Pin Me

Cooing to Communication: Speech Development in Young Children

written by: Kara Bietz • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 6/18/2014

In just a few short years, cooing and babbling infants become preschoolers with large vocabularies and the ability to speak clearly and intelligently on a number of different topics. How does all this happen? What kinds of activities can help facilitate these developments? Read on for ideas!

  • slide 1 of 3

    Chloe Mummy Infants are effective communicators right from their first moments on earth. They are able to communicate using their voices through crying, cooing and babbling, not to mention all the ways they communicate non-verbally. As children grow through toddlerhood and into the preschool years, their communication skills grow and change right along with them. Speech development is one of the most notable and dramatic changes a child will experience in their first five years of life. Understanding how speech develops from infancy through the preschool years will help you plan activities for your classroom that will help foster these rapid changes.

  • slide 2 of 3

    Infant Language Learning: In just one year, infants learn that their cries and coos will get an almost immediate response from a caregiver. This early learning is the very first step to effective communication and conversation skills. Here you will learn about infant receptive language, how infant language progresses and a few simple activities for babies that will encourage speech development.

    Infant Speech Development: Infants often parrot what their parents say to them, or at least the sounds of their native language. This repetition of sounds and noises are what lead to toddlers saying their first words. Learning the give and take of conversation is important for older infants and young toddlers. The activities here can help you initiate conversation games with older infants.

    Motherese: Motherese, also known as baby talk, certainly has its place in infant speech and language development. Scientists have discovered that infants pay closer attention to this sing-song way of speaking than to typical adult speech. This discovery has led child development experts to conclude that if they are listening to this speech pattern, infants are probably also listening to the language, the sounds of the words and the conversational tone of motherese. This fascinating article details the finer points of this speech pattern.

    Infant Vocabulary Development: Once baby has said those first words, then what happens? Most caregivers are very focused on those first words that babies utter that not much thought is given to appropriate ways to keep that baby talking! Pay special attention to the sounds a baby uses to say his first word, and build upon that. These hints will help caregivers coax more language from their little learners.

    Toddler Speech Activities: Toddlerhood is an exciting time for both parents and children. Many toddlers are beginning to learn how to speak using words that others can understand, and their speech is developing at a very fast rate. The speech activities outlined here, such as talking into a tube and using puppets, will help parents and caregivers encourage normal speech development in toddlers.

    How to Speak Toddlerese: When working in a toddler classroom, it's easy to grow impatient while waiting for a young toddler to answer a question. These tips will help you understand toddler speech and language development, and will give you the tools necessary to speak so toddlers feel comfortable speaking back to you. Appropriate conversation, open-ended questions that encourage speech and celebrating milestones are all discussed here.

    Print Rich Environments for Toddlers: How can print-rich environments help facilitate language development in toddlers? Seeing print all around and hearing adults speaking and reading written words will help toddlers make the connection between print and the spoken word. Read on for tips to creating a stellar print-rich environment in your toddler classroom.

    Appropriate Preschool Language Concepts: Before you can begin to plan a speech and language curriculum for your preschool class, you must first understand the natural development of speech. Appropriate language expectations for preschoolers include understanding and responding to simple directions, listening to stories and being able to answer simple questions about stories they have heard. This is a good starting point for teachers and caregivers that will cover the basics of preschool language development.

    Preschool Fun: Speech and Language Activities: Three fun activities for getting preschoolers talking in the classroom are highlighted here. Try a fun noisemaking game, a post office game and your dramatic play center to help boost preschooler's blossoming speech skills. Make your preschool classroom a language-based program using these simple ideas.

    The Role of a Speech Pathologist in Preschool: Is it necessary to have a speech pathologist present in your preschool program? Learn the role a speech pathologist would play in a preschool environment and decide whether this is an option for your program. Early intervention can be the key to getting a child the help he needs to communicate verbally, and a speech pathologist can help identify roadblocks to learning as well as develop an effective program for verbally challenged students.

    Language and Developmental Delays: Most normal speech development occurs between the ages of 2 and 5. While there are always exceptions to this rule, it is important to detect speech and language difficulties early so that appropriate interventions can be put into place. This informative article discusses the three main areas of language development, as well as signs to look for when evaluating preschoolers for a speech or language delay.

    Syllable Games for Preschoolers: One of the best ways to get preschoolers talking is to play with language in the classroom. Silly games, songs and activities will encourage children to use language in new ways and increase vocabulary. Get crazy with these syllable games and get those kiddos talking!

    Preschool Language and Literacy Activities: Language and literacy go hand in hand in the preschool classroom. Making connections between written and spoken language is an important milestone in preschool language development, and these activities can help your class meet those goals. Try building a story or writing a class book to help preschoolers make those important connections.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Speaking, listening, language and literacy are all important pieces of language development in children from infancy to preschool. Understanding the milestones a child will reach each year, as well as signs to look for that may point to a language delay, are skills every early childhood educator should have. Let us know if the activities outlined in this article have been useful by dropping a note in the comments.

References