Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Speaking (13-24 Months)click to print Print

Label Things

Watch to see what your toddler is interested in. Try to imagine what word he or she would want to say and "give" him or her the word.

Examples: If your toddler is enjoying eating some crackers, say "Crackers". While washing his or her face, say "Washing".

Don't be afraid to provide labels for things that have long names. Toddlers find ways of saying these words in their own simpler ways but it is important for them to hear the correct names.

Example: While at the zoo or reading a book, use the labels "gorilla" "rhinocerous" and "buffalo" if your toddler is interested in those animals.

Use Your Voice for Emphasis

Try using your voice to convey interest and excitement and keep your toddler interested in a topic of conversation.

Your toddler may also learn new words more easily if you say them carefully and deliberately, giving gentle emphasis to the sounds in the words.

Example: Saying, "uuuhP" for "Up".

Add a Word to an Action

Think of words as the building blocks of language and try to add only one word at a time. For example, if your toddler waves bye, say "bye bye" while you and your toddler wave. If your toddler makes a sound like saying "uh" for "up", add the word "up".

Add Another Word

Once your toddler is consistently using a single word for a particular purpose - like saying "up" to get picked up, try adding a word, like "up please" or "Mommy up".

Respond to Your Toddler's New Words

Let your toddler know when his or her speaking attempts are correct - "Yes, cup."

If your toddler has made a mistake, provide the correct word, "No, dog."

If your toddler has failed to recognize an item as a member of a category, you can provide more information to help her understand. "It's a cat, just like Nella."