Joining words together – 3 strategies to help your child use two word phrases

When children are using lots of single words, they may need some help to learn how they can put words together to make short sentences. There are also a number of different types of two word phrases. As a quick refresher for those of you who can’t remember school English a noun is a naming word. Here are some of the different types and some example phrases for each type: Action + Noun eg. “running horse” Noun + Action eg. “boy is jumping” Noun/Action + Location eg. “teddy in” or “jumping the log” Descriptive Word + Noun/Action eg. “soft kitty” or “silly walk” or “one apple” Social language + Noun/Action eg. “ta Mum” or “more tickles” It’s important that children have lots of chances to hear a variety of these different sentence types used every day. Remember as a parent you are the best language teacher your child has and it’s more about talking throughout life rather than formal sit down practice that will make the biggest difference. Most children start joining words together at about 18 months of age. Here are a few of the strategies that we find consistently work with most children who have a number of single words (50+) and are ready to start moving towards joining two words together. 1. Model: Use 2 and 3 word sentences to demonstrate the sort of phrases your child could use. For example, when having a drink of juice you could use some of these phrases: All gone No more juice Drink juice Pour juice Uh oh! Spilled the juice. Cold juice Let’s pour slowly It’s your juice My juice. 2. Expand: Expansion is...

How Children Learn to Read

 This post will be decidedly more technical than most of our articles but we feel it’s a vitally important subject area for parents and teachers to understand despite it’s complexity so pardon the jargon (we’ve tried to explain terms throughout for you)! Learning how to read requires several skills working together in a complex, harmonious dance. There are many challenges children face as they learn how sounds are connected to print, as they develop fluency, and as they learn to construct meaning from what they read. The primary challenge is the complexity of the task at hand and the number of different skills that can affect reading development. Three primary skills are fundamental to successful literacy development: sounds to letter links; reading fluency; and reading comprehension. Sound to letter links In English,  individual letters on a page are abstract and meaningless by themselves. They must be linked to equally abstract sounds (speech pathologists call these “phonemes”), then blended together and pronounced as words and then ultimately connected to word meanings. To learn to read English, the child must figure out the relationship between sounds and letters. A beginning reader needs to learn the connections between the approximately 44 sounds of spoken English (the phonemes), and the 26 letters of the alphabet. Research has taught us is that in order for a beginning reader to learn how to connect or translate printed symbols (letters and letter patterns) into sounds, the would-be reader must understand that our speech can be segmented or broken into small sounds (phoneme awareness) and that the segmented units of speech can be represented by printed forms (graphemes). This principle is at...

The value of play

According to Albert Einstein, “Play is the highest form of research”. If we want our children to figure out the world we need to allow them time and space to play in a variety of ways. Beyond that though we also need to teach our children HOW to play. Earlier this year I attended a workshop by the talented Karen Stagnitti, author of “Learn to Play” (amongst many other books etc). Apart from feeling like I’d found a kindred spirit, one of my favourite things was the way Karen outlined a framework for understanding pretend play. Here’s the framework in Karen’s own words: A Framework for Understanding Pretend...

Help your child learn to eat (and enjoy!) vegetables

        I came across a really interesting new study this year investigating how parents can help their children learn to eat a disliked vegetable. They compared the following five groups: A control group that didn’t get any intervention Parents presented the vegetable every day Parents presented the vegetable every day and modelled eating that vegetable (i.e. the parent ate it in front of the child) Parents presented the vegetable every day and praised/rewarded (with a non-food item) the child for “trying” it Parents presented the vegetable every day, modelled eating it and praised/rewarded the child for “trying” it   At the end of the study significant differences in liking were found between the experimental groups. Liking was highest (>60%) in the modelling, rewards and repeated exposure group and the rewards and repeated exposure group, intermediate (>26%) in the modelling and repeated exposure and repeated exposure groups, and lowest in the control group (10%). This tells us that repeated exposure to a disliked food, modelling and rewarding eating behaviour can potentially increase children’s vegetable consumption. So the key message is that although your child “doesn’t eat/like” a specific food it doesn’t mean they never will. Keep exposing them without forcing, model eating it and praise/reward if they make an attempt. In summary, here are 3 simple steps to helping your child learn to eat a food they currently dislike: Present the food regularly Model eating the food Praise/reward any attempts to touch, eat or interact with the food Here’s the link to the article if you are interested in reading more: ‘Why don’t you try it again?’ A comparison of parent led, home based interventions...