Oral Language includes the ability to understand spoken language and speak clearly to communicate with others. Developing oral language increases vocabulary and speaking skills, contributes to enjoyment and comprehension of reading, and builds listening and attention skills for school.

How can I help?

  • During everyday activities and when reading books with your child, introduce new words and explain their meanings.
    • When you are making or eating meals, have conversations with your child about the food. Talk about how the food looks, smells, sounds, tastes and feels, and ask your child for their input. Use a variety of describing words like, smooth, salty, crunchy, sweet, fluffy, sticky, juicy, sour, etc.
  • Collect pictures of items that can be sorted into different categories (e.g., furniture, toys).
    • For example, give your child two small baskets and ask him or her to sort the pictures by putting all the pictures of furniture into one basket and all the pictures of toys into the other. Talk about the characteristics of furniture and of toys.
  • Encourage your child to have pretend play.
    • He/she can go on a “boat ride” inside a laundry basket, be a caped superhero that comes to the rescue of stuffed animals or use safe kitchen items to create meals as a restaurant chef.
  • Create games where you use descriptive words to help your child identify objects.
    • For example, place three to four of your child’s stuffed animals on a table or on the floor. Give your child a description of one of the animals and see if your child can guess which one you are talking about. (“I’m thinking about an animal that has a tail and brown eyes. Guess who?”) After your child is successful at guessing correctly a few times, ask your child to describe a mystery animal without naming it. Can your child give enough information to allow you to make a reasonable guess?