The Importance of Oral Language

01 Jan

The Importance of Oral Language

We know how necessary language development is for the acquisition of  literacy knowledge and skills that are required for school and for life.

The following outline of skills was published a few years ago by Speech Pathology Australia. Whilst originally designed for parents, you can use it to remind yourself of the foundation language and listening skills students need. Or, share with colleagues and parents in your school.

By the age of one, a baby should be able to:
• respond to familiar sounds, such as the telephone ringing, the vacuum cleaner, or the car in the driveway
• understand simple commands, such as “no”
• recognise their own name
• understand the names of familiar objects or people
• say “dad”, “mumma” and a few other words
• enjoy songs, music and books
• try to make familiar sounds, such as car and animal noises

By the age of two, a toddler should be able to:
• say the names of simple body parts, such as nose or tummy
• listen to stories and say the names of pictures
• understand simple sentences, such as “where’s your shoe?”
• use more than fifty words such as “no”, “gone”, “mine”, “teddy”
• talk to themselves or their toys during play
• sing simple songs, such as “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”, or “Baa baa black sheep”
• use some pronouns instead of names, such as “he”, “it”
• try simple sentences, such as “milk all gone”

By the age of three, a child should be able to:
• understand how objects are used – a crayon is something to draw with
• recognise their own needs, such as hunger
• follow directions
• use three to four word sentences
• begin to use basic grammar
• enjoy telling stories and asking questions
• have favourite books and television programs
• be understood by familiar adults

By the age of four, a child should be able to:
• understand shape and colour names
• understand some “time” words, such as lunch time, today, winter
• ask who, what and why questions
• use lots of words, about 900, usually in four to five word sentences
• use correct grammar with occasional mistakes, such as “I falled down”
• use language when playing with other children
• speak clearly enough to be understood by most people

By the age of five, a child should be able to:
• understand opposites, such as high and low, wet and dry, big and little
• use sentences of about six words with correct grammar
• talk about events which are happening, have happened or might happen
• explain why something happens, such as “Mum’s car stopped because the petrol ran out”
• explain the function of objects, for example, “This scrunchie keeps my hair away”
• follow three directions, for example, “Stand up, get you shoes on and wait by the door”
• say how they feel and tell you their ideas
• become interested in writing, numbers and reading things
• speak clearly enough to be understood by anyone

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