Scaffolding Strategy: Syllables

So we’ve talked a little about scaffolding and how natural it comes to adults interacting with little ones. A classic example is a mama and her toddler in a grocery store, and the toddler points and says, “Banana!” and the mama responds, expanding on what her child said, “Yes, that’s a banana!”

Taking one word a child says and turning it into a sentence is called a scaffold because it helps a child to get to the next level of language development.

Guapa is mostly still in the one-syllable words stage (if that’s even a factual stage!), and we’ve been finding that while we speak to her in Spanish, she answers in one- or  two-syllable words.

We say manzana. She says apple.

We say caliente. She says hot.

We say agua. She says wa-wa.

We say que rico. She says nummy.

We say que asco. She says acky.

We say pan. She says pan.

It’s an interesting Spanglish mix, but I don’t think that means she’s confused. She completely understands us and proves that by responding with any of her language – whether it’s in English or Spanish.

She’s also in a sort of puppet stage and is eager to repeat what we say, so we’re working that to our advantage.

A way Tico and I have been scaffolding Guapa at this current stage is to break longer words into syllables. Like with saying “que rico”, we’ll break it into three syllables:

Tico: Diga que. (Say que)

Guapa: que!

Tico: Diga ri.

Guapa: ri!

Tico: Diga co!

Guapa: co! (Of course these are ideal responses, ha! See below for example videos!)

Tico: Diga que rico!

Guapa: (usually some kind of gibberish, as she just doesn’t repeat multi-syllabic words all at once)

Here’s a couple examples of what it looks like in real life (complete with English subtitles! You’re welcome!):


2 thoughts on “Scaffolding Strategy: Syllables

  1. katshumate says:

    She is too cute! Josiah (15 months) is in the copycat stage too, and most words we say to him come back as a double repetition of the first syllable. For instance “manzana” becomes “ma-ma.” This is also the word he uses for “mano, ” but the context usually makes it clear what he’s trying to say. “Ba-ba means about 10 different things, so that’s a little more difficult, but it shows that he knows what the real words are. He just can’t say them yet.

    We’re working on scaffolding the phrase” te amo,” but he’s got a ways to go yet to get it down. ☺


    • kathrynsiscoe says:

      That’s so great that he’s utilizing Spanish and that you recognize he’s in that one syllable stage too! For “te amo”, Guapa just says “amo”. I’ll say “Sabes que?” and she responds “amo”, which of course makes my heart melt!


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