Accessibility tools

Sentence building

As your child’s vocabulary develops, they learn to join words together to form sentences.

These sentences become longer and more complex as the words used by your child develop. 

  • Model the correct grammar: repeat the sentence back using adult grammar. This helps your child learn how the sentence should be said e.g. your child: 'At school today the computer breaked', you: 'Oh, at school the computer broke'. Your child: 'Cut stick', you 'Cutting and sticking'. 
  • Expand on what your child says: add one piece of extra information e.g. your child: 'Man tree', you 'The man is climbing up the tree'. 
  • Offer a choice: give your child a choice of what to play with/eat/drink/wear. Adapt to your child’s level of language e.g. you 'Jumper or t-shirt?' or 'Do you want the red jumper or the yellow jumper?' 
  • Open questions: avoid questions requiring a one-word answer, such as 'Are the children playing on the slide?' Instead ask: 'What is happening in the playground?' Your child can then respond with a sentence such as: 'The children are playing on the slide'. 
  • Sentence completion: start a sentence for your child to finish e.g. you: 'The man is sitting…', your child: 'on top of the house'. 
  • Increase independence: for older children, repeat back your child’s sentence the way they have said it and ask them to think of one way they could improve it. 

  • Look at pictures in books, magazines and newspapers. Take turns with your child to say something about the picture.
  • Find objects/pictures of things that go together and discuss them.
  • See if your child can select either an object or a picture after hearing its description. You can give the description in single words, phrases or sentences. For example, a ball can be described as 'black, round, bouncy' or 'It's made of rubber and you play sports with it'.
  • Make a scrapbook using photographs of people doing things or events. Encourage your child to give you a word/sentence to write underneath (depending on their language level). Sometimes this may encourage better sentences than if your child is just telling you.