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Building Oral Language - Part 2

Welcome back to our series of blogs covering strategies to support your child’s oral language development. We hope you had fun implementing some of the strategies we suggested in our last blog. If you have not read our first blog, you will find it here.

Here are two more strategies you can consider implementing to support the development of your child’s oral language skills:

Offering choices:

Offering choices is a fantastic strategy to support and increase the number of words your child uses. This strategy tends to reduce the complexity of the task for the child, as you model the required response by asking, “Do you want ____ or _____”. For example, during a play routine you could do the following:

You might give your child a choice between a puzzle or a doll. Once the child copies the word to select his/her toy you can continue the interaction by offering choices.

Ask your child where to put the puzzle by saying,

“Where do we put the puzzle, on or under the table” Or if you are playing on the floor “Where do we put the puzzle, up or down?”

“Who will take out the pieces, you or me?”

“Do you want the cow or pig?”

“put the pig, in or out?”

“Do you want the chicken or goat?”

“put the chicken, here or there?”

“what’s next, goat or rooster?”

This is one example of how you could keep an interaction going during play and also provide various labels to increase the number of words your child uses. In this example, we primarily targeted naming words (i.e. nouns) however you could target lots of other word types like describing words (e.g. is pig, pink or purple?), location words (e.g. where will we put the doll, in or out?) and action words (e.g. should the doll, walk or jump?) using choices.

Specific Praise

Sometimes we can be very general in our praise. We should try to move from general praise, “Great job” to more specific praise. If you are working on something with you child, state exactly what they did well. For example,

Child: She is running

Adult: “Great job! I love the way you remembered to use ‘she’ instead of ‘him’.” OR “That was great! You remembered to use your little word ‘is’ to make a full sentence!”

Have a go at implementing these super simple strategies. You don’t have to implement them all at once. You might like to really focus on one until you master it and then move onto another. Look out for our next blog where we will provide you with more strategies to support oral language at home.


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