Preschoolers use of language to speak and listen, as well as their understanding of reading and writing, is critical to their academic success in early elementary. We’ve already talked about reading and writing standards that children need to know before kindergarten. Pre-K Speaking & Listening Standards (oral communication) go hand in hand with those.
Did you miss part 1 of this series? No worries! You can read it here.
If you have ever been in a room full of preschoolers, you know it can get LOUD! Plug your ears, how can something so little make so much noise, loud! Preschoolers like to talk, make noises for everything (like cars and explosions – ehm, boys), sing, and talk some more. Believe it or not, all of this noise can be a GOOD thing. It just has to be directed in the right way for children to understand there is a time and place for talking and for listening.
Speaking & Listening Standards
How do you know if your child is on track with their speaking and listening skills or even which ones they need to know? We’ll walk you through the top 4 speaking and listening standards / skills your child needs to know before kindergarten, how you assess where they’re at, and ways to develop each area.
Speaking & Listening Standards: Demonstrate understanding through age-appropriate responses
- How to Assess: Does your child listen with comprehension and follow up to three-step directions? Do they respond appropriately to questions from others? When people are talking, does your child understand the topic and can join in?
- How to Develop:
- Give your child directions to follow. Start with one-step directions and build up from there.
- Ask your child questions and encourage more than a yes or no response. If you ask your child, “Did you pick up your toys?” A great response would be, “No, I forgot to,” as they go to put their toys away.
- Talk with your child. Ask questions to get them thinking and responding more. If you’re going to the zoo, ask what they like best about it. If they give you an answer that has nothing to do with the zoo, you could say, “That’s great that you like that. Zoos don’t have that though. What else is something you like about the zoo?” You positively redirect their attention back to the topic.
Speaking & Listening Standards: Communicate effectively using language appropriate for the situation and audience
- How to Assess: Does your child express their thoughts, feelings, and needs appropriately when talking with adults and peers? If their friend takes a toy, are they able to tell them that they were playing with it? Does your child use appropriate conversational skills, such as making eye contact, talking back and forth, and listening?
- How to Develop:
- Set up play dates for your child. Give them as many opportunities as possible to interact and communicate with other children. Encourage them to talk with each other about things they want to do or if there is something bothering them (such as a toy being taken away).
- Talk with your child and demonstrate how to use eye-contact, listen to what the other person is saying, and take turns talking back and forth using an appropriate voice level.
Speaking & Listening Standards: Use Language to convey information and ideas
- How to Assess: Is your child able to use memory recall and draw on past experiences to describe familiar people, places, things, and events?
- How to Develop:
- Talk with your child about experiences they have had and encourage them to add more detail. Here’s what a conversation would look like: Child: “I love going to Disney World!” Parent: “Why do you love it?” Child: “I love all of the fun rides.” Parent: “What rides do you like the most?” Child: “The one with Snow White.” Parent: “That’s a good one, why do you like it?”
Speaking & Listening Standards: Understand & use new vocabulary words & complex sentences
- How to Assess: Does your child express their thought and feelings using detailed words? Do they understand and use new vocabulary words?
- How to Develop:
- Talk with your child and encourage them to express their ideas, needs, and feelings in detail. If your child says that they don’t like something. Ask them why. A great response would be, “I don’t like ballet because they wear pink tutus. I’m a boy. I don’t like pink.”
- Teach new vocabulary words by introducing opportunities for children to learn, use and recognize the new words. For example, create a bean dig sensory bin with different tools they can use. Some words you may introduce are: black beans, garbanzo beans, sensory, measuring cup, funnel, tongs, or ladle.
- Read books that are rich in vocabulary and talk about the new words you read. Try to introduce actual objects to go along with the new words. If you read a book about going to the doctor’s office, try and show a thermometer when you introduce the word.
Now that you know the top 4 Speaking & Listening Standards your child needs to know, you can get started on developing them. These skills are built through interacting with adults and peers, so make sure your child is social! These skills will definitely help their transition into kindergarten and promote their LITERACY development.
This article only covers some of our assessment questions. We will provide our full assessment containing the list of skills children need for kindergarten at the end of this series.
In our next article we’re going to talk about the top 2 math standards every preschooler needs to learn before kindergarten.
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