Conversations with Children
Conversations with children promotes the development of langauage and comprehension. Remember it's a two part dialogue-talking AND listening! Here are some strategies to help you help children improve their speech and to help them understand what is being said.
Talking out loud to ourselves and saying what we are seeing, hearing, doing or feeling is useful for children who are shy about participating and interacting. This models speaking yet makes no demands on the child.
Repeat what has been said and add to the statements with details that help form a grammatically well-formed utterance. For example, a child says, "baby sleep." The adult responds, "The baby is sleeping." The expansion shows a child that the adult is listening and that the child’s speaking is important and acknowledged.
The adult comments about the actions and play of the child and uses language that is simple in order to model appropriate language. The child does not have to respond.
Closed Questions: A closed question has one right answer. It can be answered with a yes or no or one or two words. For instance, ‘What color is this?’ “How many are there?’ “What is this called?” “Is this yours?”
Open Ended Questions: Open ended questions ask a child to give more than a one or two word response and have many possible right answers. They give more insight and extend children’s thinking. To help children put thoughts into words ask, “Why do you think the little boy in the story was sad?”
- To observe: “What do you see, hear, feel? What did you notice?”
- To make predictions: "What do you think will happen if you keep adding blocks?”
- To think about similarities and differences: “How are these two blocks the same?”
- To stretch thinking: “What would happen if there were no cars, trucks, buses, planes?”
Check out this helpful workshop on building positive relationships with children.