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Language Development & Communication

This domain refers to a child developing the ability to understand and convey meaning through language. 

Listening and Understanding

Derives meaning through listening to communications of others and sounds in the environment:

  • Enjoys short stories, rhymes, finger plays, songs, and music.
  • Shows understanding of concept words and sequence of events.
  • Demonstrates understanding and listening skills by attending and responding appropriately.

Listens and responds to communications with others:

  • Participates in turn taking, alternating listening and responding
  • Responds appropriately when asked to identify familiar objects/person/body parts (nouns) or when asked to run, walk, jump (action words, verbs).
  • Responds to increasingly complex language structures, including comments, requests, and questions

Follows directions of increasing complexity:

  • Understands and carries out a one step direction
  • Understands and carries out a two-step direction

Speaking and Communicating 

Uses non-verbal gestures and movements to communicate:

  • Uses gestures for greetings and conversational rituals
  • Uses movements or behavior to initiate interaction with a person, animal, or object
  • Uses non-verbal communication much like adults

Uses vocalizations and spoken language to communicate:

  • Uses two to three word phrases and sentences
  • Uses Plurals (cats); Pronouns (I, he, they); Past tense (walked)
  • Use multi-word sentences (parts of speech, word order, and sentence structure) much like that of an adult

Early Literacy 

Develops ability to detect, manipulate, or analyze the auditory parts of spoken language:

  • Enjoys and responds to frequently said sounds, words, and rhymes
  • Imitates sounds
  • Repeats words in rhymes and actions
  • Requests and joins in saying favorite rhymes and songs that repeat sounds and words
  • Recognizes and matches sounds and rhymes in familiar words
  • Recognizes sounds that match and words that begin or end with the same sounds

Understands concepts that the alphabet represents the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language:

  • Explores, repeats, imitates alphabet related songs and games
  • Recognizes the difference between letters and other symbols
  • Recognizes letters and their sounds in familiar words, especially in own name.
  • Makes some letter/sound connections and identifies some beginning sounds
  • Uses a combination of letter sounds, familiar environmental print, and picture cues to recognize a printed word.
  • Recognizes that most speech sounds (both consonants and vowels) are represented by single letter symbols.

Shows an appreciation of books and understands how print works:

  • Explores and enjoys books
  • Points to and names pictures in a book when asked
  • Looks at picture books and asks questions or makes comments
  • Understands that print in the book carries the message

Uses writing to represent thoughts or ideas:

  • Begins to use writing tools to make marks
  • Scribbles and creates unconventional shapes
  • Writes lists, thank you notes, names, and labels objects in play
  • Labels pictures using scribbles or letter-like forms to represent words or ideas
  • Writes recognizable letters and begins to write name and a few words


Department of Curriculum and Instruction:
Phone: 414-475-8179

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