Wednesday, October 10, 2012

4 to 5 Years Communication Milestones

By the age of 4-5, a child should exhibit the following language skills:
  Pays attention to a short story and answers simple questions about it.
Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.

Makes voice sounds clear like other children's.
Uses sentences that give lots of details (e.g., "I like to read my books").
Tells stories that stick to topic.
  Communicates easily with other children and adults.
Says most sounds correctly
Uses the same grammar as the rest of the family.

Talk about spatial relationships (first, middle, and last; right and left) and opposites (up and down, big and little).
Offer a description or clues and have the child identify what you are describing.
Work on forming and explaining categories (fruits, furniture, shapes).
Follow the child’s directions as she or he explains how to do something.
Give full attention to the child when he or she is speaking, and acknowledge, praise, and encourage him or her afterward. Before you speak to the child, be sure to get his or her undivided attention. Pause after speaking, allowing him or her to respond to what you have said.
      Build on the child' s vocabulary. Provide definitions for new words, and use them in context: "This vehicle is riding on the highway. It is a car. A bus is another kind of vehicle. So are a train and an airplane."
     Encourage the child to ask for an explanation if he or she does not understand what a word means. 
      Point out things that are the same or different. Play games incorporating these concepts that he or she will encounter later in the classroom in reading readiness.
      Sort items into categories. Now try to sort them by pointing out more subtle differences between objects (e.g., rocks that are smooth vs. those that are rough, heavy vs. light, big vs. small). Again, have the child identify the object that does not belong in a given category, but now ask him or her to explain why the item does not belong.
      Expand on social communication and narration skills (telling a story) by role-playing. Play house, doctor, and store using dialogue, props, and dress-up clothes. Do the same with a dollhouse and its props, acting out scenarios and making the dolls talk.
      Read stories with easy-to-follow plots. Help the child predict what will happen next in the story. Act out the stories, and put on puppet shows of the stories. Have the child draw a picture of a scene from the story, or of a favorite part. You can do the same thing with videos and television shows, as these also have plots. Ask "wh" questions (who, what, when, where, or why) and monitor his or her response.
      Expand on the child' s comprehension and expressive language skills by playing "I Spy"
      Give the child two-step directions (e.g., "Get your coat from the closet and put it on")..
      Play age-appropriate board games. (e.g., "Candyland" or "Chutes and Ladders").
      Have the child help you plan and discuss daily activities.

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