Verbal Expressive Language Skills

Children with strong verbal expressive skills seldom struggle with learning to understand how to read or to make friends. Children entering the learning environment of the school or the playground with weak verbal expressive language skills may have difficulty with understanding their teacher’s reading lessons or making friends on the playground. I will provide you with some assessment questions to help you to evaluate your child’s ability to listen and converse.

There are receptive language skills such as paying attention and listening to what people are telling them. Until your child has been helped to strengthen both their ability pay attention and how to listen to understand, they will struggle to understand what their reading teachers are explaining to them and confused as to why they are never invited to play with other kids on the playground’

There are both receptive and expressive language skills that your child must learn. Weak receptive skills are chiefly responsible for your child’s learning problems. They should have learned them on the playground or at home long before their first day in school. If no one helps them to strengthen their receptive language skills they will carry their weak receptive skills into higher grades until someone identifies the problem to be serious enough for intervention.

Children need to be able to understand what they view and hear. You must assess your child’s ability to pay attention and be able to answer questions from stories you have read to them or have the expressive language skills to tell you stories or answers to questions from stories read the past week.

A child using correct expressive language skills has learned to listen and not interrupt others. When spoken to, they are polite and can express their thoughts and feelings in complete sentences. The reason why a child may be snubbed on the playground or while in class doesn’t understand answers to reading lessons are the same, they don’t listen. (See my Listening to Remember on my learning Tree).

Here are a few simple ‘listening to follow instructions’ assessment questions:

  • 1a). Put three and a half teaspoons of sugar into the red cup. (Have both a teaspoon and tablespoon as well as three different colored cups.
  • 1b). Balance on your right foot with your eyes closed.
  • 1c). Lie on your back facing the TV wall and roll like a log to the end of the rug.
  • 1d). Please bring me a glass of cold water from the fridge in a tall Glass.
  • 1e). From your dresser, bring me the pants you are wearing to school tomorrow, the sweater you will choose that matches the color of your pants and the shirt you asked to have a button sewed on.
  • 1f). I have hidden the toy you want me to buy you in the backyard it’s under one of the branches of the tree facing Tatlow St. you’ll find in on the third branch that sticks out when we play catch on the lawn.
    (You will substitute your own version of a treasure hunt)
  • 2a). What does this gesture mean?
    (1-Wave hello 2-Wave goodbye 3-A wave to tell another person on the street that you saw them 4-A wave to tell you to go away.
  • 2b). What do you understand when I:
    (1-turn my back away from you 2- Put both arms up in front of you 3-Hold both arms up with a smile on my face 4-A gesture to indicate a hug
  • 2c). Listen to my voice. Am I:
    (1-angry 2-serious 3-welcoming and friendly 4-stern 5-Yelling
  • 2d). Look at my face. Am I:
    (1-surprised 2-sad 3-angry 4-confused 5-serious 6-Expect you to listen up 7-make you afraid 8- Soothing
  • 3e). Thinking questions to be answered without a shrug, one word answer and expressed in a complete sentence.
    (1-How old will you be in three years? 2-Who is your favorite teacher? 3-What is your favorite subject 4-What subject do you hate the most? 5-Tell me why you like the hero in the latest Marvel movie?
  • 4a). Identify what I am describing:
    (1-It has white and black coloring, lives in Africa and eats grass? 2-I am an animal with the longest neck? 3-I have a face, hands but no arms or head. What am I?-a clock.
  • 4-Bob’s father has three sons. Their names are: Snap, Crackle and? Answer Bob 5-If 2 is company and 3 is an crowd, what are 4 and 5? Answer-9
  • 5) This assessment requires your child to comprehend what they read. Use my story or make up one of your own.

A Bus Ride to the Train Station

“You are driving a bus to the train station. Billy, Joan, Mary, Ken and Ted were waiting in a line to get on the bus at the Tatlow stop. You turn left at Bigalow and Tatlow Streets to find the street blocked by traffic because of a fire a block away from the train station. After a one and a half hour delay, Ted gets off the bus and walks to the station. When the traffic clears, you are finally able to drive the bus to the train station.

When you arrive, Billy leaves first followed by Ken and Mary. Joan doesn’t leave with them because she lost an earring. You helped find the earring and she leaves the bus. You drive the bus back to the Bus House parking lot and then drive your car home.

Questions :

a) What is the bus driver’s name? (It’s your child’s name because he was driving the bus)
b) Why was the bus delayed? Fire
c) Who got on the bus first? Billy
d) Where was the bus taking everyone? The train station
e) Who got off the bus first? Ted
f) Why didn’t Joan leave with her friends? She lost an earring
g) What did the bus driver do after Joan left for Drove the bus the train station? Back to the bus parking lot
h) What is the bus driver’s home address? Your child’s home address

This story may give you some idea of your child’s reading comprehension ability but it is their communication skills that you must work to strengthen. The best way to learn is by doing. I encourage you to engage your child in conversation. Teach them verb tense, the use of pronouns and adjectives. Enhance your child’s vocabulary and verbal expressive language, starting with listening.

Expressive Language Skills

  • a) Help your child to strengthen their conversational skills to a level where they can share their thoughts and feelings. Ask your child if they have a bully in their reading class? Does the bully push you around? How do you manage to cope with him in the room or outside on the playground?
  • b) Ask your child open-ended questions and refuse a shrug for an answer or one word answers. Teach your child to speak in complete sentences.
  • c) Ask your child to retell favorite stories and without interrupting the flow of where they are in their storytelling, help to sequence events in the story, timelines and enquire who is the villain in the story? What happens next? And what will be a possible ending for the story?
  • d) Does your child make eye-contact when conversing with you? How would you evaluate your child’s listening to what you have say?
  • e) When you go for a walk or a drive in the car, engage your child in casual conversational skills by asking what is the message on the billboard or the signs in the windows of the stores?

Almost everything you do daily, whether you are the child or the parent. Involves all the conversational skills that you learn from playing with other children, the help that you received by your parents to correct your conversational speech or how well you learned to listen to teachers while in school to get your language skills to the levels they are today.

Your child’s intellectual and social wellness depends upon how well your child strengthens their verbal receptive (listening) and expressive language skills before reaching middle school grade levels.