Parent Handouts DV Language

Parent Handouts DV Language

Verbal Routines

Verbal routines are words and phrases that become predictable because you say
them the same way, in the same activity, every time. E.g., “1, 2, 3”, “ready, set, go”
or nursery rhymes. Anything can become a verbal routine.

Why are they helpful?

● Verbal routines create opportunities for the child to participate in activities, using
sounds, words,
● gestures, etc.
● They are a natural way to work on receptive language as the words are
associated with actions.
● They provide opportunities for turn-taking.
● They are predictable and help the child to know what to expect during an

Examples of Verbal Routines To try at home

● Pushing cars, rolling balls, playing chase, etc- “Ready…set…go!”.
● Playing with bubbles- “Wow.. Bubbles!.. Open, dip in…Blow!”.
● Water play- “Scoop… scoop… pour!”.
● Sand play- “Scoop… scoop… tip!”. Building a sandcastle- “fill it up… turn over… pat,
pat, pat… ta da!”
● Singing nursery rhymes and songs.
● Saying goodbye to toys when you have finished playing.
Daily Routines:
● Bedtime- “It’s bedtime, night night, love you”.
● Diaper (nappy) changes- “Wipe, wipe, wipe… all clean”.
● Washing hands- “Wash your hands… all clean”.
● Washing the dishes- “Let’s wash the dishes… ready?… Wash, wash, wash”.
● As you walk up the stairs- “Up, up, up the stairs”.
● As you walk down the stairs- “Down, down, down the stairs”.

Tips For using Verbal Routines

● Say the same words, during the same activity each time you do it.
● Keep the words simple and repetitive, to support language skills.
● After you have done the verbal routine a few times, you can pause before
finishing the phrase, to give the child an opportunity to fill in the blank.

How to Reduce Questions

When playing with children, it is easy to fall into a trap of only asking
them questions. “What color is the block?”, “Can you count to 10?” While
these questions can help aid in other skills, when it comes to increasing
language, it is important to reduce the number of questions you ask your
child and increase the number of statements you make.

How to reduce Questions?

Instead of… Try…
What have you got? Telling them what they have,
Ex. “You have a blue car”
What’s that called? Telling them the name of the item,
Ex. “Red Bricks” or “Big Bricks”
What color is it? Tell them what color it is, Ex. “That’s a red cup”
What are you doing? Telling them what they’re doing.
(Talk about the toy!)
Ex. “You’re feeding the baby”

Also try the 3:1 Rule. For every one question you ask your child, make
three comments or statements.
Example: Playing Cars:


– I’m a red car!
– I am stopping at the stop sign.
– The car is moving fast! 


Which is your favorite?

Copy & Add Language Strategies

Copy and add language strategies are used to expand children’s language skills. You repeat what they say and add another word on. If they say one word, you say two.
If they say two, you add a third.

Example: Child said “Ball”

Type of words to model Examples
Verbs “Yes, your rolled the ball”, or “roll the
Attribute- Size “It’s a big ball” or “A little ball”
Attribute- Color “The yellow ball”.
Comment “You’re playing with the ball.”
Add a quantity “You have one ball.”
Add a pronoun “That’s your ball.”
Add feelings “I like the ball.”
Add an “owner” “This is Mommy’s ball.”


– This list just gives an idea of words you can use to expand your child’s language skills. Focus on modeling functional vocabulary.
– Copy (repeat) what your child has said and add another key word on. The adult’s utterance should be simplified, but still  grammatically correct.
– Ex. “I like the ball.” not, “Me like the ball.”

Alternate Ideas for Common Toys

The list provided is an alternative list of common toys that you would see in the
therapy room. No need to run to the store and purchase the toys, but instead use
common household items.

Instead of Try using.
Blocks Cans, boxes of food (such as small cracker boxes), or
Tupperware tubs with lids.
Bubbles Whisk up some bubble bath and blow those bubbles.
Use a feather, a small piece of paper, or a tissue, and blow
Musical Instruments Use wooden spoons and bang on pots and pans.
Put dried rice or pasta inside an empty bottle and shake it.
Make a guitar with elastic bands over an empty box/tissue
Nesting cups Empty Tupperware tubs, OR Use the caps from laundry de
Sandbox  Make a dry sensory bin- Use dry cereal (if the child still puts
things in their mouth), or dried rice/pasta/beans (if
Shape sorter  Cut various holes inside an empty box.
Holes can either be the exact shape of the items you want
to sort, or varied and large.
Stacking Rings Use bracelets or hair scrunchies and slide these onto paper
towel stands. Handles of utensils, or paper roll tubes.
Water table Fill large pans or empty plastic boxes with water. Fill up the
sink/basin or bathtub.

Expressive Vocabulary


Older Children

42 months

48 months

54 months

60 months

6 years

12 years

1200 words

1,600 words

1,900 words

2,200-2,500 words

2,600-7,000 words

50,000 words

Supplemental Information

What Counts as A Word?

A word is anything that is consistently produced and holds the same meaning. These
can be word approximations, animal sounds, or sound effects.
Word approximations: “ba” for ball
Animal sounds: “oink oink” for pig
Sound effects: “beep beep”
Phrases such as “all done”, “thank you”, and “night-night” are considered one word.
They are learned as one chunk and hold one meaning.

Early Core Vocabulary Words

You will often here your SLP refer to core vocabulary words. Core vocabulary is a
small set of basic words in any language that are used frequently and across

Examples of common first words:
go, stop, more, turn, get, on, off, up, down, that, this, me, you, open, close, play,
fast, slow, push, give, look, big, little, I, my, mine, need, want, read, colors, feelings,
help, here, some, what, yes, no, come, it, like, make, not, now, again, all, finished,
away, bad, mama, dada, eat, care, milk, hi, bye, ball, baby, jump

The Difference between an Average and a Milestone

An average is what 50% of children can do at a specific age.
A milestone is what 90% of children can do at a specific age.
Often times milestones are interpreted as averages, which is misleading when
looking at a child’s development.


Language a person is able to use.

Examples of Expressive
Language Skills

● Putting words together to
formulate complete thoughts
and/or sentences
● Use of appropriate grammarincluding word order, pronouns,
and verb tenses
● Organized thoughts and stories
● Providing appropriate label or
name for people/items
● Describing an event that has
happened in real life or in a
sotry with appropriate detail
● Persuading someone to do
● Requesting an item or
● Sharing feelings about
● Putting thoughts into writing


Language a person is able to understand.

Examples of Receptive
Language Skills

● Understanding what words
● Learning and retaining new
● Comparing new, unfamiliar
words to previously learned
● Following directions
● Answering WH questions
● Understanding concepts such as
first/last, big/small, next to,
before/after, above/below, and
● Sorting items into categories (i.e.,
understanding places and birds
are both things in the sky)
● Understanding concepts such as
cause/effect, problem/solution,
and author’s purpose