I’m trying to bring all my worlds together so that they work together (and I can keep up with this crazy schedule). So, today’s post comes from a homework assignment from my graduate work.
Students were asked to share 6-8 items from your childhood that contributed to your language development. I went to the beach, took out my notebook and spent 30 minutes writing all of the places, toys, and people that affected my language development when I was a child. I came up with seven.
THE PUBLIC LIBRARY
When I was a child, I visited the school and public library often. It was the only place where I could go and get whatever I wanted for free! I would browse through and collect books by Eric Carle, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? When I entered Kindergarten, I was already reading simple stories.
Legos offered the greatest language development for my siblings and me. We could make whatever we wanted. At one point, my brother and I made a kingdom inhabited by a society of talking horses. There were leaders, workers, soldiers, and even children horses. The horse society had intricate story lines, such as a celebration of a child lego horse being born or the horses mourning the death of one of it’s members. At one point, there was a scandal between the King, Queen, and the King’s mistress.
Sometimes after visiting the library, I would take home plastic bags that had a book and cassette tape inside. I would listen to the tape and follow along with the book. I don’t remember any of the stories, but I remember the voice acting. I would mimic the voices, adding my own hand gestures and body movements to emphasize the words.
Disney movies played a major role on my childhood. After watching movies like The Little Mermaid, Duck Tales the Movie, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, my sister, brother and I would role-play popular scenes from the movies. In fact, we had watched the films so much, we memorized – verbatim – dialogue from the films. Also, songs from the films – although I never sang them – hold a fond place in my childhood.
Playing video games made up a lot of my childhood. My brother and I would sit in front of the television playing Super Mario. While my brother waited his turn to play, I would entertain him by making up Mario’s voice as I played through the level. I would say words like “Oh no! The goomba is going to get me!” Then I would yell out “Squash” as I made Mario jump on the bad guys. I did this kind of voiceover role-playing during many play sessions.
My grandparents speak fluent Spanish. During meal times, I didn’t know what I was eating because they would call the foods by their Spanish names. Beans became frijoles, cheese became queso, and milk became leche. I would eat quesadillas and fidejo. Although I never learned a second language, when it comes to Mexican food, I’m comfortable with Spanish.
When I was going through potty training, I was very afraid of falling into the toilet. My fear was so strong, my mother was having a lot of trouble getting me to go inside the bathroom. So, she decided to sing songs to me to keep my fear at ease. One of my favorite songs to sing: The ABC Song. My mother says I learned my alphabet while sitting on the toilet.