Talk Matters in Hartlepool Helping your Talkative Toddler become a Confident Communicator
Working to support parents in Hartlepool and improve outcomes for children
Talk Matters Children learn language by listening and interacting with others. Every time you talk to your child, even before they are born, you are modelling language, and by making time every day to talk to your child in different ways you are helping their language and communication development. Children who are confident communicators, who have a good vocabulary and have a good knowledge of stories and rhymes make good thinkers, readers and writers. Research shows that this makes a significant difference to their long-term achievement and life chances. ‘Talk Matters’ is a project funded by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Education Commission which recognises the important role of parents and carers in their child’s language development. Two booklets have been created, by a group of practitioners from schools and settings in Hartlepool, to support you. The booklets focus on five simple but key activities that provide important opportunities to support your child’s language development. This second booklet, ‘Talkative Toddler to Confident Communicator,’ builds on the first booklet and focuses on supporting the development of children’s later language skills.
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Engaging your child in conversation is important because it supports the development of their language and communication skills. Talking with your child about everyday things, where your child talks as much as you, gives them the opportunity to practise talking! Playing provides an opportunity to introduce new vocabulary and engage your child in real conversations. Playing with your child is one of the most important things you can do to support their language development. Simple board games that involve turn-taking and have rules are a good way to introduce your child to the patterns in conversations. As your childâ€™s language develops, actively listening and responding to what they are saying will encourage them to talk more. Paying attention to what your child says
shows them the importance of good listening. Listening involves looking, getting down to their level and making an appropriate response. Sharing stories with your child is key to language and literacy development. By sharing stories you are introducing them to simple story language and the structure of narrative. This will help them when they are introduced to formal reading and writing. Singing songs and rhymes with your child will help them to learn sound patterns in language. They will begin to hear which words sound the same and which donâ€™t and to recognise words that begin with the same sound. This will help them when they learn phonics for reading and writing.
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Talk with me Every day in different ways... Engage: Get down to your childâ€™s level; give them time to respond. Keep the conversation going: Take turns, comment rather than question. Keep language simple: Build on what your child says. Be an equal partner: Listen more than you talk.
Did you know? When you talk with your child, you are teaching them vocabulary and the correct language models. Children with good language make good readers and writers. Learning Language for Life in Hartlepool : 5
Talk with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. By the time children are two, they have learned the basic rules of conversation but going from a ‘Talkative Toddler’ to a ‘Confident Communicator’ still needs you to help make it happen. Encourage conversations with your child. Let your child do the talking. Listen more than you talk.
Involve your child in choices about everyday things eg “What would you like to wear today?” Or “What would you like to drink?”
Talk about the ‘here and now’. Label objects and repeat words frequently.
Keep your language simple. Use short sentences and talk slowly and with pauses.
Encourage your child to talk about events in the past and in the future.
Build on what your child is saying eg Your child says, “Red ball.” Model back, “A big, red ball.”
Be careful not to ask too many questions. Comment on what your child is doing and wait for their response.
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Repeat back the correct language to correct your child’s mistakes, eg Your child says, “I runned fast” You say, “You ran very fast.”
Talk with me Different ways to talk... Talk, talk, talk - the more you talk, the more words your child will learn. Talk about eg favourite food, the events of the day, a trip to the park, a journey, a birthday, a holiday. Role play eg save empty packaging and play ‘shops’ or set up a table with cups and saucers and play ‘cafes’. Play word games eg think of words to describe something you are looking at or the character from a story - scary, prickly, grumpy. Think of words that mean the same thing - big, enormous, huge, large. Play with language - tell jokes, make up words. When you are out and about - point out and talk about shop signs and labels.
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Play with me Every day in different ways... Time: Make time to play. Follow your childâ€™s lead: Watch your child playing and then join in their play. Comment: Talk about what you are doing. Remember to be careful with questions. Enjoy the play: Show you are enjoying playing with your child.
Did you know? Talking to your child while you are playing with them is more important than the toy you are playing with.
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Play with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. By the time children are two, they have learned the basic rules of conversation but going from a ‘Talkative Toddler’ to a ‘Confident Communicator’ still needs you to help make it happen. Make special time to play with your child when there are no distractions.
Let your child do the talking. If you dominate, your child won’t get the opportunity to talk as much.
Speak slowly and repeat words during play.
Follow your child’s lead in play. If you decide on the play, your child may not be interested and the opportunity to learn new language is lost.
Play alongside your child and comment. Name the things you are playing with and what you are doing.
Encourage your child to be imaginative, ask open ended questions that require more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses eg I wonder....,Tell me..., What do you think?
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Play with me Different ways to play... Role play - build up a collection of old shoes, hats, fabric to make cloaks, bags etc to role play stories or events. Play turn-taking games that introduce new vocabulary eg opposites - big, small; tall, short; fat, thin or positional language - on, under, behind, on top. Play games with rules eg Hide and Seek, skittles, dominoes - use simple language to explain the rules. Set up dens, inside and out to play in. A tent with blankets and some pots and pans will encourage talk about camping. Working on a jigsaw puzzle provides an opportunity to talk together over a shared activity. Set up small world scenes with your child, eg a farm or a building site. Talk about what you are doing and then role play what might happen.
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Listen to me Every day in different ways... Listen: Make eye contact; make a response that shows you are listening. Take turns: Listen, reply then give time for your child to respond. Model good listening: Focus on your child and avoid being distracted.
Did you know? The art of listening well must be learned. A childâ€™s difficulty with developing language can be a result of poor listening skills.
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Listen to me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. By the time children are two, they have learned the basic rules of conversation but going from a ‘Talkative Toddler’ to a ‘Confident Communicator’ still needs you to help make it happen. Show that you are listening, look at your child, get down to their level, smile, nod, ask a question or make a response that shows you are listening.
By switching off the TV, radio and mobile phones you are ready to listen without distractions!
Make time to listen to your child’s talk. As you meet them from their setting or school, as you travel by car, in the supermarket, at meal times...any time!
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Take time to answer your child’s questions - model being a good listener! A good listener... • makes eye contact with the speaker • listens carefully • responds appropriately to the speaker • asks relevant questions • turns their body to face the person speaking A good listener focuses on the speaker, not what is going on around them!
Listen to me Different ways to listen... Play-a-tune and follow me! You could make or buy some simple shakers, drums and beaters, then play a simple tune and ask your child to copy. Ask your child to follow two-step instructions eg “Put your coat on and get your shoes.” At home, listen to sounds both inside and outside. Ask your child what they can hear. Play turn-taking language memory games eg Adult: “I went to the shops and I bought a banana.” Child: “I went to the shops and I bought a banana and an apple,” etc. Make a recording of familiar stories for you and your child to listen to. Hide a selection of instruments, eg behind a screen or under a cover. Play one of the instruments and see if your child can tell you which one it is.
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Share a story with me Every day in different ways... Time and space: Make time to switch off the TV and share a story. Talk about the story: Ask simple questions about the story as you go along. Repeat: Share the same stories again and again - repetition is good.
Did you know? A daily 15 minutes of sharing stories with your child exposes them to 1 million words in a year!
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Share a story with me Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. By the time children are two, they have learned the basic rules of conversation but going from a ‘Talkative Toddler’ to a ‘Confident Communicator’ still needs you to help make it happen. Share stories in different situations and match them to what your child is doing. For example, you could share a story about transport on a journey.
Try turning off the TV; background noise is distracting for both of you.
Remember you are not teaching your child to read. You learn to talk a long time before you learn to read. Book sharing is a wonderful way to help your child’s language development.
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After sharing a story, talk about what has happened. Talk about your favourite part of the story. Talk about different ways the story could end.
Share a number of traditional tales and popular stories with your child.
Read stories again and again, your child will like to join in and tell you what is going to happen next.
Let your child see you reading eg books, magazines, newspapers, letters etc.
Share a story with me Different ways to share a story... Visit the local library and help your child find books about something they are interested in such as animals or dinosaurs. Take photographs of each step in an activity that you and your child do together. This could be shopping, changing their bed, cooking, going to nursery. Use these pictures to form the sequence of a story. Make simple puppets of the characters in a story with your child. You and your child can then use them to act out the story. If there is a word in the story that your child hasnâ€™t come across before, help them to understand what it means by looking at the pictures and talking about what is happening in the story. Share all kinds of â€˜booksâ€™ with your child - picture books, word and picture books, e-books, printed and made books, magazines and comics.
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10 traditional tales to share with your child
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Emperorâ€™s New Clothes
Hansel and Gretel
The Little Red Hen
The Pied Piper of Hamelin
The Princess and the Pea
These traditional tales and popular stories have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters
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10 popular stories to share with your child
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy - Lynley Dodd
The Bad Tempered Ladybird Eric Carle
Handa’s Surprise - Eileen Browne
The Gruffalo - Julia Donaldson
Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs - Ian Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds
The Rainbow Fish - Marcus Pfister
Jasper’s Beanstalk - Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen Ketchup on your Cornflakes Nick Sharratt
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury Where The Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak
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Sing songs and rhymes with me Every day in different ways... Repeat: Help your child to learn songs and rhymes by heart. Rhyme: Help your child to recognise words that rhyme. Actions: Add actions which involve moving your whole body.
Did you know? When you sing songs and rhymes with your child, their brain is making lots of connections and they are becoming familiar with the rhythms of language.
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Sing songs and rhymes with me... Learning to talk doesn’t just happen by accident. By the time children are two, they have learned the basic rules of conversation but going from a ‘Talkative Toddler’ to a ‘Confident Communicator’ still needs you to help make it happen.
Help your child to learn by heart a number of songs or rhymes before they start school.
Sing songs and rhymes over and over again so your child gets to know them ‘by heart’.
Sing songs with actions to help your child learn verbs.
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Sing popular songs and rhymes and traditional nursery rhymes with your child.
Explain words in the rhyme that your child might not understand. For example, in Jack and Jill, “A pail is another word for a bucket.”
Draw your child’s attention to words that rhyme and repeat them.
Sing songs and rhymes with me Different ways to sing songs and rhymes... Make a collection of objects, some that rhyme and some that don’t. Say the name for each of the objects and ask your child to name the ones that rhyme or name the one that doesn’t eg mat, hat, log, cat. Help your child to make up other version of rhymes they know eg ‘Twinkle, twinkle chocolate bar’. Play ‘I spy’ with a twist. ‘I spy with my little eye, something that rhymes with cat’. Make a collection of objects that start with the same initial sound and one or two that don’t eg ball, bat, bell, cat. Name the objects then ask your child which one doesn’t start with the same sound. Play a favourite song and help your child to move to the rhythm of the music. Say and make up alliterative rhymes; ‘Lucy Lockett likes licking lollies’. When you are out shopping think about the items you are buying and say ‘a tall tin of tomatoes’, ‘a lovely little lemon’. Encourage your child to do the same.
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10 songs and rhymes to share with your child
Five Little Ducks
Ten Little Fingers
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
The Wheels on the Bus Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Here is the Beehive Wind the Bobbin Up Incy Wincy Spider
These songs and rhymes have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters
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10 nursery rhymes to share with your child
Baa Baa Black Sheep
I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly
Bobby Shaftoeâ€™s Gone To The Sea
Little Bo Peep
Mary had a Little Lamb
Here we go Round the Mulberry Bush
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary The Muffin Man
Hickory Dickory Dock These nursery rhymes have been chosen by teachers and practitioners from across Hartlepool as part of a core selection of traditional tales, popular stories, songs and rhymes. We hope that every child, through the project, will become familiar with these. Further details can be found on the Talk Matters website www.hartlepool.gov.uk/talkmatters Learning Language for Life in Hartlepool : 27
We are very grateful to the extremely talented art students from High Tunstall College of Science who have worked on designing images for the project and to the practitioners for helping develop the booklets. The character â€˜Toby Talk-Mattersâ€™ is a reminder to all adults that talking to babies and children is essential for their language development.