Growing Into Books

Helping Your Child's Language Grow

Reading Aloud How to Read to
Your Child
Playing With Stories Choosing Books


Your 3- to 4-Year Old Child

How Your Child's Language is Growing

How You Can Help

Your child can name most familiar objects and people.

Point out familiar objects while walking or driving, for example, "Do you see the truck?"

When you read together, ask your child to point to important things and people in the pictures, for example, "Where is Cinderella's slipper?"


Your child can use 3 and 4 word sentences.

Help your child use longer sentences.  For example, if your child says, "more"—you can say, "Do you want more juice?"

Ask your child to join in when you read familiar phrases, "Run, run, as fast as you can…"


Your child can understand most adult language.

Talk to your child about what you are doing, "Mommy has to go to the store."

Try to read stories through to the end.  Ask questions to keep your child interested.  For example, say, "What do you think will happen next?"


Your child enjoys hearing stories, has some favorites, and knows parts of some "by heart."

Ask your child to "pretend read" or tell you about his favorite book, for example, The Three Bears.


Your child answers questions and follows simple conversations.

Talk about stories and pictures. Ask questions such as — "Where is the bear?" "What color is the bear?" "What is the bear doing?"


Your child talks to herself and takes on roles while playing, for example, "I'm the Mommy!"

Offer to join her play, taking on a role yourself ("Can I be the baby?")

Remember not to laugh at your child's pretending. This might make your child feel too embarrassed to play.


Your child begins to recite rhymes and sing songs independently.

Sing with your child and recite rhymes. Most children like ones that can be acted out, for example, "Where Is Thumbkin?"


Your child imitates vertical strokes of a crayon.

Paint and color with your child on large paper—show him how to use vertical strokes to make rain, hair on someone's head, leaves on a tree.


Your child imitates horizontal strokes of a crayon.

Paint and color on large paper—using horizontal strokes to make grass, sun rays, and branches on a tree.

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last updated 4/25/05
©2004 The Pennsylvania State University
U.Ed. LIB 03-64