As your child develops language, the first few words are usually names and objects (nouns) such as Dada,ball, and dog. Around 24 months, the child’s vocabulary repertoire starts to include verbs. Verbs are action words such as go, walk,jump, eat, and come. Understanding and using verbs allow the child to communicate in sentences rather than 1- word phrases.
Language acquisition varies among children, but by 24 months children typically express around 40 verbs. Children with an increased verb acquisition by 24 months typically have more advanced grammatical skills six months later. For children producing less than 10 verbs at 24 months, it is not a concern as long the child is learning several new verbs every month. If you are concerned about your child’s language acquisition, contact Lumiere Children’s Therapyfor a speech evaluation.
Below are some strategies to help your child learn more verbs:
· Books. Creating an opportunity for story time in your day, whether morning or night, is fundamental for language development. Here are some great books to introduce verbs: To Root, To Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb? By Brain P. Clearly, Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burpy by Brian P Clearly, and Nouns and Verbs have a Field Day by Robin Pulver.
· Pretend Play. Imaginary play is a great chance to label everyday action verbs. Model verb phrases throughout play, for instance, feedingand changinga baby doll, flying an airplane, or cooking in a play kitchen.
· Modified Charades. Play the video Actions 2 Verbs with Lyrics, and act out the actions with your child as it pops up on the screen. Once your child is familiar with a few verbs, practice by asking “show me dance’. If there are more children in the household, have one person act out the verb while the others guess.
· Children’s preferences. Identify the toys and activities your child shows interest in and figure out a list of verbs that are associated. For instance, if your child likes to play soccer, auditory bombard your child with verbs associated with the sport: kick, pass, and shoot.
· Flashcards: Verb flashcards are a great tool to demonstrate pictures of unfamiliar verbs. Make your own cards by printing off doubles of each action picture to play memory!
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“8 Fun Activities for Teaching Verbs .” Reach to Teach, www.reachtoteachrecruiting.com/blog/fun-activities-teaching-verbs+http://www.theroadmap.ualberta.ca/understandings/parents/25-36#1.
Gotzke, C. & Sample Gosse, H. (2007). Parent Narrative: Language 25 - 36 Months. In L.M. Phillips (Ed.), Handbook of language and literacy development: A Roadmap from 0 - 60 Months.
Hadley, P. A., Rispoli, M., & Hsua, N. (2016). Toddlers’ Verb Lexicon Diversity and Grammatical Outcomes. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 47, 44–58.
Tara, and Rhonda Griswol. “Teaching Verbs with Picture Books.” Embark on the Journey, 21 Mar. 2018, embarkonthejourney.com/teaching-verbs-with-picture-books/.
“Verbs Pave the Way for Language Development.” Does Child Care Make a Difference to Children's Development?, www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Verbs-Pave-the-Way-for-Language-Development.aspx.