Language development is crucial for children to be able to communicate with their peers, family members and people outside the family structure (day-care workers etc). Language development begins at birth. Children tune into familiar family voices and the native language being spoken.
Language falls under two umbrellas. They are receptive language, that is the ability to understand / comprehend the spoken message, and expressive language, which refers to speaking. The following is a guide as to how many words a child should know.
|Age||Number of Words in Vocabulary|
|By approximately 2 years||> 100 words|
|By approximately 2.5 years||> 2,000 words|
|By approximately 3 years||> 3,000 words|
|By approximately 4 years||> 5,000 words|
If a child has a limited vocabulary and unclear speech it would be best to contact a Speech Pathologist for further guidance as to whether your child may have a speech and language delay.
Tips / suggestions as to how you can help develop your child’s vocabulary:
- Read daily to your child – pointing to different objects on the page, using lots of expression, asking questions; encourage them to make the noises of different characters (e.g. point to the train and ask “what sound does the train make? “choo choo”; what does the cat say? ”meow”).
- Take your child grocery shopping – have them count with you the number of apples / tomatoes you are putting in the bag, name the foods as you select them, show them the cans / have then help you lift the cans (corn / beetroot) into the trolley.
- Have them help you hang out the washing – ask them to pass different items of clothing, ask them for a number of pegs (e.g. pass me two red pegs).
- Sing nursery rhymes.
- Sing along with a CD (e.g. wiggles, play school).
Why Read to Your Child?
Evidence shows that children who are read generally have a large vocabulary. Knowing a large range of words often means the child will have good comprehension skills. They will also have good expressive language.
Children who have not been read to will have limited vocabulary and hence, this may impact on their comprehension. In turn, they will more than likely have an expressive and receptive language delay.
It has also been found that children who have been read to will more that likely go on to be fluent readers and be very good at spelling and writing.
Reading to your child also:
- Fires up their imagination!!!
- Develops their vocabulary.
- Allows them to link ideas.
- Provides them with ideas to draw upon when writing their own stories.
- Develops their sentence structure.
- Gives them immense enjoyment.
Levels of questioning
This was designed by Marion Blank. The levels of questioning have been divided into approximate age groups. Below is a guide as to what type of questions to ask a child when reading a book.
|Level of Questioning||Approximate age targeted||Types of questions|
|Blank level 1||16 weeks to 2 years||Say this …..
Can you point to the lion?
Where is the lion?
What does the train say?
Can you find one the same as this?
|Blank Level 2||3-year old’s||· Who?
· How are these different?
· Tell me something that is an animal?
· Point to one that is not yellow?
They are beginning to be able to describe activities/ pictures/ events
|Blank Level 3||4-year old’s||· What do you think will happen next?
· What is a ….? (definition of a word)
· Find something that is not a …..
· How are these objects the same?
They should be able to sequence the main events in a simple story.
|Blank level 4||5 years and above||· What will happen if ….?
· What will she / he do?
· How can we tell that…..?
· What could we use to….?
· Why can’t they do….?
· What might happen next/ How can you tell?
Inferential and causative language.
They start to be able to solve problems and answer “why” questions.
Children begin being able to predict what may happen next and why.
You DO NOT need a doctor’s referral to see a Speech pathologist.
Perth Speech Therapy provides assessments and therapy for all children 2 to 12 years. All sessions are tailored to the child’s individual needs. There are two clinics, in Melville and Cottesloe, as well as a mobile service. Perth Speech therapy provides services to day care centres, schools and makes home visits.