1 Uses age-appropriate grammar in conversations and increasingly complex phases and sentences
a Child typically uses complete sentences of four or more words, usually with subject, verb, and object order.
telling a story about a family trip using long and complex sentences
participating in a long conversation about pets with a friend
asking questions and adding ideas using complete sentences during a presentation by a special visitor
sharing an experience (e.g., "We went to the park in my grandmother's car.").
Play a word substitution game that expects each child to repeat the sentence with a different ending (e.g., "I went to the store to buy a ______.").
Help children tell one sentence about their drawings or favorite objects (e.g., "My dinosaur sleeps with me." "Here's a picture of my family.").
Model how and encourage children to describe a familiar object that is hidden in a cloth bag in order to guess its identity (e.g., "I feel something soft. It has four legs. It has two ears.").
Reply and expand when a child responds with a simple phrase. (e.g., when child says "Here is a dinosaur." expand by saying "Yes, that is a dinosaur called a Tyrannosaurus Rex.").
b Child uses regular and irregular plurals, regular past tense, personal and possessive pronouns, and subject-verb agreement.
using the correct tense when describing something they did the night before (e.g., "My family went to the ice cream store last night.")
saying "feet" although a younger classmate says "foots"
identifying all the art objects that belong to them, using "my" and "mine," and those that belong to their friends, using "his" or "her."
Model and help children describe pictures of multiple and single objects to practice the use of correct subject-verb agreement.
Use picture prompts to encourage children to say phrases and sentences with irregular plurals (e.g., foot/feet, mouse/mice, ox/oxen, child/children).
Demonstrate how to tell about one's own picture and about the next child's picture, beginning with the words "my picture," "his picture," or "her picture."
When child says something with a grammatical error, respond using the correct terminology (e.g., child says "I runned to the swings"; respond with "Yes you ran to the swings," modeling the correct grammar).
2 Connects phrases and sentences to build ideas
a Child uses sentences with more than one phrase.
talking with a friend as they play, using sentences with more than one phrase (e.g., "Let's build a road next to this building and put a bridge in it.")
participating in a large group discussion, adding information in multiple phrases (e.g., "Lizards like to crawl under things and change colors.")
describing a family trip, combining phrases (e.g., "We went on a hike where we saw a waterfall.").
Have children work in pairs, with one child telling the first part of a sentence and the other child adding a real or silly phrase to it (e.g., "The dog jumped over the fence…to get the big bone.").
Provide opportunities for children to tell the group a simple story about a favorite personal experience (e.g., telling the class about a visit to a friend's house during Show and Tell).
Model and give children opportunities to ask and respond to questions in more than one phrase (e.g., "Where would you find a frying pan in a house? A frying pan is found in the kitchen.").
Provide opportunities at meal times for children to engage in conversations with the teacher and other children.
b Child combines more than one idea using complex sentences.
describing cause and effect (e.g., "My hands are dirty because I was playing in the dirt.")
predicting what will happen next ("If I don't water the plants they may die.")
describing events in a logical time sequence (e.g., "This morning I got up, brushed my teeth, and came to school.").
Provide simple science experiments (e.g., objects that sink and float) and encourage children to tell what happened (e.g., "The flower floated when it fell in the water." "I think the block will sink because it is heavy like a stone.").
Help children use complex phrases when retelling familiar stories (e.g., "When the clock struck midnight, Cinderella ran away.").
Encourage children to describe their art using complex sentences (e.g., "After I mixed blue and red paint, it turned purple.").
Model how to combine two simple related phrases into one coherent sentence (e.g., "This is a pen. It writes in purple ink," becomes "This is a pen that writes in purple ink.").
c Child combines sentences that give lots of detail, stick to the topic, and clearly communicate intended meaning.
describing a family event, combining sentences and giving lots of detail
participating in a large group discussion of birds and building on the information by talking with a teacher as they watch birds outside later in the day
asking many questions about fire engines when the firefighter is a special visitor at the school
maintaining the focus of the conversation in response to a listener's comment or question (e.g., Child says," I played in the snow." The listener says, "There's no snow here!" Child says, "I was at my grandmother's house where there was snow.").
Provide an interesting picture and relevant verbal prompts to help the children describe what they see (e.g., "What is the large object in the middle of this picture?""How did you know it was a ___?""Tell us what is behind this ____.").
Ask questions and make comments to guide the children in describing a common routine within the classroom (e.g., "After I use the bathroom, I flush the toilet and wash my hands.").
Model and use guiding questions to help children tell about a personal event, organizing the details into an understandable sequence (e.g., "What did you do first?""What did you do after that?" and "How did it end?")