Use of Language

School Years 3-6

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

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

  • fully express themselves.
  • tell a story in a logical order, using descriptive language
  • form a range of questions.
  • use sentences of increasing length and complexity.
  • make occasional grammatical errors similar to their peers.

You can help by:

  • Providing a good model for the child. Speak clearly and not too quickly.
  • Giving time for the child to respond. Don’t be afraid of silences as these may encourage the child to ‘fill the gaps’.
  • Commenting on what the child is doing to allow them to hear the appropriate language.
  • Using modelling strategies e.g. repeating back what the child has said using correct grammar or expanding on the information the child has given.
  • Not asking the child to repeat back (‘parrot’) exactly what you have said. However, the child may do this spontaneously.
  • Avoiding the use of too many questions as this can put pressure on the child. Try not to ask ‘What’s this?’ constantly when looking at books.
  • When you do need to ask questions, the use of open questions (those requiring more than a one word answer) can be useful to encourage more language.