Weekly Content Update | Encouraging Vocal Imitation

Weekly Content Update | Encouraging Vocal Imitation

This Week at Gemiini

This week we are pleased to make dozens of new imitation clips available to our members. In these clips, exaggerated motor actions are paired with silly sounds, playful words, and animal noises to motivate learners to bridge the gap between motor and vocal imitation.

Pairing Speech with Body Movement to Encourage Vocal Imitation

Imitation skills are foundational to developing language. Back-and-forth imitation games are an early form of conversation. Through these games, children develop early communication skills and practice the ability to learn how to do new things by watching other people. In the Gemiini Language Pyramid, a student must demonstrate the ability to imitate actions before advancing through the stages of language development.

Vocal imitation - mimicry of sounds and words - typically develops after a child is able to imitate actions with objects and body movements. The newest batch of clips encourages vocal imitation by modeling interactions in which speech is paired with over-exaggerated actions. In these clips, an adult or older peer prompts a child to imitate her actions with the directive, "Do this!" The child watches as the adult performs an exaggerated movement and makes a silly sound - for example, pushing a car and saying, "Zoom!" or pinching her nose and saying, "Ick!" The child responds by imitating both the action and the vocalization. These clips are located in Verbal Behavior → Imitation → Motor Imitation → Stage 5 - Bridge to Verbal Imitation.

Gemiini is a powerful tool, and for many students, seeing these actions modeled by peers is enough to spark imitation. That said, it's important to remember how much there is to be gained from real life back-and-forth imitation. An easy way to incorporate this into Gemiini viewing time is to watch Gemiini with your student, copy the actions of the actors on the screen, and encourage your student to follow along. Remember, it's not important that your child mimic the actions with precision - at this stage, the attempt at imitation is what matters.

We also encourage members to generalize and practice imitation outside of Gemiini as often often as they can, especially with students who are taking longer to pick up imitation skills. Over-exaggerating gestures and using silly, playful sounds is a great way to get your child interested in what you are doing. Keep these imitation sessions fun and interesting. Try playing games like Simon Says or Follow the Leader, or singing songs with motor actions like "I'm a Little Teapot", "The Itsy, Bitsy Spider", or "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes".

For help encouraging imitation, or for any other questions about using Gemiini effectively, please schedule a free call with one of our product specialists. If you're having technical trouble or need help getting started, check out the articles in our Knowledge Base. If you're looking for clips that don't exist on the site, please send a content request to videos@gemiini.org.