The first words that kids learn are labels and nouns. For example, babies often start with “bottle”, “cookie”, and “mama”. I also often hear parents report that “My child can say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ but I don’t always hear it”. In fact, children typically start off with words for items that they want. When they use them verbally, they are requesting. If ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ are present, then there’s not much to request there!

However, after requesting, children also need to begin to label and comment on the events happening around them. If your child has many single word requests (e.g. “water”, “cookie”), then you might need to start thinking about progressing their understanding and use of verbs and pronouns. It’s rather tricky communicating with only nouns. When we add verbs and pronouns, we are then able to build phrases and sentences! You might initially move to an action + object phrase (e.g. “eat apple”, “play ball”), and later move on to a subject + action present progressive sentence (e.g. “He is eating”, “She is playing”). After those structures, you can continue adding other components to build multiple word utterances. From “He is eating”, which is a subject + action phrase, you might move on to subject + action + object as in “He is eating cookies”, or “They are kicking the ball”.

Parts of a present progressive sentence:

Subject, People or “Pronouns” – Children learn the names of the people closest to them — family. And later, they may begin to understand the difference between genders “boy/girl”, or a single/group with “people”. After they understand genders, it is much easier to learn pronouns “He”, “She” and “They”.

Actions or “Verbs” – Another important part of a sentence is the action word. Action words are all around us, yet there is a critical difference between nouns and action words. Typically, nouns are always visible (e.g., if it’s a ball, you always see the ball). However, action words can be fleeing. For example, the word “throwing” is not always visible, and you can only see in action. This means that we may not have as many opportunities to see or hear action words or verbs being used.

Object labels or “Nouns” – These are the names of items such as “ball”, “house”, “carrot”.

To the parents of children who have many single words, I encourage them to determine what types of words their children use, whether it be nouns, verbs, or pronouns and I encourage them to model words from the categories which may be weaker. Here are some ways that I encourage families to practice action words, subject words and help prepare their child to move towards sentence construction.

In-Person Practice:

  • Talk about what you are doing, and who is doing it! Repeat, repeat repeat!

Home Practice:

  • Take photos or videos of your everyday routines and actions. Print the photos and put them in a photo album.

Speech + Language Practice:

  • Use playTOK Verbs + Pronouns Photo Set 1 to: talk about the subjects (either boy/girl/people, or he/she/they), discuss the action words, or practice a simple present progressive sentence.

Click for info.

This Verbs + Pronouns Photo Set 1 is a set of no-prep Boom CardsSM by playTOK. The bundle includes the digital internet-based manipulatives as well as a printable pdf word list. I’ve made this friendly for telepractice use, because I personally need the flexibility to move between online practice and in-centre tablet practice!

This activity includes

  1. Action Words
  2. Action words organized by He Pronoun
  3. Action words organized by She Pronoun
  4. Action words organized by They  Pronoun
  5. Sentence Strip Helper
  6. Word List

Check out this video demo of the set in action!

You can find this Verbs + Pronouns Set 1 bundle here in my playTOK Boom LearnignSM store > HERE.

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