These are things you can do to help your child improve their language skills:


1.      Expand on what your child says.  Children learn language from hearing what others say.  If the child says “I see a dog.”, you expand on what they say by saying “I see a big, brown dog.”

2.     Extend what your child says.  Children learn to use complex structure and vocabulary when they hear you use complex language.   If your child says, “I see a dog.”, You can say, “I see a dog running through the park.” 

3.     Encourage conversational language by talking to your child about things you do and they do during the day.  Ask specific questions that will get more than a one-word or yes/no answer.  Start with phrases such as “tell me about…” or “how do you feel about…”  to get kids to talk more.  “Tell me about what you did in math class today” will usually provide more conversation than “did you have a good day at school” 

4.     Let your child help you with cooking, chores, and daily activities around the house.  Cooking can provide a lot of opportunities for vocabulary development (just think about all of the foods, tools, and appliances you use to cook…this provides a wealth of objects to describe, compare, taste, and experience).  Talk to them about how each object is used, what its made from, what category it belongs to, and so on. 

5.     Use daily errands such as going to the store, post office, restaurant and park as opportunities for developing language.  Each place has its own routine, people to know, objects that are used.  Talk about the items you buy in the store, how you mail a letter, ordering from a menu and so on…

6.     The more an adult interacts verbally with a child, the more they will hear and incorporate complex vocabulary and grammar into their daily lives.  So provide lots of play opportunities and time talking with peers and adults.  Limit exposure to television. This is not to say that t.v. doesn’t have its entertainment value; however, it has been proven that children don’t develop oral language skills by watching television; they develop language skills by talking with others. 

7.     Provide lots of opportunities for the child to hear language.  My favorite activity is the good ol’ bedtime story.  For younger children, picture books with a repetitive phrase (such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear or Jump Frog Jump) are great for the bedtime story.   Chapter books for older children (Charlotte’s Web,  The Indian in the Cupboard) are a great means to boost memory, vocabulary and complex language structure.  It has been proven that children who are read to become successful readers, too--So you can’t lose with this strategy!

8.     Play memory/concentration types of games

9.     Play “I spy” and look for items that belong in a certain group or category

10.As you read stories, ask questions, ask the child to summarize the story, or re-tell the story.  Have your child describe the pictures in the story.

11.  Look through old photo albums.  Ask your child to recall peoples names, events associated with the photographs.


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