Dr Amanda Gummer joined the Sky News desk to discuss why reading aloud to children and talk about books will help to improve your child’s language skills.

Children learn to talk at different ages but, by their second birthday, most have a range of words in their vocabulary. During this year your child’s speech will rapidly improve and they will be learning new words on an almost daily basis.

Words become more comprehensible with clear speech being evident most of the time. Your child will now also be linking some words together, often between two and four words, in order to form basic sentences, while gaining a real sense of the meanings of words by starting to use the correct word in the appropriate situation.

As your child develops they will learn some of the names of their peers and will be able to call them using their name (even if they can’t pronounce all the sounds correctly!)

Playing with others is also more possible now and will promote further communication, although many children will still play in parallel rather than interacting with other children’s part of their play

Watch the video below

Reading to your child

Of course, communication skills are so much more than just words, and both verbal and non-verbal components are required as well as the ability to both give and receive communications. Your child will also need to understand the social function of language and know when to speak. And, as it is what most people do naturally, the best thing you can do to promote your child’s communication is to involve them in yours.

Reading to your child, family mealtimes and joint play activities are so beneficial. Children watch, learn and copy parents’ communication styles, so the more you include your child in conversation – however simple and age-appropriate the questions and comments – the more confident they will be at communicating with others.

Be warned, however, frustrations are very common at this age as a child’s thought process is often far more advanced than their language skills, resulting in frequent toddler tantrums. This can be a stressful time for all so try to encourage your toddler’s use of language by making them learn how to ask for the things they want, rather than pre-empting their every need.

Towards the age of three your child will be able to name other things they see in books, for example animals, modes of transport or items around the house.

Play by Dr Amanda GummerVisit www.fundamentallychildren.com for more information.

Extract from Play by Dr Amanda Gummer

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