North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Language Development and Communication (LDC)

Subdomain: Learning to Communicate

Goal: Children respond to and use a growing vocabulary.

Skill Progression: Respond to and use a growing vocabulary

Age: 36-42 Months

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Uses descriptive vocabulary: Names shapes (circle, square, triangle); names several colors; names sizes; names textures; uses kinship words (sister, grandma)

Situations for Observation of Skill

Read a book that has slightly higher-level vocabulary than is familiar to the child and has simple, defined pictures that can be used to identify numerous characteristics. A book, such as Stranger in the Woods, by Carl Sams II and Jean Stoick is a good example.

Elicitation Strategy

While reading the book, determine whether the child can find and label shapes in the woods (e.g., owls face is a circle). Identify and label colors on the pages. Talk about the sizes of the animals, trees, snowman, etc. Discuss the textures of the woods, animals, snow (e.g., hard, soft, furry). Discuss relationships among the animals and likenesses.

Behavior Observed

The child identifies and uses a variety of descriptive words, including color shape, size, texture, and relationships.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Early childhood educators can explain to parents how play, games, and books can help the child practice concepts and expand her vocabulary. When reading books, discuss the colors, shapes, sizes of objects, kinship relationships of characters, etc. on the pages. The same can be done in daily activities. Make a game of spotting different colors or textures, for instance. Books can expand vocabulary. Adults should explain the meaning of words they think may be unfamiliar. Help the child learn how to figure out what a vocabulary word means from looking at pictures. The child can also infer meaning of vocabulary by analyzing the context in the text. Reinforce the child when she asks about words she doesn’t know. “I love it when you ask what a word means! That makes your brain smarter!” Have the child share new words she has learned. Explaining what something means to another child allows the adult to assess understanding and clarify when needed.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

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