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Scaffolding Language Development

What is scaffolding in education?

In terms of education, scaffolding is a method of teaching, designed to offer students structure and support, much like its construction counterpart. The idea is that new lessons and concepts can be more readily understood and comprehended if there is support given to a child as they are learning. It can also involve teaching a child something new by utilizing things that they are already know or can already do.

We can apply scaffolding to language development by creating a language-rich environment and building on early reading concepts that each child already understands.

Scaffolding Involves Exposure

What are some features of a language rich classroom or home environments?

  • Daily Read-Aloud Sessions
  • Open-Ended Questions
  • Encouragement to describe events orally and retell stories

As children build upon skills, “scaffolding moves a child from lower to higher language use.”

An example of language scaffolding for preschoolers via About Parenting,

Once a child recognizes a specific letter, you can teach the sound and then words that start with that sound.

You can scaffold children’s language development in many ways. Modeling the use of new vocabulary words, and encouraging the students to use them in their own speech, quickly enriches vocabulary and syntax.

Some tips:

  • When asking a question, be sure to give children adequate response time.
  • Know when to wait, and when to ask another question.
  • Ask open-ended questions and encourage children to discuss with each other.

Scaffolding is an easy to implement method that can take children to great new heights!



Freelance Blogger at
Lori Hil is a freelance blogger and content curator with an AAS in Early Childhood Education. She now gets to combine her love of writing and teaching through the written word. You can find her all around the web, but especially enjoying the freelance life at
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