Facilitating spoken language
development in the regular
classroom
September 28th & 29th
Winnipeg, MB
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C)
Audiologist/Certified Auditory Verbal
Therapist
Typical Language Development
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
HOW MUCH DO CHILDREN SAY IN A DAY?
Child
Age
Katrin
17 months
Carsten
3yrs 6 mo
Gabi
5 yrs 4 mo
Frederik
8 yrs 7 mo
Total # words
# Types
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
HOW MUCH DO CHILDREN SAY IN A DAY?
Child
Age
Total # words
Katrin
Nicole
Andreas
Carsten
Gabi
Frederik
Roman
Markus
Christiane
Axel
17 months
20 months
2 yrs 1 mo
3 yrs 6 mo
5 yrs 4 mo
8 yrs 7 mo
9 yrs 2 mo
11 yrs 4 mo
12 yrs 2 mo
14 yrs 10 mo
13,800
11,700
20,200
37,700
30,600
24,700
24,400
37,200
22,600
22,900
# Types
1,860
2,210
4,790
2,490
3,960
3,630
5,020
3,580
3,040
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Overall findings:
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Average of 20 to 30 thousand words spoken
by each child in a day, from 3 years of age
Daily vocabulary of around 3,000 words
Speed at which they speak ranges from 46.2
wpm to187.5 wpm.
100 wpm at 3 yrs and average of 150 wpm
by kindergarten.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
“The acquisition of a first language
is the most complex skill anyone ever
learns. And this task
needs to be virtually complete
by the time a child reaches school
age.”
(Prof. David Crystal)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Pre school language development

Consider overall development

Language growth reflects social, emotional,
cognitive and behavioural development

Critical period for vocabulary and
conceptual development – coincides with
neural plasticity
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Key concepts

First year of life

Pre school language development

Language growth K – Gr 3
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Language: key concepts:

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PRAGMATICS – what language is used for.
SEMANTICS – meaning of the utterance.
SYNTAX – rule system or grammar.
PHONOLOGY – rules governing how the
sounds of a language may be combined.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
What is language – Key concepts:

Receptive language – what we understand
– this develops first

Expressive language – what we use

Speech – the sound system used to produce
spoken language
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
The literacy pyramid:
Writing
Reading
Expressive
Language
Receptive
language
“When I was born, I was so surprised I couldn’t talk for a year and a
half” (Gracie Allen)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Literacy Development is Based on
Phonemic Awareness
 Phonics
 Reading Fluency
 Vocabulary development
 Comprehension

Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
“Literacy begins with speaking and
listening. Adults are so familiar with
these faculties we rarely
acknowledge them as complex,
learned skills, except when
visiting a foreign country.”
(Colin Grigg)
WHY?
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
What is language?

Language is a code

We are continually
cracking the language code

How do we, as adults do this?
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Children are actively learning language

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Must have joint attention (shared focus)
Must have representational ability (words stand for
things)
Must carry out semantic mapping (work out what a
word stands for)
Must identify words in stream of speech
Must store and retrieve words
Must learn that sharing ideas requires
combinations of words
Must learn rules for combining words (grammar)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
“The beautiful thing about learning is
nobody can take it away form you”
(B.B.King)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
PRINCIPLES OF EARLY LANGUAGE
LEARNING

Language is learned through interaction
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Another Principle:

Human beings are predisposed to learn
language early in life – children are
actively learning their native language
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
More principles of early language
learning:

Patterns are learned
through hearing many
repetitions, rather than
explicit teaching:
“…blow…”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Two more principles….
Language is learned in use
&
All systems are learned together
(words, meanings,
syntax and speech sounds)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
All systems learned together
The ingredients:
…….
(words,
grammar,
sounds)
The end product:
(spoken
language)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
“What we have to learn to do, we learn by
doing” (Aristotle, 384-322 B.C.)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Learning to swim:

Need to be in the water to learn to swim…

Need to be actively involved

Need assistance to acquire skills
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
How we keep kids afloat..
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Repeat, repeat, repeat…
Slow down our own speech
Emphasize important (key) words
Break down sentences
Use objects, pictures and gestures to help convey
meaning
PARENTESE
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Role of caregiver involves..
Helping the child, as the inexperienced
conversational partner, to want to share
thoughts, ideas and feelings with
confidence and joy. Assisting the child in
taking conversational turns provides the
framework upon which typical language
acquisition develops.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

Key concepts

First year of life

Pre school language development

Language growth K – Gr 3
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
First year
“ A child’s first word has behind it a history
of listening, observing and experimenting
with sounds and highly selective
imitations of people”
(M Whitehead, 2002: Developing Language
and Literacy with Young Children)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Perceiving sounds

Perceiving does not = understanding

Perceiving leads to understanding

Perceiving = Sound-receiving:
“How far back do we have to go?”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Auditory abilities in newborns
o
o
o
o
o
Structures of the ear are fully formed in
utero by 5 months. Babies show:
Close to adult sensitivity to sounds
Head turn to sound source (2 days)
Prefer human to non human sounds (2
weeks)
Recognize mothers voice (1 day)
Ability to discriminate fine speech contrasts
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Listening skills – what are they?

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Auditory detection
Auditory attention
Auditory recognition
Auditory discrimination
Auditory memory
Auditory sequencing
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
More auditory skills:
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Auditory comprehension
Auditory integration
Auditory feedback
Auditory application
“We have two ears and one mouth so that
we can listen twice as much as we
speak.” (Epictetus)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
More seriously:
“ A child’s first word has behind it a history
of listening, observing and experimenting
with sounds and highly selective
imitations of people.”
(M. Whitehead, 2002: Developing Language
and Literacy in Young Children)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Key concept – Hearing Age
Hearing age is calculated in order to
guide our expectations, assessment and
intervention.
Hearing age is the difference between the
child’s chronological age and the amount
of time hearing and learning to listen.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Hearing age
A child is identified at birth with a mild
hearing loss. The child is appropriately
aided at 3 months of age and the family
choose to use spoken language.
At two years of age this child’s hearing
age is 21 months.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Hearing age
A child is identified at 20 months of age with a
profound hearing loss. Powerful hearing aids give no
benefit and the child receives a cochlear implant at
30 months of age. Spoken language is chosen.
At five years of age the child’s hearing age is 30
months.
His listening and spoken language skills will be
similar to those of a child at two and a half years of
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
age
28/29 2009
Activity
Work out the hearing age of the
children in your handouts
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
ACTIVITY
As you watch the video clips, make a note
of:
…the ways in which adults help children
develop early listening and language
skills.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
First year comprehension:
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2 to 4 months – response to different tones
(soothing/playful/angry)
6 to 9 months – responds to familiar
utterances in context (Here’s daddy/Say byebye)
By 12 months – identification of up to 20
word meanings, without visual clues.
Talk embedded in the here and now
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Making sounds
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Birth to 8 weeks – ‘reflexive/vegetative’
noises
2 to 4 months – ‘cooing’ – vowel like sounds
with consonant like sounds.
4 to 6 months – Vocal play – more definite
and controlled; pitch glides.
6 to 8 months – reduplicated babble
8 to 10 months – variegated babble
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Babbling and early speech..

Avoid clusters of consonants (spr.str)

Vowels occur before consonants
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Friction sounds replaced by stops

Characterized by use of stops and nasals
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
First words – 9 to 18 months
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Variegated babble still evident into second year.
More rhythmical and melodic expressive jargon
or ‘scribble talk’.
Appearance of ‘proto words’
First true words are heard
Homophones are used – words sound the same
so meaning is derived from context
Over-generalization – all men arePetra‘daddy’
Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
ACTIVITY
As you watch the video clips, make a note
of:
…the ways in which adults help children
develop early listening and language
skills.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
18 to 24 months
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Comprehension is not reliant upon context
Can talk about outside here and now
Understanding of simple directions grows
2 word sentences begin
Vocabulary grows
Negatives are used
Questions emerge (yes/no; where? whadat?)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
18 to 24 months..

Brief conversations can be held – 2 or 3
turns usually, about familiar or context based
content.

Responses are still limited however, often
leaving the adult feeling as though they are
‘talking to the wall’!
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
ACTIVITY
As you watch the video clips, make a note
of:
…the ways in which adults help children
develop early listening and language
skills.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
The Third Year
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Three, four and five word sentences emerge.
Sentences become more grammatically
correct.
By three
-helping/auxilliary verbs (can/will)
-verb ‘to be’ – ‘am’ ‘are’ ‘is’
Expect many errors with these verb forms
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
The Third Year
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Articles ‘a’ ‘the’ are used (“That a kitty”)
Negatives ‘can’t and ‘don’t’ appear.
Pronouns develop (“Me want cookie”)
Children begin to ask “Why…?”
Early conceptual understanding is evident –
in/out; big/little; top/bottom; etc..
A number of turns are now taken in a
conversation initiated by the child.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
3 to 5 Years
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Complex sentences are used to link two
ideas (I had a cookie and Toby had two).
‘because’ and ‘when’ are used to link
sentences.
Verbs such as ‘think’ wish’ ‘pretend’ used.
Grammar is more complex.
Normal developmental errors abound (eg:
past tense)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
The development of stories
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Pretending with toys
Treating pictures as real objects
Pretending with an invisible object
Conversational narrative
Making a story with toys
Making a story with toys and a book
Planning, drawing and telling a story
Enjoying a story from a book
Acting out a story
Retelling and discussing with no support
material
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Story telling at 3

Stories (narratives) become a regular part of the
child’s conversation.

Short stories of 1 or 2 sentences occur

They are usually about their own experiences, or
based on known stories.

The child may be unwilling to ‘share the turns’
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Story telling at 4


Stories are longer – up to 4 or 5 complex
sentences, usually about past events.
The story contains –:
an introduction (“You know what happened to my dog?”)
background (“Well, he was out in the yard..”)
information (“…and he made this big hole”)
ending (“..and he buried my toy tractor!”)
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Story telling at 5

More details are now provided (“My dog Sam likes to
play in the yard while I have my supper”)

An evaluation or judgement may be made at
the end (“I didn’t play with that tractor any more. I don’t know how
Sam knew that!”)


Imagined stories are more involved – there
are no boundaries!
Predictions and problem solving may be
involved.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Julian Astle (Dir. CentreForum): Why
the under 5s should be our priority
“….it is in the early years, rather than
at the age of 18, that the battle for
Social justice and social mobility will
ultimately be won or lost”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
K to Gr 3
Age 6 – Social and linguistic horizons are
rapidly broadening and students are
immersed in a sea of idiomatic and
increasingly abstract language.
Child: “What do you want to eat ?”

Dad: “I’d like some sausages please”
Child: “We haven’t got any sausages”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Dad: “Have you got any steak?”
Child: “Yes, we’ve got steak.” (Turns to go)
Dad: “Hey, hold on, you can’t rush off like that. If a
customer asks for steak you have to ask him
“How would you like your steak?” That’s very
important if you’re going to be a waitress”
Child: “How would you like your steak?”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Dad: “I’ll have mine well done.”
Child: (trotting off to the kitchen): “OK, we’ll do the
best we can!”.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
High level language



By 7 years of age, children are used to the
idea that with language, things “are not
always what they seem”
To “kick the bucket” doesn’t always mean “to
kick the bucket!”
By 8 they are experimenting and composing
their own jokes
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Lifelong learning
What does “high doh” mean?
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
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Put into context…
“On the day of the reception they
were all at high doh at the office”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
“What did mummy broom say to the
baby broom?”
“Go to sweep”
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
What’s five Q and five Q?
Ten Q.
You’re welcome!
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
What is at the end of everything?
The letter ‘g’
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
What animal can jump higher than a
house?
Any animal. Houses can’t jump.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
ACTIVITY
As you watch the video clips, make a note
of:
…the ways in which adults help children
develop early listening and language
skills.
Petra Smith M.Sc. Aud (C) Sept
28/29 2009
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