English Language Arts Foundation: 1 - Communication Process

Topic: ELA1.1 - Demonstrate receptive communication

Receptive language is the ability to understand the input of language, words, and gestures. The development of receptive language skills is foundational for literacy.

Acquiring receptive language leads to the ability to:
*Verbally and non-verbally respond to sounds, words, and gestures
*Follow one and two step directions
*Engage in conversation
*Answer age-appropriate questions
*Listen for understanding
*Focus on and attend to discussion
*Discover that speech has patterns
*Build vocabulary

Looking Ahead to Kindergarten Family Engagement Special Populations
In kindergarten, students, with support, will work to build understanding of topics using various sources. Additionally, they will identify relevant pictures, charts, grade appropriate texts, personal experiences or people as sources of information on a topic (K.W.5). Lastly, students will use words, phrases, and strategies acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to literature and nonfiction texts to build and apply vocabulary (K.RV.1). Encourage families to:

*Model talking about their day and share their thoughts.
*Ask their child about their day (e.g. “Tell me about your drawing/picture/art from school today!”).
*Talk about the daily schedule or routines.
*Try making books a part of their daily routine (e.g. read a bedtime story together).
*Talk frequently with their children starting at birth.

Educators can:

*Use gestures and visual cues to aid in understanding the meaning of words.
*Reinforce and review vocabulary that has been taught or discussed.
*Speak with clarity and provide small amounts of information at a time to allow time for processing.
*Give opportunities for the child to repeat given directions to demonstrate understanding of verbal language.

Powerful Practices
Across all developmental stages, educators can:

*Read a book many times.
*Talk and sing to children, using complex grammar and rich vocabulary when appropriate (e.g. introduce vocabulary as it relates to the environment, on walks, or field trips).
*Engage children in listening activities.
*Pose questions to determine understanding.
*Provide one-on-one, face-to-face verbal and non-verbal interactions to support engaging a child in communication.
*Offer opportunities to engage in two-way conversations with adults and peers.


Talk with infant during and about daily routines and prepare them for transitions (e.g. “I am going to wipe your nose now!”)

Talk with infant, using their name often in the conversation (e.g. “Sarah, are you hungry?”)

Verbally respond to infant’s vocalizations (e.g. Respond to a infant by saying, “Is that so?” “You don’t say?)

Point to objects while talking about them

Repeat familiar words and gestures that accompany your actions (i.e. play-by-play announcing to their actions and yours)

Change tone of voice when reading aloud to show emotion

Younger Toddler
Talk with child during and about daily routines like meals, personal care, and read alouds (e.g. “It is time brush our teeth.” “Today, we are having green beans for lunch.”)

Talk with child about what you or they are doing. (e.g. “I’m helping Susie clean up the blocks.” “You are walking to the playground.”)

Engage in conversation using simple words, signs and/or gestures

Match your facial expressions to the tone of the child’s voice

Provide and read aloud books with predictable and repeated language

Older Toddler
Talk with child during and about daily routines like meals, personal care, and read alouds (e.g. “Before we eat our snack, we will wash our hands.”)

Repeat and rephrase questions or requests if the child does not understand the first time

Pose simple who, what and where questions and provide adequate time for a response (e.g. “Do you know who is visiting you today?” “What can we use to draw this picture?”)

Give one-step directions (e.g. “Time to go outside! Let’s get our coats.”” or “It’s time to pick up all the cars!”)

Younger Preschool
Reinforce child’s vocabulary usage (e.g. Child: “There is a dog out there.” Adult: “You are right. There is a big, brown dog in our backyard.”)

Play listening games with children (e.g. I Spy)

Use positional words when giving simple directions to a child (e.g. “Put the ball on the shelf.”)

Model “if then” statements (e.g. “If it is snowing, then we need gloves.”)

Give simple two step directions (e.g. “Find your crayon box and take it to the table.”)

Older Preschool
Extend child’s vocabulary (e.g. highlight the similarities and differences between words while playing games and reading books)

Play more complex listening games (e.g. Simon Says)

Provide new, different, varied and diverse experiences that expand vocabulary (e.g. field trips or objects to explore)

Give multi-step directions, providing support and/or reminders to assist the child with completion of the task