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Communication and Language (CAL)

Communication and language includes skills such as;


Listening and Attention; and


As we develop speaking and listening skills, the foundations for literacy and learning also begin to develop, as well as developing key skills like how to express ourselves and make friends. A lot of communication and language links closely to our phonics and literacy learning. Below are a few ideas you could use to develop these skills. 


- Speak and listen to each other!

This sounds so simple, but is the most easy and effective way to develop these skills. 

Model good vocabulary and grammar when speaking together, for example, if your child says "brush dolly hair", you could respond "Yes, you are brushing the dolly's hair"


- Allow 'thinking time' for your child to put their thoughts into words for themselves, before jumping in too soon help them. If this seems to be taking a while, a simple "Would you like help?" will show you are there to support.


- Read stories together!

Ask questions about the story you have read.

Can they identify the characters in the pictures? 

What do you think will happen next?

How are the characters feeling?

Can you retell the story? You could use the pictures in the book to help, or act it out with toys, or even draw pictures!


-Go on a walk together and talk about what you notice while you are out:


Transport walks - do you notice what vehicles are coming, just from the sound?

Does a bus sound different to a car or motorbike?

Can you hear any emergency vehicles? The people in those cars are going to help someone - what might they do?

Can you hear any aeroplanes? Where might they be going?


Seasonal/nature walks - What do you notice about the trees? What is happening to them?

Can you see any creatures?

Do you only see these creatures in this season, or all of the time?

Is the weather warm or cold?

How are the people outside dressed to match the weather?


Find a picture and tell us what might be happening in it:

Where could this lead to?

What might you hear?

Who might live on the other side of the bridge?

Who might travel across the bridge?


This could work with any picture - a family photograph would be a great choice, because it could link to People and Communities as well!


- Sing songs and rhymes - can you fill in the gaps of a familiar nursery rhyme? 


-Screen time

When supervised, screen time can be used effectively to help develop communication and language skills.

Talk together about what might happen next or what the character might feel - how do you know?

Discuss what you have watched and ask if they can retell the story, or act it out.


Please try to limit unsupervised screen time as much as possible!