of knowledge, and, just like an excavator, uncover the vast potential that lies within every young reader.
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