5 key ways to support spoken language development

“Reading and writing floats on a sea of talk”

James Britton, 1983

Spoken language underpins the development of literacy skills. It provides the foundation for a child’s ability to learn to read, spell and understand the text they have read.

Children enjoy engaging in a wide variety of sound play. It helps develop their ability to recognise individual sounds in words. This is important for developing clear speech. It also helps build a strong foundation for phonics and learning to read and spell.

High quality interactions with adults encourages and supports children’s understanding and talking.

The development of spoken language in the early years is of prime importance. These skills are the most significant predictor of children’s literacy at the age of 11.

Five key ways in which early years settings can support spoken language development:

1. Having quality interactions and conversations where adults tune into the children. Follow their lead, talk about what they are doing and ask open ended questions.

2. Focusing on helping the children develop good listening skills. Go on a listening walk and show them what good listening looks like!

3. Sharing books, making the children active participants. Share a story again and again and have a conversation about it.

4. Using related activities to build on stories. A trip to the playground gives you lots to talk about.

5. Including songs and action rhymes. Have fun playing with the sounds and patterns of words.

All our Early Soundplay Bundles include guidance, activities and resources to help you get your children talking!

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