Saturday, April 4, 2015

Improving Language Expression Skills


There are many aspects to the development of language skills, including auditory memory, vocabulary, comprehension, and language expression. Here are some activities to practice language expression and question answering with your child. These activities are excerpted from my book, Language Lessons: From Listening Skills to Conversation. I hope you will find them fun and helpful.

Answering Questions/Language Expression

Answering questions requires complex language skills, including auditory memory, vocabulary, and previous knowledge. Children sometimes need to be taught to listen for the wh-word that begins the question and to understand the difference between "what," "who," "where," and "when" in order to answer the question appropriately. The question exercises below are organized by type. As an added challenge, mix up the types when you ask the questions. Always discuss and explain the answers if your child has difficulty.

Give your child two or three words and ask him to put them into a sentence. For example: boat, fish --We went out on the boat to catch some fish.

· potato, soup

· finger, touch

· lemon, fruit

· book, hide

· smell, fish

· peas, meat

· cave, explore

· refrigerator, milk


If/ Then Statements: Have your child complete each statement.

· If you are hungry, then ________.

· If you are tired, then ________.

· If you are cold, then ________.

· If you are wet, then ________.

· If you are thirsty, then ________.

· If you need to write something down, then ________.

· If the doorbell rings, then ________.

· If the room is dark, then ________.

· If your teeth are dirty, then ________.


Show your child a picture and ask her "who," "what," and "where" questions about it.

Gather objects from around the home and yard and ask, "Where does this belong?" about each one.

Gather photographs of family members. Ask, "Who has blond hair?" or "Who is your sister?" or "Who likes to eat ice cream?"

Ask questions about the room around you. "What is on the shelf?" "Where is the piano?" "Which piece of furniture is the tallest?"

What? Questions:

· What do you do with soap?

· What do chickens give us?

· What do you pick from an apple tree?

· What do you use to draw a picture?

· What do you use to eat cereal?

· What animal swims and says, "quack?"

· What do you put on if you are cold?

Where? Questions

· Where do you keep milk?

· Where does a fish live?

· Where do ducks live?

Who? Questions

· Who helps when you are sick?

· Who cleans your teeth?

· Who takes care of animals?

· Who teaches children?

· Who cooks in a restaurant?

· Who grows food on a farm?

When? Questions

· When do you wake up?

· When do you eat breakfast?

· When do you go to bed?

· When do you wear a coat?

· When do you eat?

· When do you brush your teeth?

· When do you take a bath?

· When do you wear a swimsuit?

· When do you say, "ouch?"

· When do you use a towel?

· When do we put gas in the car?

Why? Questions

· Why do you brush your teeth?

· Why do you wear a jacket?

· Why do you wash your hands?

· Why do you go to bed?

· Why do you read a book?

· Why do houses have windows?

Ask your child to describe:

· his room

· a favorite meal

· a playground

· the beach

· a circus

· the zoo

· the kitchen

· a dog

· a family member

· a swimming pool

Give your child an "answer." Ask your child to ask a question that fits the answer.

· at the table (Where do you eat dinner?)

· wash your hands (What should you do after you use the bathroom?)

· moo

· meow

· at church

· in the sun

· at the beach

· to bed

· the doctor

Ask your child what he would say in each scenario. Discuss.

· You lost your sweater at the park. Mom asks where it is.

· You need to do your math assignment, but you can't find a pencil.

· You need to buy your friend a birthday present.

· You are going out of town and want to ask a friend to watch your hamster.

· The phone rings, but your hands are covered in paint.

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