Use of Language

School Years 3-6

What is expressive language?

Expressive language means your student’s use of language, including the words they use and how they can combine words in sentences. As the student develop, their vocabulary increases and they can use more complex sentence structures.

In Years 3, 4, 5 and 6, students can usually:

  • Fully express themselves.
  • Retell a story that contains a true plot, character development and sequence of events, they present the story in a logical order, using descriptive language.
  • Form a range of questions.
  • Use sentences of increasing length and complexity using a range of connectives such as ‘because, but, so’ to link sentences together.
  • Make occasional grammatical errors.

You can help by:

  • Providing a good model for the student. Speak clearly and not too quickly.
  • Giving time for the student to respond. Don’t be afraid of silences as these may encourage the student to ‘fill the gaps’.
  • Using modelling strategies e.g. repeating back what the student has said using correct grammar or expanding on the information the student has given.
  • Using their written work to support the development of grammar e.g. asking the student to underline the grammatical makers they are focusing on e.g. “check all the irregular past tense.”
  • Not asking the student to repeat back (‘parrot’) exactly what you have said. However, the student may do this spontaneously.
  • Avoiding the use of too many questions as this can put pressure on the student. If questions are needed, try using open ended questions (those requiring more than a one word answer) as this can be useful to encourage more language.
  • Pre-teaching, overlearning and revising key topic vocabulary – please see resources for more details on words maps, spinner games and how to expand vocabulary in the classroom.
  • Using a story planner to support the child to retell a story or their own experience. Please see the resource section for an example.
  • Encouraging the child to talk about words they can’t recall, please see resource section for strategies on how to help word finding.