How are my child’s speaking and conversation abilities?
First graders are bursting with energy to talk and explain everything they’re thinking. They love telling jokes, playing guessing games, and even complaining. Overall, their speech is clear and can easily be understood. They are becoming aware that asking questions is different than telling a story. They can recite rhyming games and are starting to be better listeners. Their ability to follow directions is evolving and they delight in being trusted by an adult to carry out a task, like taking out the garbage or packing their own lunch.
How can I help my 1st grader improve their speaking abilities?
Play Conversation Games:
Go back and forth thinking up a name and a food in ABC order.
You say: “My name is Anna and I like apples.”
They say: “My name is Brayden and I like buffalo wings.”
Expand on What Your Child Observes:
When your 1st grader notices something, show them you’re listening by expanding on what they have observed. If your child points out an insect, ask if they can count the legs or find a different insect in the yard. If your child says it feels hot outside, show him how to read a thermometer or look up the temperature to talk about degrees Fahrenheit. These opportunities will help them build vocabulary while letting them know their ideas matter.
Instead of “How was school?”, try these questions to get your child talking:
- Tell me something that made you giggle today.
- If you could sit next to anyone in class, who would you sit next to? Why?
- What did you play at recess?
- What do you wish you could do all day long at school?
Frequently Asked Questions about 1st Grade Language Development
At this age, using verbs incorrectly in the past tense is very normal. Some of the rules in English are challenging to master, so it might take them until the next school year to say things like “swam” instead of “swimmed” or “rode” instead of “rided”.
If you are concerned your child has a speech problem, set up an appointment with your pediatrician. Make a list of your concerns or examples of issues you’ve observed in your child so you can give the pediatrician a full picture of your child’s difficulties. They will evaluate your child and recommend further screening and tests your child might benefit from.
Next, set up an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher and describe your concerns. Teachers are usually in charge of more than 20 children, so subtle language differences among children may not stand out clearly. By voicing your concerns, the teacher can tune in to your child and make note of speech issues observed during class time, while offering more support to your child.
As a parent, it is your right to request a speech evaluation through the public schools at any time.