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Why teach verbs?


Verbs or action words are so very important to teach! Why? Well, for one, because without verbs there would be no sentences. But babies aren’t ready to communicate in sentences in the first or even second year of life you might say. True! However, we do know that developmentally babies start to vocalize and then approximate sounds into words at as early as 9-12 months. When that happens, typically more so in the second year of life, many children begin naming things in their environment, but these first words aren’t limited to just nouns (object names). Prepositions (or spatial concepts), attributes (color, size descriptives), and verbs are among some of the first verbalizations as well! This is because as children observe the world- objects and people in it, how these move around in space and in relationship to one another, they start describing all that is observed, doing so in a variety of words. How amazing is that? So in my sessions with little ones I do always teach names of objects (body parts, foods, toys, animals, household items) but equally so together with prepositions (in, out, on, off, up, down), attributes (colors, big, little, wed, dirty), as well as pronouns (me, my), using words in familiar contexts where it makes the best sense. This way there is a balanced exposure to different words, word classes, and language concepts, all of which are needed to develop good receptive language vocabulary before children can start to verbally communicate what they have learned. Once comprehension is there, the child is ready to express his/her words and world knowledge with a variety of words that you and I can understand and help put together into sentences.

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