As children grow and learn, language skills become more complex and it is imperative to foster the development of these language skills.
Language abilities are tied to cognitive, listening, speaking, reading, writing, math, and learning abilities.
Language Skills: School-Age Child
Below I outline the TOP skills to target when talking with your school-age child.
It is possible to improve the language skills of your school-age child without even thinking about it!
All you have to know is how and what questions to ask as you talk throughout the day.
1. WH Questions
Being able to answer "who," "what," "where," "when," "why," and "how" questions are crucial. They lay the foundation for comprehension and conversational skills.
How To Teach "wh" questions:
- This is easy!
- Simply ask "wh" questions as you talk to your child or when your child tells you a story.
- Make sure to listen to your child's response and correct any errors.
Example: Your child tells you a story about school. Ask "who were you playing with?".....wait for a response. "where were you?"....wait for a response.
For younger children, start with "what," "who," and "where" questions.
Sequencing is a complex language skill that is important for understanding and telling stories, for time management, and for planning.
How To Teach Sequencing:
- When cooking or making a craft, talk about each step. Say what you are doing and what you need to do next. Have your child explain the steps.
- Have your child explain "how to play" a game before you start.
- At breakfast, plan out the day. Talk about what you are going to do first, second, next, last.
Key Sequence words: First, Second, Third, Next, Last, Finally
3. Narrative Development
Having a STRONG template for narrative structure is IMPERATIVE. It is the foundation for understanding written and spoken stories as well as being able to write and speak properly.
Once a child understands the basics of narrative structure, he then is able to develop more complex language skills such as predicting, finding the main idea, and cause and effect.
Without a strong narrative structure, a child may have difficulty expressing ideas, understanding books in schools, learning new concepts, and recall new information.
Narrative Structure Basics:
- Time - When?
- Place - Where?
- Characters - Who?
- Problem - What? How?
- Steps to resolve the problem
- Resolution - What happened?
How To Teach: During reading time, ask your child questions such as "Who is in the story?" "Where does the story take place?" "What is the problem?"
When your child is telling a story, ask key narrative structure questions especially if your school-age child is leaving out important parts such as location or time.
DON'T directly teach narrative structure. Your child can easily learn it through practice and exposure.
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