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?

  • Use words that describe what you see/hear/smell/feel.
    • Fill a box with child-safe objects found in the home, such as crayons, small toy cars, books or blocks. Ask your child to close his or her eyes while you choose an item from the box. Describe the item and see if your child can guess what it is. Then switch roles. You close your eyes while your child picks an object from the box and describes it until you guess what it is.
  • Have conversations with your child often.
    • Be sure to pause after speaking and give your child a chance to contribute to the conversation. Extend and expand upon what your child says. For example: “That’s right, we went to Grandma’s house last night. Remember when we looked at her beautiful red roses? We told you to be careful when you touched the rose. Do you remember why? That’s right. A rose has thorns and it can prick your finger.”
  • Go to the library and choose informational, or nonfiction, children’s books based on a special interest of your child.
    • This is a great way to explore new hobbies and interests. Encourage your child to become an “expert” on a special subject and then talk about it with another child or adult.
  • Create games where you provide clues to help your child identify the functions of objects.
    • See if he or she can name more than one item that fits into that category. You might say, “We use it to eat our food” (fork, spoon, plate). “We use it to write with” (pencil, crayon, marker). “We use it to float on the water” (boat, float, raft). “We use it to clean our bodies with” (soap, shampoo, washcloth).