Teacher's Guide / Language Skills
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Babies learn to speak in stages. First they babble, then they practice making individual sounds. Next they string sounds together to speak words. As toddlers, they begin to string words together. We must surround all of our children with language by entering into meaningful conversations with them.

Some of the ways we can foster language development are:
  1. Using nursery rhymes to let them hear the rhythm and flow of our language
    Related ONLINE ACTIVITY: Six popular Nursery Rhymes.
  2. Singing simple songs with them and using call-and-response activities
  3. Using body language in songs, stories, and in everyday activities
  4. Name objects
    • Set out a set of common objects and have children name them and discuss different attributes (size, color, weight, shape)
    • Naming and touching body parts through active rhymes, games, and songs
    • Grouping and naming pairs or objects that go together
    • Have a riddle box for each theme - the children love to guess the answer
  5. Introducing new words
    • Through stories.
    • Through looking at magazines together and discussing them.
    • On neighborhood walks or field trips
    • By making word cards with a word and its picture.
    • Through lotto games
    • In environmental print
    • ONLINE ACTIVITY: Try our playful method of introducing new words. See: Word Puppies. Use our sample lesson about Alaska and create some of your own.
  6. One-to-one conversations
    • Model correct pronounciation and grammar
    • Model complete sentences
    • Model listening and responding to each other
    • Model questioning and answering
  7. Engaging in conversations about their journal entries
  8. Telling simple stories which involve the children responding
  9. Reading favorite stories over and over and then letting the children tell them to you
  10. Asking open-ended questions
  11. Facilitating dramatic play situations
    • In the housekeeping area
    • Outside
    • Using prop boxes
    • Using found objects to stimulate imaginative situations
    • Fill a box with objects and ask the child to tell who might own them (ex. a pizza wheel, spatula, fake pizza ingredients, pizza pan)
  12. Using puppets
    • To encourage a shy child to speak
    • To do puppet shows of familiar stories
    • To encourage children to make up their own scenarios
    • To invite children to come to a small group activity
  13. Chart activities
    • recording a favorite _____ (color, shape, animal, activity) list favorite songs (words & pics) and let children choose which one to sing
    • begin a poem and have them help you rhyme it
    • make voting graphs
    • have children predict what will happen in a certain situation and record it later, follow up and see if the predictions came true
  14. Do webbing activities with the children
    • write a topic word and have the children tell you what they know about it
    • record what they would like to know about the topic
  15. Use finger plays to encourage language
  16. Model problem articulation sounds
    • play word games using the sound
    • each time you hear a word with the sound, write it down on a posted page
    • notice when the sound is used correctly; do not notice incorrect usage

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1998, 2013, Susan Jindrich. All rights reserved. Revised 8/17/2015.