Second and Third Grader: Talking Milestones
What's typical in terms of speech development for a second or third grader? Here are the milestones to look for-- from telling complete stories, to using more complex and accurate language to work with others:
Second and third graders choose their words carefully. They know many words for a given concept and can choose the most appropriate word to use in a given context. For example, your reader and writer may know many words to express the concept of "said," including "whispered," "screamed," "confessed," and "blurted out." Instead of simply using "said," she will be able to select the word that most precisely expresses her meaning. Knowing many words for a single concept helps children not only to understand what they read, but to write stories using precise, descriptive language.
Your reader and writer can discuss implied meanings in the books he reads. Second and third graders can discuss the books they read at a deeper level than ever before. They can make logical inferences, putting together pieces of information to understand a message that is not explicitly stated in a book. They are also able to offer an opinion about the writer's craft by describing what words or parts of the book they liked. In discussions, they can back up their ideas by referring to particular parts of the story that support their thinking.
Your reader and writer can tell sophisticated stories about real and imagined events. Being able to tell complete stories and use all story elements when talking helps children to understand the books they read and to write good stories themselves. Second and third graders can spin tales that contain all the ingredients of a good story: characters, setting, events that lead to a conflict, a clear central conflict, and a resolution to the conflict. They may even include dialogue and complex character descriptions.
Your reader and writer can use language to collaborate with others. Second and third graders are able to ask questions to clarify ("How many facts do we need to collect?") and to offer suggestions ("Let's try making our model out of clay and wire."). They use language to organize ("Who wants to be the note taker?"), to agree ("That's a great idea!"), and to disagree politely ("I'm not sure your idea will work."). Being able to use language to collaborate helps children to learn more in groups.
Your second or third grader can give talks to the class. Whether giving a "book talk" about a favorite book, reporting on a small group's research about blue whales, or acting out a favorite book in a "readers theater" presentation, children at this age can demonstrate what they know by speaking to the class. Most children will need to prepare for an oral presentation in advance, however, by rehearsing what they want to say.
Reprinted with the permission of PBS. © PBS 2003 - 2008, all rights reserved.
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